Eleven republicans, twelve democrats, and one independent battled on Dec. 11 over the passing or killing of four bills created by students. All the members of the debate were dressed professionally just as if they were taking part of an actual congressional debate and the process was carried out realistically. It was also a portion of Dr. Abram Kaplan’s final exam for his ENVS-240 Environmental Politics and Decision Making class.
The 2012 Environmental debate went through stages of debating and voting. Amendments, for example, were proposed and then voted on. Once the amendments were clarified, the debate began on the bill itself, eventually ending on a vote for either passing or killing the bill. Originally there were twelve republicans so that there would be an odd number of members and no bill would end in ties. Unfortunately, one member could not attend and some bills did indeed end in a tie vote. In this situation, the bill would not pass.
Plenty of preparation was involved before the debate was enacted. Becca Jost, a democrat representing the state of New Jersey, mentioned how they had to first write bills on environmental topics and later split into small committees to vote on four out of the nine bills they had to review. Another committee made the final decision on which bills to use in the debate. Jost represented her state accurately since she mentioned at one point the effects of hurricane Sandy and why she needed to save her efforts for repairing the state. She was proud to say that her bill, formally named the Landfill Lifespan Extension Act of 2012 H.R. 726, survived the entire process and was debated amongst her peers in the final debate. The other three bills were the Sustainable use of Bluefin Tuna Act of 2012 H.R. 2922, the Fossil-to-renewable fuel subsidy repositioning act of 2012 H.R. 1662, and the Transportation Emission Reduction Act of 2012 H.R. 1806. The tuna and fossil bills passed whereas the landfill and emission bills were both tied 12-12.