Basic Briefing

The Environment Debate

The debate on the environment focuses on regulating energy production and energy use. How much should the US prioritize protecting the environment? Should cars have Fuel Economy Standards? Should the EPA have the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions? Should there be a nationwide Cap-and-Trade program? Should there be increased regulation of fracking?

Official Democratic position

“We know that global climate change is one of the biggest threats of this generation – an economic, environmental, and national security catastrophe in the making.” The Democratic Party wants America to be an international leader in combatting climate change. The party supports a combination of regulations and market solutions that will reduce carbon emissions.

Official Republican position

“The Republican Party supports appointing public officials to federal agencies who will properly and correctly apply environmental laws and regulations, always in support of economic development, job creation, and American prosperity and leadership.” The party opposes Cap-and-Trade programs and believes that regulations on fracking should occur at the state level.

Institutional framework

The U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) implements and enforces environmental regulation. The President controls the overall policy and agency coordination. Congress passes laws – such as the Clean Air Act – that determine the EPA’s regulatory authority.

Many states have their own environmental regulatory policies. State regulations must meet or exceed EPA guidelines.

The US does not currently have a national Cap-and-Trade program. However, nine states in the northeast currently participate in The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which is a cap-and-trade system that limits CO2 emissions.

Most Vocal on Environment

These are the candidates who focus on this issue the most, with the most liberal on this issue on the left and the most conservative on this issue on the right. Click on the circles to see more information.

John Hoeven | US Senate (2016) in North Dakota (ND) | Crowdpac Sheldon Whitehouse | Candidate for US Senate, primary (2018) in Rhode Island (RI) | Crowdpac Don Young | Candidate for At-Large Congressional District, primary (2018) in Alaska (AK) | Crowdpac David McKinley | Candidate for 1st Congressional District, primary (2018) in West Virginia (WV) | Crowdpac Markwayne Mullin | Candidate for 2nd Congressional District, primary (2018) in Oklahoma (OK) | Crowdpac Ron Kind | Candidate for 3rd Congressional District, primary (2018) in Wisconsin (WI) | Crowdpac Bill Johnson | Candidate for 6th Congressional District, primary (2018) in Ohio (OH) | Crowdpac Jaime Herrera Beutler | Candidate for 3rd Congressional District, primary (2018) in Washington (WA) | Crowdpac Rob Wittman | Candidate for 1st Congressional District, primary (2018) in Virginia (VA) | Crowdpac Bob Gibbs | Candidate for 7th Congressional District, primary (2018) in Ohio (OH) | Crowdpac

The Spectrum on Environment

These are the candidates who are most liberal, most conservative, and most moderate on this specific issue. Click on each candidate to see more information.

Crowdpacs tagged Environment

Relevant Committees


Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) - Focuses on advocacy for federal policies that promote the development and use of domestic petroleum and natural gas

Sierra Club - One of the oldest and largest grassroots organizations in the United States focusing on conversation and environmental issues