1998 Scorecard Vote
The extraction, refinement, and burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) constitutes the largest source of air pollution in the world and, in the United States, accounts for 98% of all carbon dioxide emissions--the chief contributor to global warming--and 95% of all other air pollution. Meanwhile, commercial nuclear power plants produce 95% of the country's radioactive waste--waste for which there is no permanent safe disposal method.
Energy efficiency programs are considered the single most effective means of reducing energy use and energy-related pollution. Energy efficiency improvements now save U.S. consumers $150 billion to $200 billion a year. The Department of Energy (DOE) has played a particularly important role in developing energy-efficient technologies-- spearheading major innovations in lighting, window and building design, industrial energy efficiency, and automotive design. If all the DOE's energy efficiency programs were funded at the level requested by the Clinton administration, it is estimated that the U.S. would cut its carbon dioxide emissions 136 million tons by the year 2010. This could take the U.S. more than 25% of the way toward meeting the carbon reductions required under the Kyoto protocol.
During consideration of the Fiscal Year 1999 Interior appropriations bill, the House Appropriations Committee cut energy efficiency funding $25 million below Fiscal Year 1998 levels and more than $200 million below the President's requested budget. Reps. David Skaggs (D-CO) and Jon Fox (R-PA) offered an amendment to cut $44.5 million from other programs, mostly related to fossil energy, to fund increases in energy efficiency programs.
On July 21, 1998, the House rejected the amendment, 212- 213, after the gavel to close voting was delayed by 10 minutes, giving amendment opponents time to lobby other members to change their votes. YES is the pro-environment vote. A subsequent revised amendment restored funding to both fossil energy and energy efficiency programs and was accepted on a voice vote before final passage of the bill.