Sherrod Brown on Environment
Democratic Sr Senator; previously Representative (OH-13)
Voted YES on protecting ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.
Whitehouse Amdt. No. 803 to S.Amdt. 799 to S. 601 (Water Resources Development Act of 2013): To create the National Endowment for the Oceans to promote the protection and conservation of United States ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Mr. WHITEHOUSE: This measure was part of the RESTORE Act, [but] this piece of it fell out of the bargain. If you supported the RESTORE Act, you have already supported this bill. If you believe that deals should be deals in the Senate, then you should support this bill. It is very important that we as a body support this bill. It does not create a single extra bureaucracy or person. It works within the existing government, and it adds no funding.
MississippiRiverDelta.org Summary of RESTORE Act: The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) dedicates 80% of all
Clean Water Act penalties paid by those responsible for the 2010 gulf oil disaster to Gulf Coast restoration.
Proponent's press release supporting Yes vote: The National Endowment for the Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes Act would provide steady funding that universities, non-profit organizations, and government agencies can count on every year to support research and restoration projects. It would be funded primarily by dedicating 12.5% of revenues from offshore energy development, including oil, gas, and renewable energy. Revenue is generated through offshore lease sales and production based royalty payments. Funds from the Endowment would be distributed through a competitive grant program to fund projects to restore habitat, manage fisheries, plan for sustainable coastal development, enhance ocean monitoring and research activities, acquire coastal properties for preservation, and relocate critical coastal infrastructure.
Reference: National Endowment for the Oceans;
Bill S.Amdt. 803
; vote number 13-SV116
on May 8, 2013
Voted YES on $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers program.
Congressional Summary:Emergency supplemental appropriations of $2 billion for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Program.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. OBEY (D, WI-7): The cash for clunkers program has proven even more wildly popular than its strongest supporters had predicted. Just last month, Congress passed the program, which provided up to $4,500 if you trade in your old gas guzzler for a new car that gets better mileage. That was done in the hopes of spurring some new car sales and encouraging people to be a little more environmentally friendly. We provided $1 billion in the supplemental to get it going, enough for about 250,000 sales--which was just about exhausted in one week. This bill transfers $2 billion from the Department of Energy's Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee program, which doesn't expect to award funding until late next year.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. LEWIS (R, CA-41):
In the majority's haste to slam legislation with no time for consideration or amendments, we are now seeing the effects of such shortsighted martial law tactics.
Senator Feinstein tried to negotiate some changes to improve the program but was told that it was this way or the highway. Not one hearing on the Cash for Clunkers program, not one hearing on how the first billion dollars has been spent, not one hearing on how much money the program will need to get through the fiscal year.
Many of my colleagues will say, This is a great program, and it is necessary for the revitalization of the car industry. I'm not really going to argue with those goals. However, are we sure this program is working like it's supposed to? I don't think so. This program has only been up and running 1 week. If that is how the government is going to handle billion-dollar programs affecting all Americans, I ask, Whatever will we do if the administration takes control of our health care system?
Reference: Cash for Clunkers bill;
Bill H.R. 3435
; vote number 2009-S270
on Aug 6, 2009
Voted NO on prohibiting eminent domain for use as parks or grazing land.
To prohibit the involuntary acquisition of farmland & grazing land by government for parks, open space, or similar purposes. Exceptions include takings for use by:
- public utility
- road or other right of way
- an aqueduct or pipeline
- a prison or hospital
- national disaster
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. CRAIG: "Eminent domain was elevated greatly as an issue following a highly controversial 2005 Supreme Court decision known as Kelo vs. The City of New London. Since that decision, we as a nation have allowed state & local governments to utilize eminent domain to force landowners to yield their property to private development. Farmers and ranchers in particular have become vulnerable to state and local governments taking their property for economic development or open space designations. My amendment is a very targeted amendment. It addresses only cases in which private working agricultural land is taken and turned into public open space."
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. HARKIN: This amendment doesn't reach the Kelo decision [because Kelo was about taking open space for private development]. Under this amendment they can still do that.
CRAIG. Oh, I disagree totally. We reach a portion of Kelo that is now most frequently impacting farms and ranches, and that is open space for open space.
HARKIN. The amendment has the Federal Government telling a local government what it can and cannot do within its own jurisdiction.
Letter from the National Conference of State Legislatures & US Conference of Mayors:
"This amendment is not only ill-advised, but it is also unconstitutional [because it] preempts state & local land use laws. The 5th Amendment expressly permits the taking of private property for public use provided just compensation is provided to the owner. The power of eminent domain has always been, and should remain, a state and local power."
Reference: Craig Amendment to Farm Bill Extension Act;
Bill S.Amdt. 3640 to H.R. 2419
; vote number 2007-429
on Dec 13, 2007
Voted YES on increasing AMTRAK funding by adding $214M to $900M.
Voting YES on this amendment would restore $214 million in funding for AMTRAK, bringing the total annual expenditure for AMTRAK to $1.114 billion. The chairman of the Railroad Subcommittee explained the increase as follows:
Opponents of the amendment say that it would increase funding for Amtrak by gutting and eliminating critical programs, including safety programs, resulting in reductions in force at several agencies.
Reference: Department of Transportation appropriations;
Bill HR 5576 Amendment 1008
; vote number 2006-263
on Jun 13, 2006
- Unlike aviation, highways and transit, there is no dedicated funding for investing in our Nation's passenger rail service. This amendment restores $214 million to the Amtrak account, taking it to $1.114 billion, which is still about $300 million less than we had during the course of last year's discussion.
- Last year the President sent up a budget of zero for Amtrak. We had an amendment process that we went through this time. This time we are up to $900 million in the bill [without this amendment].
- But if you look at that $900 million, there is only $500 million for capital expenditures, out of which has to come a debt service of $280 million, which only leaves $220 million for the capital needs of this country for Amtrak, for passenger rail.
- There is nothing for
operation, and I know that the response to that is going to be that there are some incentive grants in the bill.
Voted NO on barring website promoting Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.
An amendment to prohibit funding the "Yucca Mountain Youth Zone" website. Voting YES indicates opposition to using Yucca Mountain as the national nuclear waste repository. The amendment's sponsor says:
I would like to introduce the American people to the newest member of the Bush administration's energy policy team. His name is Yucca Mountain Johnny. He is the star of the Energy Department's Yucca Mountain Youth Zone Web site devoted to brainwashing school children into believing that burying the Nation's nuclear garbage 90 miles from Los Vegas is safe.
- The Web site features games and activities to make high level nuclear waste fun. High level nuclear waste is not fun. It is dangerous, and the Department of Energy should not be using taxpayer money for a propaganda tool.
- I would probably not be as upset with Joe Camel, excuse me, Yucca Mountain Johnny, if there was a more balanced approach on this Web site. It doesn't talk about the potential of accidents or being an inviting target for
terrorists. It doesn't talk about the fact that Yucca Mountain is in a volcanic and seismic zone area. It doesn't say anything about the existence of safer and cheaper alternatives.
- Among Yucca Mountain Johnny's witty sayings, he says, "The worst mistake is never making one." Well, Yucca Mountain is a mistake. This Web site is a mistake. Yucca Mountain Johnny is a mistake, and to promote the proposed nuclear waste repository to our children under the guise of education is a big mistake.
The amendment's opponents respond:
Reference: Energy and water development appropriations bill;
Bill HR 5427 Amendment 919
; vote number 2006-200
on May 24, 2006
- To my knowledge, nobody has questioned the accuracy or truth of what is on the Web site. My guess is that most of the children that access this website use it for term papers and papers in their classrooms that they have to do on nuclear power.
- Whether you oppose or support the repository, we should at least want the facts out to our children and adults who wish to use that same Web site about just what exactly it is.
Voted NO on deauthorizing "critical habitat" for endangered species.
To amend and reauthorize the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to provide greater results conserving and recovering listed species, and for other purposes, including:
Reference: Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act;
Bill HR 3824
; vote number 2005-506
on Sep 29, 2005
- Repealing the authority to designate an area as “critical habitat” for an endangered species
- Requiring the Secretary of the Interior to create “recovery plans” within two years of classifying species as endangered or threatened
- Allowing recovery agreements with private citizens whose land may be part of a species recovery plan
- Issuing grants to support private property owners who voluntarily help to increase the number of endangered or threatened species on their private land
- Providing compensation in an amount no less than fair market value to private landowners who have had regulation imposed upon their land
- Calling upon the Secretary to submit an annual cost analysis of the previous years spending to Congress, including the amount of Federal and State funds used for each species
Voted NO on speeding up approval of forest thinning projects.
Vote to adopt the conference report on the bill that would reduce and expedite (speed up) environmental and judicial reviews of forest thinning projects. The bill would authorize $760 million a year from fiscal 2004 to fiscal 2008. The Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service would have the authorization to remove vegetation that could cause or assist the spread of wildfires, disease or insect infestation. All forest thinning project would come after public meetings had been held. Forest thinning would be restricted to land that is within a 1.5 miles of at-risk communities , high-risk land that serves as a home for threatened and endangered species, high-risk land in the area of municipal water sources and and high-risk land that is specifically susceptible to disease or insect infestation.
Reference: Healthy Forests Restoration Act;
Bill HR 1904
; vote number 2003-656
on Nov 21, 2003
Prohibits commercial logging on Federal public lands.
Brown co-sponsored prohibiting commercial logging on Federal public lands
Congress finds the following:
- Forest Service polls show that a strong majority of the American people think that natural resources on Federal public lands should not be made available to produce consumer goods.
- Recreation and tourism in the National Forest System creates over 30 times more jobs, and generates over 30 times more income, than commercial logging on national forests.
- Timber cut from Federal public lands comprises less than 5% of US annual timber consumption.
- The vast majority of America's original pristine forests have been logged, and what little primary forest that remains exists almost entirely on public lands.
- It is in the interests of the American people and the international community to protect and restore native biodiversity in our Federal public lands for its inherent benefits.
- Commercial logging has many indirect costs which are very significant, but not easily measured, such as flooding damage, damage to
the salmon fishing industry; and harm to the recreation and tourism industries.
EXCERPTS OF BILL:
- Prohibits commercial logging and timber sales (with specified exceptions) on Federal public lands, with a two-year phase-out for existing contracts.
- Provides for payment of relinquished contracts.
- Establishes a National Heritage Restoration Corps to restore (and monitor) such lands to their natural pre-logging condition.
- Sets forth provisions respecting forest fire and hazardous fuel reduction.
- Provides for worker retraining of eligible persons whose jobs have been lost due to terminated timber and logging contracts.
- Sets forth fund allocation provisions, including amounts for an Environmental Protection Agency investigation of non-wood paper and construction alternatives.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to House Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness; never came to a vote.
Source: National Forest Protection and Restoration Act (H.R.1494) 01-HR1494 on Apr 4, 2001
Reduce liability for hazardous waste cleanup.
Brown co-sponsored an amendment to CERCLA:
Title: To provide relief for small businesses from liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). Summary:
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR1831 on May 15, 2001
- Amends CERCLA to provide that persons shall be liable for response [cleanup] costs as non-owners or operators only if the total of material containing a hazardous substance was greater than 110 gallons of liquid material or 200 pounds of solid material.
- Applies this exemption only to activities taking place before April 1, 2001.
- Exempts a person from liability for response costs for municipal solid waste (MSW) as a non-owner or operator if the person is an owner, operator, or lessee of residential property from which all of the person's MSW was generated, or a certain small business or small charitable tax-exempt organization that generated all its MSW.
- Makes nongovernmental entities that commence a contribution action liable to the defendant for all reasonable costs of defending the action if the defendant is not liable based on the above-described exemptions.
- Adds to the list of parties eligible for de minimis [inconsequential] final settlements certain persons and businesses that demonstrate an inability or limited ability to pay response costs.
Rated 95% by the LCV, indicating pro-environment votes.
Brown scores 95% by the LCV on environmental issues
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is the political voice of the national environmental movement and the only organization devoted full-time to shaping a pro-environment Congress and White House. We run tough and effective campaigns to defeat anti-environment candidates, and support those leaders who stand up for a clean, healthy future for America. Through our National Environmental Scorecard and Presidential Report Card we hold Congress and the Administration accountable for their actions on the environment. Through regional offices, we build coalitions, promote grassroots power, and train the next generation of environmental leaders.
The 2003 National Environmental Scorecard provides objective, factual information about the environmental voting records of all Members of the first session of the 108th Congress. This Scorecard represents the consensus of experts from 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations who selected the key votes on which Members of Congress should be graded. LCV scores votes on the most important issues of the year, including environmental health and safety protections, resource conservation, and spending for environmental programs. Scores are calculated by dividing the number of pro-environment votes by the total number of votes scored. The votes included in this Scorecard presented Members of Congress with a real choice on protecting the environment and help distinguish which legislators are working for environmental protection. Except in rare circumstances, the Scorecard excludes consensus action on the environment and issues on which no recorded votes occurred.
Source: LCV website 03n-LCV on Dec 31, 2003
Grants for beach water pollution under Clean Water Act.
Brown co-sponsored grants for beach water pollution under Clean Water Act
Beach Protection Act of 2008 - Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (popularly known as the Clean Water Act) to include among eligible grant activities the development and implementation of programs for source tracking, sanitary surveys, and prevention efforts to address the identified sources of beach water pollution.
Requires grant recipients to identify:
- the use of a rapid testing method;
- measures for communication within 24 hours of the results of a water sample concerning pollutants to specified officials with authority to require the prevention or treatment of the sources of beach water pollution;
- measures to develop and implement a beach water pollution source identification and tracking program for the coastal recreation waters that are not meeting applicable water quality standards for pathogens; and
- a publicly accessible and searchable global information system database with information updated within 24 hours of its availability, organized by beach and with defined standards, sampling plan, monitoring protocols, sampling results, and number and cause of beach closing and advisory days.
- Legislative Outcome: Related bills: H.R.2537, S.1506. Senate Reports: 110-414.
Source: Beach Protection Act (S.2844) 08-S2844 on Apr 10, 2008
Inter-state compact for Great Lakes water resources.
Brown co-sponsored inter-state compact for Great Lakes water resources
A joint resolution expressing the approval of Congress to an inter-state compact regarding water resources. In the Great Lakes--St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact the Congress finds that:
Source: Great Lakes Water Resources Compact (S.J.RES.45) 08-SJR45 on Jul 23, 2008
- The Waters of the Basin are precious public natural resources shared and held in trust by the States;
- The Waters of the Basin are interconnected and part of a single hydrologic system;
- The Waters of the Basin can concurrently serve multiple uses. Such multiple uses include industrial, agriculture, mining, navigation, energy development and production, recreation, and the maintenance of fish and wildlife habitat.
- Future Diversions and Consumptive Uses of Basin Water resources have the potential to significantly impact the environment and economy.
Purposes of the inter-state compact: To act together to protect, conserve, restore, improve and effectively manage the Waters and Water Dependent Natural Resources of the Basin under appropriate arrangements for intergovernmental cooperation and consultation;
- To remove causes of present and future controversies;
- To promote interstate and State-Provincial comity; and,
- To promote an Adaptive Management approach to the conservation and management of Basin Water resources, which provides adjustments for the uncertainties in scientific knowledge concerning the Basin's Waters and Water Dependent Natural Resources.
- Legislative Outcome: Passed Senate by Unanimous Consent.
Make tax deduction permanent for conservation easements.
Brown signed H.R.1831 & S.812
Amends the Internal Revenue Code to make permanent the tax deduction for charitable contributions by individuals and corporations of real property interests for conservation purposes. Known in the Senate as the Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act of 2009.
Source: Conservation Easement Incentive Act 09-HR1831 on Mar 31, 2009
Prohibit invasive research on great apes.
Brown signed Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act
The Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act prohibits:
- conducting invasive research on great apes
- possessing, maintaining, or housing a great ape for the purpose of conducting invasive research
- using federal funds to conduct such research on a great ape or to support an entity conducting invasive research either within or outside of the US
- knowingly breeding a great ape for the purpose of conducting or facilitating such research
- transporting or selling a great ape in interstate or foreign commerce for conducting or facilitating such research.
Source: S.810&HR1513 11-S0810 on Apr 13, 2011
- Defines "great ape" as any chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, orangutan, or gibbon.
Defines "invasive research" as research that may cause death, injury, pain, distress, fear, or trauma to great apes, including drug testing or exposure to a substance or isolation, or social deprivation.
- Requires the permanent retirement of all great apes that are owned by the federal government and that are being maintained in any facility for the purpose of breeding for, holding for, or conducting invasive research.
- Sets forth civil penalties for violations of this Act.
- Establishes in the Treasury the Great Ape Sanctuary System Fund to be administered for construction, renovation, and operation of the sanctuary system for surplus chimpanzees.
Prohibits breeding or possessing Big Cat species.
Brown co-sponsored Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act
Source: H4122/S3547 12-HR4122 on Mar 9, 2012
- Prohibits any person from importing, exporting, transporting, selling, receiving, acquiring, purchasing, breeding, possessing, or owning any prohibited wildlife species (current law prohibits importing, exporting, transporting, selling, receiving, acquiring, or purchasing such a species in interstate or foreign commerce).
- Defines "breeding" as facilitating the reproduction of prohibited wildlife species (any live species of lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, or cougar or any hybrid of such species) for commercial use.
- Defines a list of exemptions to such prohibition by authorized persons.
- Includes in the list of persons authorized to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, breed, possess, own, or purchase such species a wildlife sanctuary or a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; and a person that is in possession of animals of such species that were born before the date of this Act's enactment.
Rated 60% by HSLF, indicating a mixed voting record on animal welfare.
Brown scores 60% by the Humane Society on animal rights issues
112th Mid-Term Humane Scorecard: The Humane Society Legislative Fund has posted the final version of the 2011 Humane Scorecard, where you can track the performance of your federal lawmakers on key animal protection issues during last year. We rated legislators based on their voting behavior on measures such as agribusiness subsidies, lethal predator control, and the Endangered Species Act; their cosponsorship of priority bills on puppy mills, horse slaughter, animal fighting, and chimps in research; their support for funding the enforcement of animal welfare laws; and their leadership on animal protection.
All of the priority bills whose cosponsorships we're counting enjoy strong bipartisan support; in the House, each of the four now has more than 150 cosponsors.
The Humane Scorecard is not a perfect measuring tool, but creating some reasonable yardstick and allowing citizens to hold lawmakers accountable is central to our work. When the Humane Scorecard comes out each year, it helps clarify how the animal protection movement is doing geographically, by party affiliation, and in other categories. It helps us chart our course for animals by seeing where we have been effective, and where we need to improve.
Source: HSLF website 12-HumaneS on Jan 13, 2012
Strengthen prohibitions against animal fighting.
Brown co-sponsored strengthening prohibitions against animal fighting
Sen. CANTWELL. I reintroduce today the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007. This legislation has won the unanimous approval of the Senate several times, but unfortunately has not yet reached the finish line.
There is no doubt, animal fighting is terribly cruel. Dogs and roosters are drugged to make them hyper-aggressive and forced to keep fighting even after suffering severe injuries such as punctured eyes and pierced lungs. It's all done for "entertainment" and illegal gambling. Some dogfighters steal pets to use as bait for training their dogs, while others allow trained fighting dogs to roam neighborhoods and endanger the public.
The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act will strengthen current law by making the interstate transport of animals for the purpose of fighting a felony and increase the punishment to three years of jail time. This is necessary because the current misdemeanor penalty has proven ineffective--considered a "cost of doing business"
by those in the animal fighting industry which continues unabated nationwide.
These enterprises depend on interstate commerce, as evidenced by the animal fighting magazines that advertise and promote them. Our bill also makes it a felony to move cockfighting implements in interstate or foreign commerce. These are razor-sharp knives known as "slashers" and ice pick-like gaffs designed exclusively for cockfights and attached to the birds' legs for fighting.
This is long overdue legislation. It's time to get this felony animal fighting language enacted. It's time for Congress to strengthen the federal law so that it can provide as a meaningful deterrent against animal fighting. Our legislation does not expand the federal government's reach into a new area, but simply aims to make current law more effective. It is explicitly limited to interstate and foreign commerce, so it protects states' rights in the two states where cockfighting is still allowed.
Source: Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act (S.261/H.R.137) 2007-S261 on Jan 4, 2007
Page last updated: Jun 11, 2018