2001 Scorecard Vote
America increasingly relies on fossil fuels--oil, coal, and natural gas--to power its industries, heat and cool its homes, and provide transportation for its people. This widespread dependence extracts a huge environmental and public health cost. In the United States, fossil fuels account for 98 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions--the major contributor to global warming--and 95 percent of all other air pollution. Fossil fuel emissions have also been linked to premature deaths and chronic respiratory illnesses.
The quickest, cheapest, cleanest way to reduce America's dependence on these polluting and unstable energy sources is to promote energy efficiency. Over the last 25 years, U.S. energy consumption has grown by 40 percent-- less than it would have without efficiency improvements-- and even conservative estimates project similar progress over the next 25 years. Environmentalists have been particularly supportive of programs to reduce fuel costs and increase efficiency by weatherizing homes.
During House debate of the Fiscal Year 2002 Interior appropriations bill, Representative Bernard Sanders (I-VT) introduced an amendment to increase low income weatherization assistance by $24 million and add $12 million for other energy conservation programs, paid for by a $52 million cut in funding for fossil fuel development. On June 21, 2001, the House rejected the amendment by a 153-262 vote (House roll call vote 178). YES is the pro-environment vote. The Interior appropriations conference report, which included more money for weatherization and energy efficiency as approved by the Senate, was passed by both the House and Senate in October and was signed by the president in November.