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No Pass For GOP Senate on Environment

Conservation groups give Congress an "F" on the environment and say the first 100 days in the U.S. Senate was a prime example of that failure. Credit: C-Span.
Conservation groups give Congress an "F" on the environment and say the first 100 days in the U.S. Senate was a prime example of that failure. Credit: C-Span.
April 20, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine – Environmental groups in Maine and across the nation are giving Congress a failing grade on the environment.

Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, says that failing grade especially is true for the first 100 days in the U.S. Senate under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"It's an F from our perspective,” Karpinski stresses. “Polluters and their allies in Congress who invested over $700 million in this new Congress are doing all they can to try to wreck our public health protections and destroy the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act."

Republicans in Congress say they are trying to promote economic growth by easing regulations, but Karpinski says GOP lawmakers are simply putting up roadblocks, trying to prevent agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency from protecting air and water.

Roger Stephenson, a senior outreach consultant for the Union of Concerned Scientists, says voters in Maine also need to keep an eye on efforts to roll back climate change protections at the state level.

"I think there's general concern over sliding away from assertive renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs,” he maintains. “The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is under attack in Maine."

Stephenson says groups such as Americans for Prosperity are holding major sway over lawmakers both in New England and Congress when it comes to helping big corporations avoid important environmental protections.

"It's been a single but well-funded voice against common sense energy efficiency programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative," he says.

Americans for Prosperity lists unburdening employers from regulatory barriers as one of its key goals on the environment.

Stephenson says lawmakers need to bone up on the importance of common sense regulations for protecting water and air quality.


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME