RI-Sen: Chafee Rubber Stamps Bush EPA Appointment
by Scott Shields, Wed Apr 26, 2006 at 12:17:09 PM EDT
This would be funny if it weren't so sad. Last week, we learned that the Sierra Club had decided to endorse Republican incumbent Lincoln Chafee over one of his Democratic rivals. On Monday, Kos followed up that story with the mounting bad news that The League of Conservation Voters had joined with them to endorse Chafee as well. Each organization had kind words for the Republican Senator.
We need more Republicans like Senator Chafee and we will continue to praise those who, like him, stand up for the environment because they know it is the right thing to do.
Senator Chafee is a top environmental leader in Congress, fighting every day for the health, quality of life and pocketbooks of Rhode Island families, willing to stand up to big corporate polluters, and working tirelessly to protect our open spaces and wildlife for future generations.
Markos thoroughly dismantled the pro-Chafee cases from these myopic environmental groups, highlighting the fact that Chafee's support for the Republican leadership in the Senate far outweighs his votes on pro-environmental policies, especially with control of the Senate in the balance. He also pointed out that Chafee has voted to confirm Bush's anti-environment judges, something unreflected in his environmental scorecards.
Unfortunately, it's become even more clear that these endorsements are going to leave egg on the faces of the Sierra Club and LCV. Last week, those two organizations, along with eleven other advocacy groups, issued a letter"urging the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to oppose the confirmation of William Wehrum to be Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)." Today, according to CQ.com's Midday Update, Lincoln Chafee ignored that letter and voted yes for Wehrum's confirmation. The vote broke down along party lines, with Chafee siding with his fellow Republicans.
The environmental blog Gristmill defended the Chafee endorsement, writing that "Chafee has proven instrumentally effective at blocking some of Bush's environmental madness, but just as much he serves an important symbolic role." It made sense to endorse him, they reasoned, especially since he could be counted on for pro-environment votes. Such as... uh... rejecting EPA nominees like William Wehrum.