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When We Have Dems Fighting Climate Crisis Amelioration, Who Needs Republicans?


Lead villain Henry Cuellar

Yesterday 7 Texas Democrats shot another a arrow into hopes that the reconciliation bill would begin to deal seriously with the climate crisis. Below is the letter they sent to the Democratic leadership. These are the corrupt conservative Democrats we're talking about:

  • Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)- a member of the "Unbreakable 9"

  • Vicente Gonzalez (Blue Dog-TX)- another member of the "Unbreakable 9"

  • Lizzie Fletcher (New Dem-TX)

  • Sylvia Garcia (Progressive Caucus member-TX)

  • Marc Veasey (New Dem-TX)

  • Filemon Vela (New Dem-TX)- another member of the "Unbreakable 9"

  • Colin Allred (New Dem-TX)


The only Texas New Dems who refused to sign onto the letter were Veronica Escobar (El Paso) and Joaquin Castro (San Antonio).


Here's the whiny, misleading letter:


We write to you to share our concerns about proposed language in the House budget reconciliation package specifically targeting the U.S. oil, natural gas, and refining industries. Provisions in the package have the potential to cost thousands of jobs, stifle economic recovery, increase energy costs for all Americans, strengthen our adversaries, and ultimately impede the transition to a lower carbon future. These taxes and fees, as well as the exclusion of natural gas production from clean energy initiatives, constitute punitive practices.
Currently, oil and natural gas companies may recover costs, which is permissible for companies in every other industry. The industry supports nearly 11 million domestic jobs and generates billions of dollars of revenue for federal and state governments. In addition, the energy provided by this sector ensures that America minimizes reliance on foreign sources of oil and petroleum products, and that the American public has access to affordable and reliable sources of energy to power their lives and keep the American economy moving. The price of crude oil is the largest factor in gasoline prices, so raising the costs of crude oil for refineries will adversely impact Americans who can least afford it. The tax changes being proposed will further cut domestic production and endanger domestic refining capacity while increasing demand from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Global demand for oil and natural gas will continue to increase for the foreseeable future. The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts we will need more forms of all energy in the future, projecting worldwide energy consumption to grow by 50% by 2050. U.S. production of oil and natural gas is among the most environmentally conscious in the world when it comes to carbon- intensity and curtailing methane emissions. Likewise, U.S. refining companies are making significant investments in lower carbon fuels, carbon capture, and other technologies to reduce emissions. Limiting capital for these industries will impede their ability to continue investing in the technologies needed to meet growing demand for energy while reducing emissions.
We firmly believe that the budget reconciliation bill should not unduly disadvantage any industry, and oppose the targeting of U.S. oil, natural gas, and refining with increased taxes and fees and the exclusion of natural gas production from clean energy initiatives. These inequitable policies will cost American jobs, move America farther away from energy independence, and will slow the country’s move toward a lower carbon future.

What they oppose most-- aside from losing contributions from Big Oil-- is the Clean Electricity Performance Program, which would pay or penalize power providers in order to shift the country towards clean electricity. The anti-natural gas movement we wrote about last week has the 7 of them flipping out. Big Oil gives overwhelming to Republicans but they make exceptions for a few easily-bribed Democratic friends-- like these:

  • Henry Cuellar- $1,004,109

  • Lizzie Fletcher- $436,342

  • Marc Veasey- $429,899

  • Vicente Gonzalez- $242,006

  • Filemon Vela- $167,000

  • Colin Allred- $126,041

  • Sylvia Garcia- $94,842

Yes... well, well, well. On seeing the letter last night, one well know Texas progressive-- our old friend Julie Oliver, just shook her head and said, said "This is what happens when corporate donations go unchecked and we allow lobbyists to have more access to our congressional leaders than their constituents."


Another Texas progressive, and another old friend Mike Siegel was astounded-- and not in a good way-- when he read the letter yesterday. "Disappointed is not a strong enough word to describe my feelings towards this letter," he said. "Betrayal might be more accurate. Betrayal of the people of Texas, betrayal of our air and water and wildlife, betrayal of our future. The idea that these seven Members of Congress could talk about INCREASING oil and gas output THROUGH 2050-- it's just a death wish for our planet. (Of course, these aren't their words. This letter was written by some lobbyist. Who else would put the words 'carbon capture' on a public statement?) We need bold leaders at every level of government who will fight for justice and who will fight for our environment. I'm working to make sure we have a new generation of public servants who will not be beholden to the fossil fuel industry, and will have the courage to do what's right for all of us."


When Blue America first endorsed and raised money for Nanette Barragán (D-CA) it was because she was a coastal mayor who took on Big Oil when they tried drilling 34 wells near Hermosa Beach. She beat them, ran for Congress in 2016 against a status quo establishment candidate and won. She hasn't changed at all and is still passionate about the environment and Climate. After reading the letter, she told me that "these energy sources produce enormous levels of pollution that harm our communities and climate. Continuing to subsidize them to the tune of over $15 billion a year doesn’t make any sense at a time when we have to address the climate crisis and environmental injustices. Instead we need to redirect these investments into clean energy industries to create good paying green jobs that reduce pollution."