Legislator Highlight: Rep. Ryan Costello

For years, leftist groups have strived to monopolize environmental conversations. The League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, and other left-leaning organizations have successfully employed environmental issues as means to further political divisions. These bitterly partisan groups promote stances on issues, such as immigration and health care policy, which are largely removed from conservation efforts. The League of Conservation Voters currently includes “family planning” as a factor in its scorecards and has referenced abortion votes to evaluate congressional members in the past. By engaging in these tactics, leftist groups are alienating conservatives from environmental conversations and are drawing attention away from the environment, which is the central issue they claim to fight for. The ACC represents a refreshing, noble exception in the world of environmental advocacy groups. We remain committed to promoting efficient, effective, conservative environmentalism and avoid engagement in unrelated hot button issues. We evaluate candidates and officeholders based on their backing of free market environmentalism, and this legislator highlight series will seek to recognize those who do so.

The first legislator in this series, Rep. Ryan Costello from Pennsylvania’s sixth district, is a strong and relentless advocate for common sense, conservative environmentalism. Costello entered the House of Representatives in 2015 and currently sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee. He is also a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus and Historic Preservation and National Park Caucuses. Notably, the congressman reinstated the Land Conservation Caucus, which is purposed with upholding protection of America’s invaluable open spaces. This brilliant initiative is important to our organization, as preserving public lands is a key component in the ACC’s platform.

At a recent Advanced Energy Economy, (AEE), conference, Rep. Costello effectively communicated his commitment to a free market, rather than command and control, approach to environmental issues. The congressman emphasized that “an innovation-first approach will allow America to cut emissions faster than any regulation-first approach. Clean energy is a one trillion dollar export opportunity that America can and should dominate.” Rep. Costello is exactly right; his comments align completely with the ACC’s stance on energy policy. Encouraging investment and innovation, as opposed to implementing crippling regulatory mandates, will lead to massive growth in the clean energy sector. Free market forces will pave the path leading to a new era in American energy, one that will encompass competition among a variety of clean and sustainable sources.   

In short, the ACC applauds Rep. Costello’s efforts to promote a conservative approach to environmental issues. With a policy realm dominated by leftist groups that create division rather than propose solutions, the congressman’s initiatives are especially moving. We need more people like Rep. Costello in Washington, D.C. so that we can continue to change the narrative and offer alternatives that will lead to a new era of effective conservation.  

Ronnie Thompson