The League of Conservation Voters ran a digital ad campaign last summer thanking Gibson for voting against one of the GOP bills to derail the EPA power plant rules. EDF Action, which is the political arm of the Environmental Defense Fund, supported Gibson’s 2014 reelection campaign with a $234,000 TV ad buy.
The bills to kill EPA’s rules that cleared the House on Tuesday have also passed the Senate, but face certain vetoes. They’re part of an effort by GOP leaders to undercut the Obama administration’s negotiating position at the Paris climate talks by trying show that his emissions-cutting pledges are vulnerable back home.
Yesterday, Gibson and nine others who cosponsored his climate-change resolution voted in favor of thwarting EPA’s rules to cut emissions from existing power plants. Two—Robert Dold and Richard Hanna—voted with almost every Democrat in favor of upholding the rules.
The vote was a disappointment to EDF Action. “It’s unfortunate that they voted against the only plan for reducing pollution from power plants without having one of their own,” said Tony Kreindler, an official with the group. He declined to comment on Gibson specifically.
Tiernan Sittenfeld, a senior official with LCV, said the group is “perplexed” and “very disappointed” with Gibson’s vote, especially in light of his past leadership on climate change. LCV strongly supports EPA’s rule, called the Clean Power Plan, calling it a vital way to cut carbon emissions while offering states flexibility.
“Since Congressman Gibson acknowledges that climate change is real, it then begs the question of what solutions does he support?” she said.
Gibson says that a major element of EPA’s final regulation left him little choice.
It’s a wonky issue, but basically the rule requires states to create plans to slash power-plant carbon emissions within their borders. However, if states don’t craft their own plans, EPA has a version that it will require states to adopt, and that so-called “federal implementation plan” relies on cap-and-trade; that is, trading of pollution permits under an overall emissions limit. The rule also encourages states to explore carbon trading in the plans they craft on their own, but does not require it.
Gibson, however, dislikes cap-and-trade.
“While I have strongly and consistently supported the Clean Power Plan, and continue to do so, I cannot and will not support a proposal for a cap-and-trade system. Cap-and-trade is a dangerous policy fraught with the potential for significant corruption and it would hurt my constituents and our economy by raising energy costs,” he said in a statement.
“I call on the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately recall the proposed rule for a federal plan and to reissue it without a cap-and-trade system as its foundation. I hope the EPA will listen to the many votes over the years in Congress opposing cap-and-trade and rescind that proposed rule,” he said.