WASHINGTON – Here are the recent votes of Western New York’s three members of the House of Representatives on major legislation in Congress. The Senate was not in session. A “Y” means the member voted for the measure; an “N” means the member voted against the measure; an “A” means the member did not vote.
• Energy Leases in Alaska’s Bristol Bay – The House rejected an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., to the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act that would have barred offshore oil and natural gas leasing in Bristol Bay in southern Alaska and blocked sharing revenue from offshore leases with coastal states. DeFazio said Bristol Bay “is a precious and irreplaceable area. One major spill in that area would devastate the environment, the fishery that supports thousands of jobs in Alaska.” An opponent, Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said the amendment “would start us down the road of imposing new moratoriums on America’s offshore, which is the opposite of what Americans want,” and would block Alaskans from participating in the decision on whether to authorize energy production in Bristol Bay.
The vote on June 28 was 183 yeas to 235 nays.
Reps. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, Y; Chris Collins, R-Clarence, N; Tom Reed, R-Corning, N.
• Challenging Offshore Energy Leases – The House passed an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Paul C. Broun, R-Ga., to the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act to require that legal claims filed by entities that were not party to the pending leases and that challenge decisions to issue offshore energy leases be filed within 60 days of the decisions, and adopt a rule for the lawsuits stipulating that the losing entity pays the legal costs of the winning entity. Broun said the amendment would avert the prospect of “frivolous, duplicative lawsuits filed by outside entities with no real tie to the individual contracts” for offshore energy production leases. An opponent, Rep. Hank Johnson Jr., D-Ga., said the amendment “creates a major obstacle for parties such as states, municipalities, local entities and nonprofit organizations from challenging unsound licensing decisions in the courts.”
The vote on June 28 was 217 yeas to 202 nays.
Collins, Y; Reed, Y; Higgins, N.
• States’ Rights and Offshore Energy – The House rejected an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., to the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act stipulating that the bill did not impact the authority of states to block energy production beneath navigable waters within the state’s boundaries. Grayson said the amendment would avoid the possibility of the federal government overriding states’ rights to decide whether oil and natural gas drilling should take place. An opponent, Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., said the amendment was unnecessary because the bill would not change states’ rights, and said the amendment “could effectively usurp the individual private property rights of individuals in favor of state control.”
The vote on June 28 was 209 yeas to 210 nays.
Higgins, Y; Collins, N; Reed, N.
• Oil and Natural Gas Drilling off Southern California – The House rejected an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., to the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act that would have canceled provisions authorizing oil and natural gas lease sales off the Southern California coast and governing the sharing of revenue from energy production on the outer continental shelf with coastal states. Capps said Southern California residents have rejected drilling off the coast, and “instead of expanding oil and gas drilling, we should be working together on a responsible, sustainable energy policy for the future.” An opponent, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., said the amendment would block the possibility of using onshore directional drilling to access up to 1.6 billion barrels of offshore oil deposits, hurting California’s economy and increasing its dependence on imported oil.
The vote on June 28 was 176 yeas to 241 nays.
Higgins, Y; Collins, N; Reed, N.
• Offshore Energy Leases – The House passed the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, sponsored by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash. The bill would require the Obama administration to develop a five-year plan for leasing energy development blocks in offshore waters, and establish a program for sharing the revenue from energy leases with the coastal states. Hastings said the bill “will remove government barriers that are currently blocking access to our American energy resources. It will safely and responsibly unlock our energy and allow us to create over a million new American jobs.” An opponent, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said new energy leases would have minimal impact on energy prices.
The vote on June 28 was 235 yeas to 186 nays.
Collins , Y; Reed, Y; Higgins, N.