Paul Ryan, Big Oil, and the Environment

Now that Romney has announced his choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate, I thought it would be worth taking a quick look at his environmental positions.  Environment and energy haven’t been signature issues for him, but he’s consistently been a good friend of the oil industry.

On general environmental issues, apart from his budget cutting efforts, there’s not much to report. His House website’s environmental tab is mostly devoted to local Wisconsin issues (maintaining funding for the Great Lakes interagency task force headed by EPA, delist the Wisconsin Grey Wolf, stop the Asian carp).

What he says about energy is more revealing.  It’s very much oriented toward the needs of the oil industry. Under the energy tab, he supports the Keystone pipeline, more onshore and offshore drilling, and more refineries.  The website also reveals that his zeal for budget balancing does not extend to repealing tax preferences for oil and coal companies. His website also links to a speech in which he attacks the Obama Administration’s greenhouse gas regulations, fuel efficiency standards, and efforts to promote renewable energy. He has also touted the “climategate” leaks as undermining climate science.

His ratings from the League of Conservation voters started fairly low and have declined sharply over the years, from 27% in the 108th Congress to 3% in this one. (That’s consistent with his overall voting record, which Nate Silver reports is as about as conservative as Michele Bachmann’s.) The LCV has also run an ad accusing him of a conflict of interest because he and his family own stock in he and his family receive hefty lease income from oil companies whose interests he has favored:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc9k8x6KI-0&feature=youtu.be]

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Reader Comments

4 Replies to “Paul Ryan, Big Oil, and the Environment”

  1. One critical correction, Dan: Ryan has no “zeal for budget balancing.” His budget ends Medicare and ends most of the rest of the federal government other than Defense — in order to pay for massive tax reduction for the top 1%. He does not come anywhere close to balancing the budget. He is not a fiscal conservative: he is the candidate of Ayn Rand. You can agree with that or disagree with that, but them’s the facts.

  2. One critical correction, Dan: Ryan has no “zeal for budget balancing.” His budget ends Medicare and ends most of the rest of the federal government other than Defense — in order to pay for massive tax reduction for the top 1%. He does not come anywhere close to balancing the budget. He is not a fiscal conservative: he is the candidate of Ayn Rand. You can agree with that or disagree with that, but them’s the facts.

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Dan Farber

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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