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Lincoln Chafee on Environment

Independent RI Governor; previously Republican Senator (1999-2007)


We believe in environmental stewardship

We love this land--literally. We believe in environmental stewardship--protecting our air and our water. Because despite what big business and this Republican Party would have you believe, destroying these precious resources will cost us far more in the future than preserving them now.
Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention speech , Sep 6, 2012

Committee vote killed Bush's "Clear Skies" initiative

The basis of opposition was that Clear Skies was a "rollback" of existing Clean Air provisions. This was simply not true. Opponents amusingly called Clear Skies "Orwellian." The bill proposed the 1st-ever cap to reduce mercury emissions from the power plants by 70%, yet [groups like the Sierra Club, or "Big Green" as I call them collectively] said it would allow more mercury to go into the air. Go figure. Clear Skies opponents knew that it would be more difficult to pass greenhouse gas regulations IN ADDITION TO a 3-pollutant bill. Because of this, they held it hostage, making it very clear that politics, not the environment, was the priority. Real and meaningful results for air quality were shamefully sacrificed for worthless rhetoric.

In March 2005, the bill unfortunately failed by a 9-9 tie vote in committee, thanks chiefly to Senator Lincoln Chafee, who went on to lose his Republican-held seat in the Senate despite his calculated opposition to appease the Big Green machine.

Source: The Greatest Hoax, by James Inhofe, p. 52 , Feb 28, 2012

2000: Cleanup abandoned urban brownfields

After seeing the postelection Bush-Cheney agenda after the 2000 election, I wrote a letter to Dick Cheney as a fair warning:

Progress on environmental issues could do much to enhance the new administration's program, and a first step could be enactment of legislation I have sponsored to advance the cleanup of abandoned urban "brownfields," both to speed the redevelopment of these properties and to preserve the environment. There is wide bipartisan support for this legislation and I hope it can be made part of your agenda. In addition, I hope the new administration will be open to proposals to reduce the country's reliance on foreign oil, through energy conservation and greater investment in mass transit.

Source: Against the Tide, by Sen. Lincoln Chafee, p. 15-16 , Apr 1, 2008

Voted YES on including oil & gas smokestacks in mercury regulations.

A joint resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 15, 2005, relating to the removal of coal- and oil-fired electric generating units from the list of major sources of hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The EPA's Clean Air Mercury Rule:
Reference: EPA's Clean Air Mercury Rule; Bill S J Res 20 ; vote number 2005-225 on Sep 13, 2005

Voted YES on confirming Gale Norton as Secretary of Interior.

Vote to confirm the nomination of Gale Norton as Secretary of Interior. [Ms. Norton generally favors conservative or libertarian stances on the environment.]
Reference: Bill Confirmation vote ; vote number 2001-6 on Jan 30, 2001

Reduce liability for hazardous waste cleanup.

Chafee co-sponsored an amendment to CERCLA:

Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR1831 on May 15, 2001

Supports grants for brownfields remediation.

Chafee adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership agenda item:

H.R. 2941 Brownfields Redevelopment Enhancement Act.
Republican Main Street Partnership Congresswomen Marge Roukema (NJ), Sue Kelly (NY), and Melissa Hart (PA) as well as Congressman Paul Gillmor (PA) have introduced legislation providing a new source of funding for improving former industrial sites. H.R. 2941 reauthorizes the Brownfields Remediation Grant Program as well as creating a new loan program for brownfields redevelopment. The pilot program encourages cities to tap private loans for civic improvements by using the federal grants as collateral. The bill allows for Community Development Block Grants to be used in industrial site clean up as well.

Source: Republican Main Street Partnership Legislative Agenda 02-RMSP2 on May 24, 2002

Make EPA into a Cabinet department.

Chafee adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership agenda item:

H.R. 2438/H.R. 2694 Department of Environmental Protection Act.
Republican Main Street Partnership members Sherwood Boehlert (NY) and Steve Horn (CA) each have introduced legislation that would elevate the position of Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to that of cabinet level. Initially, the EPA served as a regulatory agency, but as a result of numerous statutes enacted by Congress, the agency's jurisdiction has swelled. Each bill would redesignate the EPA as the Department of Environmental Protection. RMSP supports the efforts of Congressman Vern Ehlers to include a deputy administrator for science within the department.

Source: Republican Main Street Partnership Legislative Agenda 02-RMSP3 on May 24, 2002

Rated 79% by the LCV, indicating pro-environment votes.

Chafee scores 79% 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

EPA must do better on mercury clean-up.

Chafee signed a letter from 45 Senators to EPA

To: Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Dear Administrator Leavitt:

We are writing to urge you to take prompt and effective action to clean up mercury pollution from power plants. The EPA’s current proposals on mercury fall far short of what the law requires, and they fail to protect the health of our children and our environment. We ask you to carry out the requirements of the Clean Air Act to protect our nation from toxic mercury contamination.

On January 30, 2004, EPA proposed two alternative rules to address mercury emissions. Unfortunately, both of these proposals fail to meet the Clean Air Act directives for cleaning up mercury. EPA's proposals permit far more mercury pollution, and for years longer, than the Clean Air Act allows.

The toxicity of mercury has been proven time and again by scientists around the world. The Agency's own scientists just released a study finding that approximately 630,000 infants were born in the US in the 12-month period, 1999-2000, with blood mercury levels higher than what is considered safe. This is a doubling of previous estimates.

The newest scientific studies show that controlling mercury emissions works. As we saw in Florida, sharp reductions in mercury pollution are mirrored by reductions in nearby fish populations. A study in northern Wisconsin indicated that reductions in the input of mercury from air corresponded with marked reductions in mercury fish tissue levels in the 1990s.

As the Administrator of the EPA, you have the legal authority and the responsibility to address mercury emissions and protect public health. We do not believe that EPA's current proposals are sufficient or defensible. We urge you to withdraw the entire proposed rule package and re-propose a rule for adequate public comment that meets the terms of the 1998 settlement agreement and is promulgated by the December 15, 2004 deadline.

Source: Letter from 45 Senators to EPA 04-SEN1 on Apr 1, 2004

Focus on results, not regulation.

Chafee adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership issue stance:

Source: Republican Main Street Partnership Issue Paper: Environment 98-RMSP1 on Sep 9, 1998

Other governors on Environment: Lincoln Chafee on other issues:
RI Gubernatorial:
Donald Carcieri
RI Senatorial:
Jack Reed
Mark Zaccaria
Sheldon Whitehouse

Election 2013:
NJ-R: Chris Christie (won)
NJ-D: Barbara Buono (lost)
VA-R: Bob McDonnell(Retiring)
VA-R: Ken Cuccinelli (lost)
VA-D: Terry McAuliffe (won)

Gubernatorial Debates 2014:
AL: Bentley(R) vs.Griffith(D)
AR: Ross(D) vs.Hutchinson(R) vs.Griffin(R,Lt.Gov.)
AZ: Riggs(R) vs.DuVal(D) vs.Mealer(I)
CA: Brown(D) vs.Kashkari(R)
CO: Hickenlooper(D) vs.Beauprez(R) vs.Tancredo(R) vs.Hess(L)
CT: Malloy(D) vs.Foley(R) vs.Walker(R,Lt.Gov.)
FL: Scott(R) vs.Crist(D)
GA: Deal(R) vs.Carter(D)
HI: Abercrombie(D) vs.Aiona(R)
IA: Branstad(R) vs.Hoefling(R) vs.Hatch(D)
MA: Coakley(D) vs.Grossman(D) vs.Berwick(D) vs.Baker(R)
ME: LePage(R) vs.Michaud(D) vs.Cutler(I)
MI: Snyder(R) vs.Schauer(D)
NM: Martinez(R) vs.King(D)
NY: Cuomo(D) vs.Astorino(R) vs.Hawkins(G) vs.Teachout(D) vs.Hochul(D,Lt.Gov.)
OK: Fallin(R) vs.Dorman(D)
PA: Corbett(R) vs.Wolf(D) vs.Schwartz(D,lost primary) vs.Critz(D,Lt.Gov.,lost primary)
Up for re-election 2014:
AK-R: Sean Parnell
AL-R: Robert Bentley
CA-D: Jerry Brown
CO-D: John Hickenlooper
CT-D: Dan Malloy
FL-R: Rick Scott
GA-R: Nathan Deal
HI-D: Neil Abercrombie
IA-R: Terry Branstad
ID-R: Butch Otter
IL-D: Pat Quinn
KS-R: Sam Brownback
ME-R: Paul LePage
MI-R: Rick Snyder
MN-D: Mark Dayton
NH-D: Maggie Hassan
NM-R: Susana Martinez
NV-R: Brian Sandoval
NY-D: Andrew Cuomo
OH-R: John Kasich
OK-R: Mary Fallin
OR-D: John Kitzhaber
PA-R: Tom Corbett
SC-R: Nikki Haley
SD-R: Dennis Daugaard
TN-R: Bill Haslam
VT-D: Peter Shumlin
WI-R: Scott Walker
WY-R: Matt Mead
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Local Issues
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty

Term-Limited or Retiring 2014:
AR-D: Mike Beebe
AZ-R: Jan Brewer
MA-D: Deval Patrick
MD-D: Martin O'Malley
RI-I: Linc Chafee
TX-R: Rick Perry

 

Page last updated: Jul 12, 2014