The US midterm results are in and fossil fuels have won big while efforts to combat climate change are dealt a serious blow. With 52 seats, Republicans have won the Senate and they now control both chambers of Congress. This will make passing President Obama’s legislative agenda, which was already very difficult, nearly impossible. Here are 10 likely energy and climate consequences of Republicans advances in the 2014 midterms:
Pro-fossil fuel initiatives we can expect from Republicans:
- approval of the Keystone XL pipeline
- reject an end to tax breaks for oil and gas companies
- expand federal leases for fracking
- end to the crude oil export ban
- expand coal development
Anti-climate initiatives we can expect from Republicans
- restrict the administration’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases
- kill any hope for a binding global climate treaty
- oppose a non-binding global climate agreement
- end the Production Tax Credit for renewable energy
- curtail other renewable energy incentives
Democrats can still resist Republican’s pro-fossil fuel and anti-climate legislation. Republican Senators do not have a super majority of 60 seats, so Democrats can exert some control through a filibuster. Unlimited discussion and debate is permitted in the Senate and no vote can be held on a bill until all debate is closed or 60 Senators vote for cloture.
The President can always veto any bill coming from the Republican controlled Congress. In addition to his veto powers, the only recourse left to the President are his executive actions.
Optimistically, the President may be able to gain some bipartisan support for legislation related to trade agreements, infrastructure or perhaps even tax reform, but he will not be able to pass a bill on climate, the environment or clean energy.
Republican control over the nation’s purse strings gives their obstructionism more teeth. However to shrug off the well earned perception that they are the party of “no” and to try to set up a run for the Presidency in 2016, the GOP may put legislation in front of the President that he will have to veto.
© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
Environmental Alliances in the 2014 Midterms
Environment and Climate Win Senate Race in Michigan Midterms
Climate Denying Koch Friend Wins Senate Seat in Iowa
Mixed Green Results in Florida Midterms
Polling Data: Climate Change and the US Midterm Elections
Midterms 2014: Five Good News Stories for the Climate and the Environment
Louisiana Midterms have Serious (Solar) Energy Implications
Midterms 2014: Energy an Issue in Swing States
Midterm 2014: Short Term Economic Concerns Trump Environmental Issues
Midterm 2014: Republican’s Climate Ignorance Poised to Win the Day
Infographic – Midterms 2014: Issues and Social Media Use
Video – Midterms 2014 and Republican Climate Denial