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Rhea Suh and the new energy amid Mary Landrieu's chairmanship seat

Written by  // Wednesday, 12 February 2014 13:06 //

landrieu-blue Might Mary Landrieu's new high-ranking chair seat take some of the energy from the focus upon her Obamacare support?

For the past few years, the GOP has been pounding her on that one issue, to the extent that many have wondered if this election would be a one-pony race.  

 

Now, however, there is a new issue--her selection as Chairman of the US Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee. 

For a state whose economy is energy rich and dependent, that new job has a tremendous amount of clout-- for raising campaign funds and for helping to position's oil and gas industry.

The Louisiana GOP are trying to make it a negative.

Today, it released a "Breaking" Press release focusing upon an upcoming vote.

Today, Sen. Mary Landrieu announced that she will support Rhea Suh’s nomination to be assistant Interior secretary for fish and wildlife and parks when the Energy and Natural Resources Committee votes on the matter.

“I will be supporting her, yes,” Landrieu told reporters today, according to Politico Pro. 

Louisiana’s Republican congressional delegation has opposed Suh’s nomination due to her anti-energy record. 

“My Republican colleagues expressed a view I don’t share a lot of,” Landrieu said.

“During her time in the Department of the Interior, Ms. Suh advocated against natural gas exploration and helped implement the drilling moratorium following the 2010 Gulf oil spill. The decision to nominate Ms. Suh as the next Assistant Secretary of Fish, Wildlife and Parks puts the President at odds with our energy workers and producers. Our Senators need to support Louisiana working families over the President,” Congressman Bill Cassidy said

Congressman Steve Scalise said, “Ms. Suh’s track record of hostility towards American energy security should concern each and every Louisianan. I hope our Senators recognize the potentially devastating consequences that could come by confirming an anti-energy extremist as Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks at the Department of Interior.”

“Once again, Senator Landrieu has put politics above what is best for the people of Louisiana,” LAGOP Chairman Roger Villere said. “Ms. Suh has repeatedly been hostile toward Louisiana’s energy economy and nominating her to this position will drive a further wedge between Washington’s anti-energy agenda and Louisiana’s hard working families.”

Here are some of the voices nationwide about the politics of her selection:

Does any of this matter in a Congress hard-pressed to pass any legislation? Maybe. Landrieu could try to obstruct some Obama administration initiatives, especially on coal plants. She could work with committee Republicans to fashion legislation closer to the oil and gas industry interests. And she can make her voice heard more clearly than ever. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/02/12/as-energy-panel-chair-landrieu-marks-a-major-shift-from-wyden/)

And as she faces reelection this fall, her energy positions are likely to come under fire from both liberals and conservatives. For example, NextGen Climate Action -- a political committee funded by billionaire Tom Steyer -- is preparing to poll its supporters to determine which politicians to target in this year’s election. “Tell Senator Mary Landrieu to Get Her Facts Straight,” one ad on the ballot reads. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/02/12/as-energy-panel-chair-landrieu-marks-a-major-shift-from-wyden/)

Landrieu said she also plans to work closely with Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The two have worked together before, including on the effort to lobby the White House to approve the Keystone pipeline. (http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20140211/NEWS/140211022/Sen-Mary-Landrieu-track-chair-energy-panel-)

Political experts expect Landrieu to tout her new chairmanship on the campaign trail. A number of Republicans have filed to run for the seat, with Rep. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana considered the most likely to win the nomination.

Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, said he doesn’t think Landrieu’s move to chairmanship of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee will play a role in the race. The group supports retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a Republican running for the seat.

“I think voters are going to make a decision based on the candidate that best represents their values,’’ Hoskins said. “I think it’s important for the Republican Party to give them a compelling alternative. That’s why we’re supporting Col. Rob Maness, because we believe that he gives the voters a real choice.’’

Hoskins said Cassidy isn’t conservative enough and has supported many policies similar to Landrieu’s.

Cassidy and Landrieu support the Keystone pipeline. Both are pushing for final congressional approval of legislation to delay increases in federal flood insurance premiums.

Jennifer Duffy, senior editor at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which tracks elections, said Republicans will probably try to use the Energy and Natural Resources chairmanship against Landrieu.

“She’s been campaigning on the idea she was going to be chairman, so this isn’t news to supporters,’’ Duffy said. “She isn’t going to get anything done. Congress isn’t getting anything done. Why should she be special?’’

But Landrieu can use her role as chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to raise money, and she can promote it in ads, Duffy said.

She said Landrieu will benefit even more from her successful efforts to win Senate passage of legislation to delay the increases in federal flood insurance premiums. The bill faces an uncertain future in the House, where Cassidy is working to get it passed.

“It affects voters pretty close to home,” Duffy said. “If she can get credit for that that’s a big thing to run on. However, apparently Cassidy gets some credit too, so they will be fighting for credit.’’

Jeffrey Sadow, a political scientist at LSUS, said the chairmanship will have little impact unless Landrieu can craft significant legislation that appeals to voters.

“Otherwise, it gets drowned by Obamacare rollout/changes and other issues,’’ he said.
Landrieu said she has solid credentials on environmental protection. She successfully pushed for legislation to restore the Gulf Coast after the 2010 BP oil spill.

“We’re going to keep a very balanced approach, but always focused on job creation for the middle class,’’ she said of her upcoming role as committee chairwoman. (http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20140211/NEWS/140211022/Sen-Mary-Landrieu-track-chair-energy-panel-)

Louisiana' five House Republicans, including Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, her opponent in the fall Senate race, wrote Landrieu and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., Tuesday, urging them to oppose the Suh nomination. They contend she has been hostile to natural gas development in western states, though at committee hearings she vowed to endorse current laws and regulations.
Vitter voted against her nomination when it was passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week on a party-line vote.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., one of the Senate's leading environmentalists, said he hopes that Landrieu will use her new role to try and convince the oil and coal industries to be more reasonable when it comes to regulating carbon emissions, saying they have bullied lawmakers against even reasonable regulations and have been in a state of denial on climate change.
That led Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere to take a swipe at Landrieu.
"Mary Landrieu isn't a friend of Louisiana's energy industry," Villere said in a statement. "She's a friend of liberal special interests and President Obama's anti-energy team."
(http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/02/senate_dems_make_mary_landrieu.html)

 

Sources
Presidential job rating average based on the three most recently reported nationwide polls.
* McClatchy/Marist, Feb. 2-Feb. 9
** PPP (D), Feb. 6-9
*** Ipsos, Jan. 26-30
**** PSRA/Pew, Feb. 6-9
D = conducted by organization generally associated with Democrats.
R = conducted by organization generally associated with Republicans.
Does any of this matter in a Congress hard-pressed to pass any legislation? Maybe. Landrieu could try to obstruct some Obama administration initiatives, especially on coal plants. She could work with committee Republicans to fashion legislation closer to the oil and gas industry interests. And she can make her voice heard more clearly than ever. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/02/12/as-energy-panel-chair-landrieu-marks-a-major-shift-from-wyden/)

And as she faces reelection this fall, her energy positions are likely to come under fire from both liberals and conservatives. For example, NextGen Climate Action -- a political committee funded by billionaire Tom Steyer -- is preparing to poll its supporters to determine which politicians to target in this year’s election. “Tell Senator Mary Landrieu to Get Her Facts Straight,” one ad on the ballot reads. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/02/12/as-energy-panel-chair-landrieu-marks-a-major-shift-from-wyden/)

Landrieu said she also plans to work closely with Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The two have worked together before, including on the effort to lobby the White House to approve the Keystone pipeline. (http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20140211/NEWS/140211022/Sen-Mary-Landrieu-track-chair-energy-panel-)

Political experts expect Landrieu to tout her new chairmanship on the campaign trail. A number of Republicans have filed to run for the seat, with Rep. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana considered the most likely to win the nomination.

Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, said he doesn’t think Landrieu’s move to chairmanship of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee will play a role in the race. The group supports retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a Republican running for the seat.

“I think voters are going to make a decision based on the candidate that best represents their values,’’ Hoskins said. “I think it’s important for the Republican Party to give them a compelling alternative. That’s why we’re supporting Col. Rob Maness, because we believe that he gives the voters a real choice.’’

Hoskins said Cassidy isn’t conservative enough and has supported many policies similar to Landrieu’s.

Cassidy and Landrieu support the Keystone pipeline. Both are pushing for final congressional approval of legislation to delay increases in federal flood insurance premiums.

Jennifer Duffy, senior editor at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which tracks elections, said Republicans will probably try to use the Energy and Natural Resources chairmanship against Landrieu.

“She’s been campaigning on the idea she was going to be chairman, so this isn’t news to supporters,’’ Duffy said. “She isn’t going to get anything done. Congress isn’t getting anything done. Why should she be special?’’

But Landrieu can use her role as chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to raise money, and she can promote it in ads, Duffy said.

She said Landrieu will benefit even more from her successful efforts to win Senate passage of legislation to delay the increases in federal flood insurance premiums. The bill faces an uncertain future in the House, where Cassidy is working to get it passed.

“It affects voters pretty close to home,” Duffy said. “If she can get credit for that that’s a big thing to run on. However, apparently Cassidy gets some credit too, so they will be fighting for credit.’’

“We’re going to keep a very balanced approach, but always focused on job creation for the middle class,’’ she said of her upcoming role as committee chairwoman. (http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20140211/NEWS/140211022/Sen-Mary-Landrieu-track-chair-energy-panel-)

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