Cantwell Votes Against Zinke and Perry, Citing Concerns About the Trump Administration’s Intentions on Clean Energy, Science and Our Public Lands

Download broadcast-quality video of her statements here. Watch on YouTube here.
Download a PDF of her full statements here.

Washington, DC – (RealEstateRama) — Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) voted against two Trump administration nominees—former Governor Rick Perry to be Secretary of Energy and U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke to be Secretary of the Interior. Key excerpts explaining her reasons are below.

Climate Science and Efficiency Programs Threatened at the Department of Energy
“We have made too much progress—and even more progress needs to continue to be made—to reverse course now. That is what I fear could happen at the Department of Energy when there is not strong advocacy of these key programs.

“Governor Perry’s testimony before this committee has left—in my mind—a great deal of doubt to his commitment. … After reviewing the transcripts and questions for the record, the governor’s responses left me wondering whether he would stand up and fight the White House’s approach to these programs.

“The department is responsible for much of the science that goes into assessing the speed and intensity with which climate change is occurring and what we should do to improve our reliance on energy efficiency and clean energy.

“I do not understand why President Trump appears to be so hostile to these programs.”

Scientific, Technical Expertise Pushed Aside for Politics
“Given the key technical role the Department of Energy plays when it comes to our nuclear security—and the implementation of the Iran Agreement—I simply cannot understand why replacing scientific and technical expertise with political strategy is a decision in any way designed to make America safer. I don’t understand the strategy of trying to keep that scientific input out of the administration.

“I want to say, I gave Governor Perry multiple opportunities to clarify for the record his lack of enthusiasm to pushing back against some of the more egregious actions the Trump administration is contemplating, especially as it relates to the Office of Electricity and EERE. This is especially important since President Trump had said, prior to being sworn in, that his cabinet officials could speak for themselves—that they would be free to say whatever they want. So I see no reason why he could not have spoken in more urgent terms for something that has been supported by both Democratic and Republican administrations and supported it enthusiastically.

“I hope that—as we move forward—many of my colleagues will work very hard to speak out against the policies of this administration that are coming into conflict with science.”

Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration Could Impair Our National Labs
On the issue of Trump’s executive order on immigration, Sen. Cantwell said: “[It] may not have an impact on the Department of Energy yet, but many of our national laboratories are supported in key scientific missions by post-doctoral fellowships and scientists who come to us from all over the world.

“In fact, it is the case that refugee scientists were key to our Manhattan Project successes. Have we forgotten that Albert Einstein was an immigrant who fled Europe? Or that Enrico Fermi’s wife was Jewish, and he and his family came to the United States after the Nobel Prize ceremony in 1938?”

Reforming Federal Coal at the Department of the Interior
“The coal policies of our nation are critically important to the people of Washington state. They feel under siege by the amount of transport and related issues facing our state. They want a Secretary of the Interior who is going to be a fair and judicious arbiter of those issues.

“The coal policies that started under Secretary Jewell—to review the cost of coal extraction, get a fair deal for the taxpayer and make sure that the environment is treated correctly—are some things that I think we’ll continue to have many, many dialogues about.”

Drilling in Sensitive Areas Overseen by the Department of the Interior
“I am concerned that the Trump administration has made it clear that it wants to pursue an aggressive energy development agenda—undoing reasonable protections—on environmentally sensitive lands and waters. And they want to renew efforts at reversing protections both onshore and offshore. So, I hope that this conversation about how we provide good stewardship will continue.

“I know you, [Congressman Zinke], want to be a Teddy Roosevelt-type of Secretary of the Interior, but right now you’re working with an administration which—in its own infrastructure bill—says that they’re going to pay for it through oil and gas [development] on federal lands, all of our federal lands. I don’t know where that stops.”

Vote Counts, New Subcommittee Assignments
Several other Democrats joined Sen. Cantwell in opposing the Trump administration’s picks. Rep. Zinke received 16 votes of support, with Sens. Stabenow, Sanders, Franken, Hirono and Duckworth opposing his nomination and Sen. Wyden abstaining. Gov. Perry received 16 votes of support, with Sens. Wyden, Sanders, Franken, Hirono, Duckworth and Heinrich opposing his nomination.

The committee also tended to some housekeeping items within the committee, including announcing the new subcommittee assignments below.

ENERGY
Cory Gardner, Chairman
James E. Risch
Jeff Flake
Steve Daines
Jeff Sessions
Lamar Alexander
John Hoeven
Bill Cassidy
Rob Portman

Joe Manchin III, Ranking
Ron Wyden
Bernard Sanders
Al Franken
Martin Heinrich
Angus King
Tammy Duckworth
Catherine Cortez Masto

PUBLIC LANDS, FORESTS, AND MINING
Mike Lee, Chairman
John Barrasso
James E. Risch
Jeff Flake
Steve Daines
Cory Gardner
Jeff Sessions
Lamar Alexander
John Hoeven
Bill Cassidy

Ron Wyden, Ranking
Debbie Stabenow
Al Franken
Joe Manchin III
Martin Heinrich
Mazie Hirono
Catherine Cortez Masto

NATIONAL PARKS
Steve Daines, Chairman
John Barrasso
Mike Lee
Cory Gardner
Lamar Alexander
John Hoeven
Rob Portman

Mazie Hirono, Ranking
Bernard Sanders
Debbie Stabenow
Martin Heinrich
Angus King
Tammy Duckworth

WATER AND POWER
Jeff Flake, Chairman
John Barrasso
James E. Risch
Mike Lee
Jeff Sessions
Bill Cassidy
Rob Portman

Angus King, Ranking
Ron Wyden
Bernard Sanders
Al Franken
Joe Manchin III
Tammy Duckworth

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Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Since its creation, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and its predecessors have considered, reported, and overseen some of the most important legislation ever enacted by the United States Congress.

This far-reaching legislative activity can be described in the following major areas: energy resources and development, including regulation, conservation, strategic petroleum reserves and appliance standards; nuclear energy; Indian affairs; public lands and their renewable resources; surface mining, Federal coal, oil, and gas, other mineral leasing; territories and insular possessions; and water resources.

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