In response to the news that Francis Rooney (R-FL-19) and Ro Khanna (D-CA-17) have joined the Climate Solutions Caucus, RL Miller of Climate Hawks Vote responds: “Really, Rooney and Ro? Rooney got religion after Hurricane Irma, but will he divest his huge fossil fuel holdings? And what’s Ro’s excuse for joining the sorriest greenwashing caucus in Congress?”
Rooney came into Congress in 2017 holding the largest stake in the fossil fuel industry among incoming freshmen, according to E&E News. He sat on the board of two oil companies for the three years immediately prior to his election: Laredo Petroleum (where he still owns stock valued between $500,000 and $1,000,000), and Helmerich & Payne, an oil drilling firm (where his stock holdings are valued at $250,000 to $500,000). Rooney also remains an owner of Manhattan Construction, a $1 billion family-owned business that counts oil and gas drilling as part of its portfolio. According to E&E News, he owned stock in over two dozen more fossil fuel businesses.
Rooney has advocated for the United States to pull out of the Paris agreement, and as recently as May 2017 claimed ignorance regarding how much sea level rise is caused by humans. “Sea levels have been rising since the ice age,” he told town hall attendees.
Rooney has voted for the GOP tax cut bill that opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling (HR 1, 2017). He’s voted for methane pollution (H. J. Res. 36, 2016) and for ozone pollution (HR 806, 2017). He even voted with Scott Perry to strip language from a defense authorization bill (HR 2810, 2017) directing the Department of Defense to prepare for climate change (the amendment failed, and the Climate Solutions Caucus takes credit for organizing opposition). On a positive note, he was one of a tiny handful of Republicans to oppose the recent Scalise anti-carbon tax resolution (H. Con. Res. 119, 2018). He votes with Trump 96.7 percent of the time.
“At some point — and that point has passed — the Climate Solutions Caucus needs to justify its existence. Its proponents point to the caucus’ work in defeating the Perry amendment on July 13, 2017 — over a full year ago — to show that it has accomplished some good,” says RL Miller of Climate Hawks Vote. “Since then, the climate peacocks have strutted and multiplied — they are now over 20 percent of Congress! — but failed to act. I’m looking forward to replacing climate peacocks with climate hawks.”