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

The Democratic Party believes that “climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time … We will take bold steps to slash carbon pollution and protect clean air at home [and] lead the fight against climate change around the world.” The Party supports the Paris Agreement, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and transitioning to a clean energy economy.

Official Republican position

The Republican Party proposes “to shift responsibility for environmental regulation from the federal bureaucracy to the states and to transform the EPA into an independent bipartisan commission.” They oppose U.S. funding of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, and “reject the agendas of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, which represent only the personal commitments of their signatories.”

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 Carter | Candidate for 31st Congressional District, 2018 in Texas (TX) | Crowdpac Barbara Boxer | U.S. Senate, 2014 in California (CA) | Crowdpac Joe Manchin | Candidate for U.S. Senate, 2018 Primary Election in West Virginia (WV) | Crowdpac Robert Hurt | 5th Congressional District, 2014 in Virginia (VA) | Crowdpac Candice Miller | 10th Congressional District, 2014 in Michigan (MI) | Crowdpac Joni Ernst | Candidate for U.S. Senate, 2020 Primary Election in Iowa (IA) | Crowdpac Jim Inhofe | Candidate for U.S. Senate, 2020 Primary Election in Oklahoma (OK) | Crowdpac Lois Capps | 24th Congressional District, 2014 in California (CA) | Crowdpac Sheldon Whitehouse | Candidate for U.S. Senate, 2018 Primary Election in Rhode Island (RI) | Crowdpac Don Young | Candidate for At-Large Congressional District, 2018 Primary Election in Alaska (AK) | 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