Kevin Cramer

Kevin Cramer

Credentials

According to his biographical profile at the U.S. House of Representatives, Kevin Cramer has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, a Master’s degree in Management from the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, and was conferred the degree of Doctor of Leadership, honoris causa, by the University of Mary on May 4, 2013. [1]

Background

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-NDwas elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012, and serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce as well as three subcommittees: Communications and Technology, Environment and the Economy, and Oversight and Investigations. [1]

In 1991, Cramer was elected Chairman of the North Dakota Republication National Committee. From 1993 to 2000, he served in Governor Ed Schafer’s cabinet, first as State Tourism Director from 1993 to 1997, then as State Economic Development & Finance Director from 1997 to 2000. [1]

According to his profile at the House of Representatives, Cramer is a “strong advocate for the free market system” as well as “limited, common sense regulations and limited government.” He is also described as an “energy policy expert,” who “understands America’s energy security is integral to national and economic security.” [1]

Kevin Cramer has been described as “one of the country’s strongest supporters of fossil fuels and oil and gas drilling and a signed- up climate change sceptic.” He has also received over half-a-million dollars in lifetime campaign contributions from oil, gas, and energy companies. [2]

In May, 2016, Kevin Cramer was chosen as energy adviser for Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Trump's team requested Cramer draft a briefing paper on energy policy. Cramer has said the paper includes suggestions on the elimination of the Obama adinistration's Clean Power Plan among other regulations. [3]

Between 2013 and 2016, Rep. Kevin Cramer has voted to pass 97 bills and amendments that the League of Conservation Voters considers to be “anti-environment” policies. [4]

Motherboard reports that Rep. Cramer “isn’t simply a [climate change] skeptic—he’s a head-in-the-sand obstructionist and mouthpiece for fossil fuel powers fighting to repeal some of the nation’s strongest environmental protections. The congressman once pledged to oppose all climate change legislation, as part of the 'No Climate Tax' initiative started by the Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity conservative advocacy group.” [5]

Kevin Cramer, Donald Trump & Climate Change

Environmental groups and the Clinton campaign have criticized Trump for choosing Kevin Cramer, described as a “prominent climate change skeptic,” as advisor: [6]

Trump and Cramer are two peas in the climate denial pod, who would make reckless attacks on the progress we have made in the fight against climate change” — Seth Stein, spokesman for the League of Conservation Voters. [3]

“Kevin Cramer has consistently backed reckless and dangerous schemes to put the profits of fossil fuel executives before the health of the public, so he and Trump are a match made in polluter heaven” — Melinda Pierce, Sierra Club Legislative Director.  [6]

Donald Trump’s choice of outspoken climate (change) denier Kevin Cramer to advise him on energy policy is just the latest piece of evidence that letting him get near the White House would put our children’s health and futures at risk.”
 
Trump has been light on the details of his energy policy, though he recently told supporters in West Virginia that the coal industry would thrive if he were president. He has also claimed global warming is a concept “created by and for the Chinese” to hurt U.S. business.

Clinton, meanwhile, has advocated shifting the country to 50 percent clean energy by 2030, promised heavy regulation of fracking, and said her prospective administration would put coal companies “out of business.” — Clinton campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson. [6]

The New York Times reports that while Donald J. Trump has said little about climate change himself, the four-page briefing paper prepared by Kevin Cramer may provide some clues. The paper outlines a number of regulations Mr. Trump may remove if he becomes president, including the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan. [3]

There is no downside in reducing emissions from fuel,” said Kevin Cramer. While Cramer admitted that “the climate is clearly changing,” he was also skeptical about how much humans were contributing and about the Democrat's proposed regulatory solutions. [3]

Explaining his energy policy papers for Trump, which he has not yet publicly released, Cramer said “I just want [Mr. Trump] to have a good general, high-level view and understanding of why an America-first energy policy should put states first. I want him to understand that we can have clean energy without having to get rid of fossil fuel (industry).” [7]

“What I put down for him was what I call an all-of-the-above energy paper highlighting North Dakota's assets of oil, wind, ethanol, coal, of course, and how addressing greenhouse gas emissions does not require throwing fossil fuels under the bus. We can have policies that say all American-made energy can be a winner,” Cramer said.  [7]

Cramer endorsed Trump earlier in 2016 at the North Dakota GOP convention, calling him “the best chance at unity for the party.” [7]

Stance on Climate Change

2016

“I've been skeptical, but I don't resist the reality that we’re heading toward or our goal is a more carbon-constrained world. […]”

My idea of a carbon tax would be to help fund clean fossil fuel research and development, not to fund the government, not to punish fossil fuel generation, not to manipulate fuel choice. Even a neutral, a revenue-neutral, carbon tax is inappropriate, in my view. But if we can have a very, very modest carbon tax to fund, again, the solution by utilizing fossil fuels like coal, I think even the industry would support that.” [8]

2015

“There is that sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax. Now, we can throw that out as sort of meaningless.” [5]

“I don't even participate in that 'climate change is real, climate change isn't real' debate. It doesn't matter to me whether it's real or it isn't real. We're dealing with it in reality, and my concern is more on the solution to it than it is on the climate change issue itself. What I do reject is the notion that somehow the power sector in the United States of America is going to bear the burden and the responsibility for fixing the entire world.” [9]

February, 2012

“These mandates and these wind farms are all based on this fraudulent science from the EPA, meaning their claim that CO2 is a pollutant and is causing global warming. […] So the idea that CO2 is somehow causing global warming is on its face fraudulent.” [10]

January 21, 2010

Kevin Cramer signed (PDF) the Americans for Prosperity's “No Climate Tax” project: [11]

Key Quotes

February, 2016

“The EPA’s actions are clearly illegal and violate the expressed intent of Congress,” Cramer said of the EPA's Clean Power Plan.  “In order to defend the law and authority of Congress I joined my colleagues to stand up to this Administration and oppose it’s actions in federal court. North Dakota’s electrical producers provide some of the most affordable electricity and maintain some of the cleanest air, but this Administration’s focus on implementing a radical environmental agenda threatens our economic future.” [12]

2014

Asked if it was scientifically possible to make Bakken crude oil safer by stripping out the explosive natural gas liquids with a process like oil stabilization, Cramer responded

So scientifically can you do it? Sure, but you have to look at it holistically and consider all of the other elements including economics, and is the benefit of doing something like that does that trump other things like speed of trains, and what kind of cars.” [13]

Campaign Contributions

According to Maplight, a nonpartisan nonprofit, Kevin Cramer received $222,400 from the oil and gas industry between 2013 and 2015. [14] Energy analysts at Fractracker Alliance estimate that Cramer has accepted $343,000 in campaign financing from fossil fuel lobbyists. [15]

According to Kevin Cramer's profile at the Center for Responsive Politics, he has received at least $573,600 from Oil & Gas since 1989, with his largest donor being Tesoro which has a refinery in North Dakota. The following is compiled from data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics/OpenSecrets: [16]

Top Industries (Career Total) [16]

Industry Total
Oil & Gas $573,600
Crop Production & Basic Processing $282,640
Retired $211,545
Leadership PACs $185,263
Health Professionals $119,000
Agricultural Services/Products $108,250
Commercial Banks $106,900
Real Estate $91,105
General Contractors $73,700
Insurance $72,850
Electric Utilities $71,650
Mining $57,950
Lawyers/Law Firms $57,602
Education $54,400
Misc Energy $54,100
Telephone Utilities $53,250
Building Materials & Equipment $49,250
Telecom Services $48,500
Republican/Conservative $44,579
Securities & Investment $43,750

Top Donors (2016 Election Cycle) [16]

Kevin Cramer's top 100 Campaign Contributors are listed below, with some notable groups and industries highlighted in bold:

Name Industry Total
Tesoro Corp Oil & Gas $11,000
Coughlin Construction   $10,800
Titanium Builders   $10,800
American Interventional Pain Physicians   $10,000
Berkshire Hathaway   $10,000
Deere & Co   $10,000
General Atomics Nuclear & Defense $10,000
National Assn of Broadcasters   $10,000
National Telecommunications Cooperative Assn   $10,000
Poet LLC   $10,000
Oasis Petroleum Oil & Gas $9,900
WPX Energy Oil & Gas $9,300
National Cable & Telecommunications Assn   $9,000
AT&T Inc   $8,500
Verizon Communications   $8,000
Microsoft Corp   $7,500
Northrop Grumman Arms Manufacturer $7,500
American Optometric Assn   $6,500
American Bankers Assn   $6,000
Exxon Mobil Oil & Gas $6,000
Honeywell International   $6,000
National Cattlemen's Beef Assn Industry Lobby $6,000
New York Life Insurance   $6,000
Cody Oil & Gas Oil & Gas $5,900
University of North Dakota   $5,900
Charter Communications   $5,500
Time Warner Cable   $5,500
Brandt Holdings   $5,400
International Western Co   $5,400
Select Energy Services Oil & Gas Services $5,400
Und Smhs   $5,400
RD Offut Co   $5,200
American Crystal Sugar   $5,000
Armstrong Corp   $5,000
Boeing Co Aerospace & Defense $5,000
ConocoPhillips Energy Company $5,000
Continental Resources Oil & Gas $5,000
Farm Credit Council   $5,000
Halliburton Co Oil, Gas, & Military $5,000
Home Depot   $5,000
Lignite Energy Council Coal Lobbying Group $5,000
Mednax Inc   $5,000
National Electrical Contractors Assn Electrical Construction $5,000
National Rural Electric Cooperative Assn Cooperative $5,000
United Transportation Union   $5,000
Chesapeake Energy Oil & Gas $4,500
Koch Industries Oil & Gas $4,500
Alkermes Plc Pharmaceuticals $4,000
American Maritime Officers   $4,000
Blue Cross/Blue Shield Lobby Group $4,000
CenturyLink   $4,000
Edison Electric Institute Energy Industry Lobby $4,000
Independent Community Bankers of America   $4,000
ITC Holdings Electrical Transmission $4,000
National Assn of Convenience Stores   $4,000
Xcel Energy Energy Company $4,000
Dakota Community Bank   $3,700
Gremada Industries   $3,700
American Cable Assn   $3,500
Comcast Corp   $3,500
National Assn of Home Builders   $3,500
Petroleum Marketers Assn Trade Association $3,500
Miller Insulation   $3,300
American Assn of Crop Insurers   $3,000
American College of Emergency Physicians   $3,000
Archer Daniels Midland   $3,000
Biotechnology Industry Organization   $3,000
Cellular Telecom & Internet Assn   $3,000
Ford Motor Co Auto Industry $3,000
General Electric   $3,000
Minn-Dak Farmers Co-Op   $3,000
National Amusements Inc   $3,000
National Assn of Insurance & Financial Advisors   $3,000
National Mining Assn Trade/Lobby Group $3,000
Occidental Petroleum Oil & Gas $3,000
ONEOK Inc Oil & Gas $3,000
Union Pacific Corp   $3,000
Amity Technology   $2,700
Arthur Co   $2,700
Arthur Companies   $2,700
Beverage Wholesalers Inc   $2,700
Carbon Tec Energy Energy Industry R&D $2,700
First International Bank   $2,700
Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson   $2,700
M International Defense $2,700
Puyallup Tribe of Indians   $2,700
Tmi Hospitality   $2,700
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons   $2,500
American Fuel & Petrochem Manufacturers Fuel Industry Trade Assn. $2,500
Arch Coal Coal Company $2,500
Associated Builders & Contractors   $2,500
Dakota PAC   $2,500
Deutsche Telekom   $2,500
Fredrikson & Byron   $2,500
Indep Tel & Telecom Alliance   $2,500
Marathon Oil Oil & Gas $2,500
Marathon Petroleum Oil & Gas $2,500
MDU Resources Group Energy Company $2,500
Monsanto Co Biotechnology $2,500
National Beer Wholesalers Assn   $2,500
National Football League   $2,500
Odney Advertising   $2,500
Phillips 66 Energy Company $2,500
Praxair Inc   $2,500
Professional Compounding Centers of America   $2,500
QEP Resources Oil & Gas $2,500
Society of Interventional Radiology   $2,500
Southern Co Energy Company $2,500
Textile Rental Services Assn of America   $2,500
UnitedHealth Group   $2,500

Key Deeds

May 12, 2016

Kevin Cramer, in his new position as energy adviser to Donald Trump's campaign, said that he was preparing at least two white papers on energy policy for Trump's upcoming address at an oil and gas conference in North Dakota later in May. [8]

Cramer has expressed support for a small carbon tax to replace the Clean Power Plan. He also said he may offer Trump advice on climate change that challenge Trumps assertions that it is a hoax promoted by the Democrats: 

He can do all that if he wants,” Cramer said of Trump’s climate position. “But my advice would be, while I’m a skeptic, as well, he is a product of political populism, and political populism believes that there needs [to be] some addressing of climate change.” [8]

With regards to the Clean Power Plan, Cramer said “I would still tell him, ‘Yeah, we need to stop and repeal the Clean Power Plan,’” Cramer said. “If in fact he wants a more carbon-restrained energy policy, he ought to work with real scientists and work with Congress to come up with a better one.”

My idea of a carbon tax would be to help fund clean fossil fuel research and development, not to fund the government, not to punish fossil fuel generation, not to manipulate fuel choice,” Cramer said. “Even a neutral, a revenue-neutral, carbon tax is inappropriate, in my view. But if we can have a very, very modest carbon tax to fund, again, the solution by utilizing fossil fuels like coal, I think even the industry would support that.”  [8]

According to Cramer, “I just want [Mr. Trump] to have a good general, high-level view and understanding of why an America-first energy policy should put states first. I want him to understand that we can have clean energy without having to get rid of fossil fuel (industry).” [7]

April 12, 2016

Kevin Cramer co-sponsored H.R. 4775 (“Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016”), [17] a bill Bloomberg writes is designed to “halt the EPA's new smog standards.” [18]

February 23, 2016

Kevin Cramer announced he was joining 34 members of the U.S. Senate and 170 House colleagues in filing an amicus brief (PDF) supporting a petition to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Pan Rule. [12]

September 9, 2014

Kevin Cramer arranged a congressional hearing to discuss the properties of Bakken crude. When Cramer first announced the hearing, he promised to bring together top scientists to discuss the issue, as he told 6:30 Point of View (video below): [19]

I want three good solid scientists… consultants apart from all of the politicians and the presidential appointees. And I’ve promised them a very fair thorough review of the data and the evidence and the information. So that we can, you know, answer definitively and scientifically what is the volatility, if you will, of Bakken crude. How does it compare to other crudes?” [20]

DeSmogBlog reported that none of the witnesses brought by Cramer were actually crude oil scientists: 

“So for a hearing with the goal of determining the characteristics of Bakken crude oil, the experts include two firefighters, one oil industry lobbyist, a banker with oil industry experience and one engineer who just happens to work for the firm that issued the report saying Bakken is no different from other crude oils and does not require stabilization to make it safe for rail transport.” [20]

Witnesses included:  [20]

  • Timothy P. Butters—deputy administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
  • Christopher Smith—political appointee and principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy at the Department of Energy. According to his official bio, prior to this position he worked for “two major international oil companies focused primarily on upstream business development and LNG trading, including three years negotiating production and transportation agreements.” Before that he was an investment banker with Citibank and JPMorgan.
  • Kari Cutting is vice president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, i.e. an oil industry lobbyist.
  • John Auers, executive vice president of Turner, Mason, & Company, is the only engineer at the hearing. However, his experience is not in the science of crude oil. According to his bio he is “experienced in facilities planning, computer operations, process control, refinery evaluations, refinery sales, and application of refinery linear programs.” His prior employer was Exxon.
  • Mark Zoanetti, deputy chief of special operations for the Syracuse Fire Department.
December, 2013
 
Kevin Cramer sponsored a bill that expedited hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) on public lands in the Bakken Shale basin, reported DeSmogBlog. On December 25, 2014, President Obama signed the bill into law. [21]
 
Co-Sponsors of the bill included:  [21]

The bill was dubbed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Streamlining Act, and is an amendment to Section 365 of the Bush-era 2005 Energy Policy Act. It creates offices in North Dakota and Montana to rubber stamp fracking permits on public lands in those states.  Desmogblog reports that The BLM Streamlining Act “[r]eplaces the Miles City, Montana field office with the Montana/Dakotas State Office,” creating an open season for fracking North Dakota's public lands. [27]

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 was known for the “Halliburton Loophole,” which exempted the fracking industry from the legal dictates of the Safe Drinking Water Act and made the chemicals in “fracking fluid” a trade secret. [21]

Kevin Cramer discussed the House version of the bill on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2013, referring to the BLM Streamlining Act as “rather benign bill with rather major ramifications.” Cramer also referred to North Dakota as the “perfect laboratory” for streamlining of permits on public lands, saying “the North Dakota experiment will be one people look back on and say 'That's the way to do it, that's the right way to do it.'” Video below. [28]

February, 2012

Kevin Cramer was interviewed by KNOX's Jarrod Thomas, where he discussed Cramer's own version of the “Climategate” conspiracy theory: [10]

These mandates and these wind farms are all based on this fraudulent science from the EPA, meaning their claim that CO2 is a pollutant and is causing global warming. I’m sure you’re familiar with one of the leading climate research centers in the world there at East Anglia University in England, the Hadley Research Centre. The director, Phil Jones, his emails, he admitted that he was falsifying temperature data. The reason he had to do is because was the data was showing the global climate is actually declining in temperature, temperatures were going down. He was overlaying higher temperatures on the real data to show that it was actually rising. We know the globe is cooling. Number one, we know that. So the idea that CO2 is somehow causing global warming is on its face fraudulent.” [10]

Listen to the full audio below:

January 1, 2010

Kevin Cramer signed the “No Climate Tax” pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the Institute for Liberty (IFL) , and the National Taxpayers Union (NTU). His pledge read as follows (image of signed copy below): [11]

“I, Kevin  Cramer, pledge to the taxpayers of the State of North Dakota and to the American People that I will oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.” [11]

Kevin Cramer No Climate Tax Pledge

Affiliations

Resources

  1. About,” Congressman Kevin Cramer (cramer.house.gov). Archived May 25, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hm86TMNU

  2. Jon Austin. “Trump the climate change denier? Republican hires top sceptic as energy advisor,” Daily Express, May 23, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  3. Erica Goode. “What Are Donald Trump’s Views on Climate Change? Some Clues Emerge,” The New York Times, May 20, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  4. National Environmental Scorecard: Representative Kevin Cramer,” League of Conservation Voters. Accessed May 25, 2016. Archived .xlsx on file at DeSmogBlog.

  5. Sarah Emerson. “Trump's Energy Adviser Is Dangerously Anti-Environment,” Motherboard, May 18, 2016. Archived May 25, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  6. Valerie Volcovici and Emily Flitter. “Trump taps climate change skeptic as energy adviser, pushes back on taxes,” Reuters, May 13, 2016. Archived May 24, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hm97qQ1v

  7. Kevin Cramer explains his energy policy paper for Trump,” Bismarck Tribune, May 21, 2016. Archived May 25, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hlzZXwsm

  8. Evan Lehmann. “CAMPAIGN 2016: Meet Donald Trump's new energy adviser,” E&E Publishing, May 13, 2016. Archived May 25, 2016. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6hmBMwh7c

  9. POLITICS: Former state energy regulator vows to fight Clean Power Plan from inside Congress,” E&E Publishing, May 26, 2015. Archived May 25, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hmGcVLkg

  10. AUDIO: Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) Believes Global Warming Is 'Fraudulent Science' To Promote Wind Farms,” Hill Heat, August 8, 2013. Archived May 25, 2016. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6hmEh1l8H

  11. “NoClimateTax.com Pledge” (PDF) NoClimateTax. Archived January 8, 2012. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  12. CRAMER JOINS AMICUS BRIEF TO OVERTURN EPA'S CLEAN POWER PLAN,” Cramer.house.gov, February 23, 2016. Archived May 25, 2016. Full Amicus Brief (.pdf) on file at DeSmogBlog. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6hmBnIOX1

  13. Justin Mikulka. “Safety of Citizens in Bomb Train Blast Zones in Hands of North Dakota Politicians,” DeSmogBlog, September 5, 2014.

  14. Kevin Cramer Republican (Elected 2013), ND House district 0,” Profile at MapLight. Accessed May 25, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  15. Ted Auch. “O&G Politics & Campaign Financing,” Fractracker Alliance, October 8, 2014. Archived May 25, 2016.

  16. Rep. Kevin Cramer: Top Industries,” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed May 25, 2016.

  17. Cosponsors: H.R.4775 - Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016,” Congress.gov. Accessed May 25, 2016. Archived. pdf on file at DeSmogBlog. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hmAXHrFD

  18. Mark Drajem. “Get your energy policy ideas to Kevin Cramer ASAP,” Bloomberg Government, May 16, 2016. Archived May 25, 2016. WebCite URL: http://www.webcitation.org/6hmAeayxv

  19. Subcommittee on Energy and Subcommittee on Oversight Joint Hearing - Bakken Petroleum: The Substance of Energy Independence,” Committee on  Science, Space, and Technology, September 9, 2014. Archived December 7, 2014.

  20. Justin Mikulka. “How Many Crude Oil Scientists Will Testify At Congressional Science Committee Hearing on Bakken Crude? Zero,” DeSmogBlog, September 8, 2014. 

  21. Steve Horn. “Days Before Casselton Oil Train Explosion, Obama Signed Bill Hastening Fracking Permits on ND Public Lands,” DeSmogBlog, January 7, 2014.

  22. Rep. Cynthia Marie Lummis: Top Industries, 2011-2012,” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed May 25, 2016.

  23. Rep. Cynthia Marie Lummis: Top Industries, 2013-2014,” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed May 25, 2016.

  24. Rep. Kristi Noem: Top Industries, 2011-2012,” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed May 25, 2016.

  25. Rep. Kristi Noem: Top Industries, 2013-2014,” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed May 25, 2016.

  26. Sen. Steven Daines: Top Industries, 2013-2014,” OpenSecrets.org. Accessed May 25, 2016.

  27. Bill Summary & Status  113th Congress (2013 - 2014)  S.244 CRS Summary,” The Library of Congress.  WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hm0FwPQi

  28. Congressman Cramer Speaks on Passage of H.R. 767,” YouTube Video uploaded by user Kevin Cramer, May 15, 2013.

Other Resources

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