Erik Paulsen regularly issues a video Correspondence Corner in which he responds to constituent questions.
It is a great ploy — Congressman Paulsen determines what question is to be answered … thus, providing him an opportunity to portray himself as effectively responding to issues that he wishes to address as if they are the most critical issues that voters want addressed.
The MN Political Roundtable will be evaluating Congressman Paulsen’s responses and encouraging readers to offer their own assessments.
Yesterday’s topic, H.R.1456 – Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2017.
Today’s topic – Trump’s plan “A New Foundation For American Greatness” and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
In this Correspondence Corner, I reflect on this week's tragic events, and discuss ?s about shark fins and ANWR https://t.co/DsIWDkmoNO
— Rep. Erik Paulsen (@RepErikPaulsen) June 16, 2017
Before discussing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge segment of the June 16th Correspondence Corner, read the Letter-To-The-Editor published in the Lakeshore Weekly News
My family enjoys Minnesota’s natural beauty yearlong, from swimming in Lake Minnetonka to biking on the Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail to Nordic skiing in Three Rivers Parks.
So I was alarmed when President Donald Trump pulled out of the 195-country Paris climate agreement. This move is the single biggest threat to American global leadership in job growth, innovation and negotiations on trade deals. Trump did this unilaterally, despite pleas from Republican and Democratic Congress members, 30 high-profile CEOs, hundreds of companies, environmental and conservation groups, and world leaders, including Pope Francis.
I called my congressman, Erik Paulsen, to do something, to say something publicly. His staff said they didn’t know Paulsen’s position. He could have joined 13 House Republicans who sent a letter to President Trump to stay in the agreement but revise the pledge on emissions.
To date, Paulsen has been silent. No word on his website, no press release or op-ed, nothing on his Correspondence Corner video, no Facebook post, not even a tweet.
Then I got a letter from Paulsen thanking me for my concern about climate change and protecting our environment. I wish I could reciprocate that appreciation. While he says he believes we should “protect our natural resources and the environment for future generations,” his Congressional votes show the exact opposite.
If I paid closer attention to Paulsen’s votes, I shouldn’t have been surprised. His votes on environmental issues are disappointing. According to the League of Conservation Voters, Paulsen has a national environmental lifetime score over 8 years of a measly 16%. This year alone, he has voted 11 out of 11 times against protecting our air, lands, forests, water and wildlife.
I’ve voted for Paulsen in the past. But he no longer has my support nor my vote. I realize he is not a moderate and does not represent me. He certainly does not support protecting our natural resources and environment. I want my family and yours for generations to enjoy the great outdoors in Minnesota and our great country.
Sadly, with Paulsen in office, that dream is in jeopardy.
WOW … Congressman Paulsen is getting a little heat on climate change and it may cost him votes [“I’ve voted for Paulsen in the past. But he no longer has my support nor my vote. I realize he is not a moderate and does not represent me.“]
Hence the need to respond in this week’s Correspondence Corner selecting April from Edina who contacted him requesting he oppose drilling in ANWR as the Trump Budget is based on.
First, ya gotta wonder if Congressman Paulsen needs to give a little background before his response.
The question refers to the Trump Budget (aka A New Foundation For American Greatness) which states :
The environmentally responsible development of a small portion of ANWR would be part of a broader effort to reduce the Nation’s dependence on foreign energy sources. Production will take time, so it is imperative to authorize ANWR leasing now.
The first lease sale would begin around 2022/2023, allowing adequate time for the completion of appropriate environmental reviews and an updated assessment of the state of the oil and gas markets and lease bidding potential prior to scheduling specific lease sales.
Additional lease sale(s) would be held in 2026/2027.
Hmmm … so what is being proposed is that $1.8 billion will be flowing into the Treasuries coffers between 2018 and 2027 … actually, $400 million in 2022, $500 million in 2023, then a break for a couple of years and returning in 2026 with $400 million and 2027 with $500 million.
Gosh, just more proof that the Trump budget relies on just a smidgen of budget gimmickry (complemented with overly optimistic growth rates and lower interest payments) … surely the MathGuy will see through that chicanery.
That is just the “budget” … but allowing drilling in ANWR would require an act of Congress. The Trump administration cannot open the area to drilling through the budget proposal, nor through a budget resolution passed by Congress. It requires its own legislation.
So, Congressman Paulsen says he wrote a letter opposing that budget item … yet, the real question is how would he vote on opening ANWR to drilling ?
OK … a little history here, Congressman Paulsen has voted for the Keystone Pipeline — calling transporting in Canadian oil the “right thing to do” as the construction of the pipeline would support 42,000 jobs and add $3.4 billion to the American economy.” Protests by Minnesotans were ignored as well as concerns of potential pipeline spills.
When bipartisan Members objected to Trump’s plan to open up 73 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast for oil and gas exploration and development over the next five years, Congressman Paulsen did not sign the protest letter.
Further, as stated in the Lakeshore letter above, Congressman Paulsen did not join other Republicans protesting Trump’s rejection of the Paris agreement … nor did he sponsor Republican climate change resolutions last session or this session.
Nor did Congressman Paulsen join the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus
“The Caucus will serve as an organization to educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and protect our nation’s economy, security, infrastructure, agriculture, water supply and public safety”
OK, so that’s a little history … now, let’s look at some recent Paulsen votes related to ANWR.
When Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA-02) offered an amendment to H.R. 2406 to designate Coastal Plain of Refuge as wilderness, thus preventing drilling, Congressman Paulsen, along with 8 other Republicans and 167 Democrats voted YES but it lost (176-227).
OK … that supports his stance but the Republican majority prevailed.
Later in the session, hte House approved Amendment 90 offered by Congressman Don Young (R-AK) to H.R. 5538 to prevent use of funds to implement Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan, which recommended that Congress designate the Coastal Plain as wilderness. That vote was approved 237-191, Congressman Paulsen was one of twelve Republicans to vote NO.
OK … that supports his stance but the Republican majority prevailed.
However, that amendment was just an amendment … would Congressman Paulsen retain that same opposition on the final vote ?
No … while 15 Republicans voted NO on the bill, it was approved 231-196, with Congressman Paulsen voting YES.
Being able to cast a protest vote on amendments does little when you vote inline with Republican leadership orders on the final bill.
In summary, while Congressman Paulsen’s Correspondence Corner response to April of Edina may give some hope that he will reject Trump’s calls for more oil and gas drilling, his votes say that in the end, he will side with “the Boss” and his BigOil donors.