DATE: Thursday, December 8, 2022 

TO: Interested Parties 

FROM:  Jordan Schreiber, Director of Energy and Environment at Accountable.US

Incoming House Leadership Poses a Threat to Public Lands Conservation

Republicans will have the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in the upcoming Congress, and the likely incoming House leadership could mean bad news for America’s public lands. Incoming House leaders, Reps. Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Tom Emmer, and Jim Banks have built a reputation for their coziness for Big Oil and the extractive industries while working to undermine protections for public lands.

In fact, the likely next Speaker of the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, is the chamber’s all-time highest recipient of industry money, raising over $2.7 Million in campaign contributions from Oil and Gas companies. In the past, McCarthy has done the industry’s dirty work advancing, justifying, and advocating for their fringe crony positions. For example:   

  • After the American Petroleum Institute sent McCarthy a letter urging him to pass permitting reform, he vowed to make it a priority in the next Congress. 
  • McCarthy supported a  bill that would make regulating public lands oil leasing harder. 
  • McCarthy promised to curb the power of the Antiquities Act, which he said could be misused for “executive overreach.”

Meanwhile, the House’s next Majority Leader, Rep. Steve Scalise has displayed outright hostility towards conservation and public lands while flaunting his ties to Big Oil and regularly uses industry talking points. 

  • Steve Scalies’s campaign has taken nearly $2 Million from the oil industry. 
  • Scalise is an outspoken critic of President Biden’s energy and conservation policy, falsely calling it “his war on American Energy.” 
  • Scalise opposed a permanent reauthorization of the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Bottom line: The incoming House Leadership will likely do the bidding of oil and gas executives rather than pursue an agenda that’s genuinely reflective of their constituents’ interest. This means pursuing industry-friendly land leasing reform and making it harder for the government to have oversight over drilling and oil production on federal land so that firms can exploit the people’s land with more ease.

If it seems like the new House leadership prioritizes their wealthy industry donors’ interests over their communities, it’s because they are. For more information on the incoming House Leadership’s fringe views on conversion and their conflicts of interest, READ MORE.

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