Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kanjorski Votes Against His Own Bill

He Flips! He Flops!

U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski Tuesday night voted against an energy bill he co-sponsored and praised earlier this summer. He then voted for a bill that includes provisions he had opposed.

Kanjorski signed on as a co-sponsor of House Resolution 6709, a bipartisan bill called the National Conservation, Environment, and Energy Independence Act, on July 3. The bill, which would have lifted the ban on offshore drilling, had broad bipartisan support and Kanjorski was one of its 138 co-sponsors.

H.R. 6709 would repeal the offshore ban and allow drilling beyond 25 miles from shore, with states having complete authority from 25 to 50 miles off their coastline. Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, voted against that measure on Tuesday, which subsequently failed .Minutes later, he voted for H.R. 6899, which passed. That bill bans offshore drilling within 50 miles of shore.

In a prepared release Friday, Kanjorski explained why he voted against the energy bill he co-sponsored and in favor of the other version.

“The energy legislation which passed in the House on Tuesday with my support drew heavily from the Peterson-Abercrombie bill, of which I was an original co-sponsor,” Kanjorski said. “Working to pass comprehensive energy legislation has been a compromise as legislation continues to evolve and improve. Though I do not agree with every aspect of Tuesday’s bill, particularly in that I would like more of an emphasis on domestic drilling; it gives us something solid to build on.”

Kanjorski said legislation enacted in 2006 placed a moratorium on drilling in much of the eastern Gulf of Mexico to protect military areas off the coast of Florida from oil development. After much debate on the House floor on Tuesday, Kanjorski said he became aware of the importance of the moratorium for the military areas, which the Peterson-Abercrombie bill did not protect and could therefore hurt national security.

In a prepared release, Kanjorski’s opponent in the 11th District Congressional race, Republican Lou Barletta, said Kanjorski’s vote will do nothing to reduce the price of gasoline, heating oil or natural gas.

“His vote was one he made for political cover,” Barletta said. “If he wanted meaningful action, he would have voted for the bill he co-sponsored back in July. Instead, he played games and passed a sham bill to get political cover for the upcoming election.”

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