Despite his easy smile, when it comes to energy and climate, Sen. Rob Portman is a conflicted man.
On the one hand, he's a cosponsor of a bipartisan Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill. It would help people waste less energy by promoting energy efficiency measures for homes and businesses. It would move us toward cleaner sources of energy, clean energy technologies and help promote clean energy jobs.
On the other hand, Portman is a climate change denier who has fought efforts to address this growing environmental challenge. On climate change, Portman has said: "When you analyze all the data, there is a warming trend according to science. But the jury is out on the degree of how much is manmade." That's not what scientists say; it's Portman who's trying to create a hung jury.
Portman's record shows a pattern of anti-environment stances promoted by GOP leadership. He backed a measure to permanently block the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing any standards to limit greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. He also voted to strip $60 million worth of funding for advanced biofuels in the Department of Defense budget, even with military installations in Ohio tasked with developing alternative fuels.
Furthermore, Portman's a sponsor of the egregious Regulatory Accountability Act, which would make it next to impossible for the federal government to issue any new protections for the public, including those for health, safety and the environment. Practically speaking, Portman's support of this bill tells Ohioans to trust Congress with protecting vital necessities like their drinking water, rather than experts at the Environmental Protection Agency. I don't know about you, but I know who I would trust before handing my child a glass of tap water.
During his Senate career, Portman has received $385,000 from oil and gas interests and $346,000 from political action committees known as leadership PACs set up by colleagues in Congress who support Republican candidates.
Our advice: Senator Portman should show some independence from the GOP leadership's agenda to derail any federal action to reduce climate change. Ohioans deserve Portman to protect their health and represent their best interests, not dirty polluters.