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GOP Congress Seen Pushing Back on EPA Rules

GOP Congress Seen Pushing Back on EPA Rules

By Adam O'Neal - October 16, 2014

A group of energy policy and politics experts gathered at the Newseum in Washington on Thursday for a program titled "U.S. Energy Policy and the 2014 Midterm Elections,” presented by RealClearPolitics and the American Petroleum Institute. The discussion ranged widely, with panelists offering their thoughts on fracking; climate change; Tom Steyer; control of the Senate; the 2016 presidential race; and much more. 

Here are some of the key points made in the discussion about how energy is affecting election year politics -- and vice versa: 

Monica Trauzzi, E&ETV, on how a GOP-controlled Congress would handle the new EPA regulations: 

“If the Senate becomes majority Republican, there will certainly be a push from both chambers to scale back or halt these regulations. I’ve had some members suggest to me that they believe we could even see discussions of a government shutdown over something like this. Litigation, of course, is a near certainty. 

Amy Harder, Wall Street Journal, on the politics of Keystone XL pipeline:

“You’re finding environmental groups -- including the League of Conservation Voters and the National Resources Defense Council -- have endorsed Democratic candidates and supported them even though they support Keystone. . . . 

“I’ve noticed that Tom Steyer has not talked about Keystone nearly as much this last month or so as he was during the first part of this campaign season, when he was talking about climate change and Republicans being science deniers. I think Keystone is much less a political issue this election cycle. It is a massive albatross around Obama’s neck but it is not a top energy issue this election.” 

Nick Snow, Oil & Gas Journal, on the biggest unknown this election season: 

“The biggest question right now as far as I’m concerned is: Will Mary Landrieu survive? As chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, [she has overseen] a pretty collegial, bipartisan bunch so far.” 

Bill Loveless, Platts Energy Week, on reporting about climate change: 

“Reporters always strive for objectivity, right? We have standards that we operate by. But let’s face it: You have to work off certain assumptions. I do agree that we’re contributing significantly to the carbon that’s in the air, climate change. And, that said, I’m willing to hear another side of the argument.” 

Kate Sheppard, The Huffington Post, on a new trend for answering climate-change questions: 

“In the 2014 midterms, energy and the environment aren’t the main issues driving voters’ decisions. They are emerging as issues that candidates are expected to weigh in on in interviews and debates. Everyone asks not just whether they think climate change is real, but more specifically about policies they do or do not support to address it. One of the more interesting trends this election has been the rise of the ‘I’m not a scientist, but…’ response to questions about climate change. [The response] allows candidates to sidestep the question of whether or not they believe in the science yet still expound on the policy questions.” 

Sean Trende, RealClearPolitics, on the state of play for the House: 

“We don’t know that much about individual House races because there has been a complete and utter dearth of polling this cycle. . . .

“There was always a zero percent chance of the House flipping. … It simply was not going to happen.” 

Charles Mahtesian, National Public Radio, on why it’s important to keep an eye on state races too: 

“The League of Conservation voters, for example, they’ve turned their focus to the state level this election cycle, which is a reflection of the growing belief that the states are where the action is. State political arenas are an increasingly important theater in this climate-change fight. ... What you’re seeing is millions of dollars being poured into races ranging from state legislative contests in the Pacific Northwest to the Maine governor’s race. And these are places where national [environmental] groups have not played at that level in the past.” 

Amy Walter, The Cook Political Report, on the Romney 2016 boomlet: 

“We’re all talking about Mitt Romney and his sudden resurgence and the renaissance of Mitt Romney. I will just say this right now: If he is the presidential nominee, I will, in front of all of you on YouTube, eat my iPad. It’s not going to happen.”

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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