GOP Congressman Chris Gibson wants to introduce two bills that will acknowledge climate change, human’s role in it, and help phase in government subsidies away from fossil fuel and into renewable energy, he said Saturday.
I caught Gibson at the Old Dutch Church’s indoor farmer’s market in Kingston on Saturday and asked him about the resolutions, which were first reported by National Journal reporter Ben Geman.
Gibson said he plans to introduce a two-part resolution that will first acknowledge changing weather patterns throughout the country, laying out the science and facts that back it up.
Gibson pointed to severe weather events that have hit our region in the last few years, including Hurricanes Sandy and Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, as examples.
That second part of the resolution will acknowledge man’s role in climate change and say human’s should be involved in changing it, he said.
That position is one that goes against the grain of many in the GOP in Congress, who have expressed doubt that humans burning fossil fuels is a driver of climate change. Some have even been suspicious that it’s happening at all, despite a scientific consensus on the subject.
The GOP is in the majority in the House and will take over the Senate next year.
Gibson also says he has a strategy to help build support and co-sponsors.
He and his staff have studied the biographies of incoming congressional members in beltway publications like CQ Roll Call, looking for common interests that may intersect or be benefited by his bills.
Whether they’ve expressed interest with environmental or conservation issues or even tangential issues like open space, Gibson says he’s found openings for discussion. He says there’s hope for co-sponsorship with existing GOP members as well.
“Among existing members there’s more support that what’s visible,” Gibson said. “It’s really just yeoman’s work.”
Once he can build support and co-sponsors for his bills, the strategy is to move the language and co-sponsors onto a larger, omnibus energy and water appropriations bill as an amendment, Gibson said.
Gibson spoke more generally on this subject earlier this week at an event hosted by Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions and several other organizations, according to the National Journal, who wrote about Gibson’s climate change bills earlier this week. (They’re article tipped me off to write this blog post and it’s well done, so check it out.)
In video of Gibson’s remarks provided by event organizers, while he says he supports expanded exploration for drilling and the Keystone XL Pipeline in order to drive down the costs of energy, he also voiced support for driving down the costs of manufacturing and installing solar panels.
Gibson represents all of Sullivan and Ulster counties as part of the 19th Congressional District. He won his third term in Congress in November.