Joseph Lieberman on Environment
Democratic Jr Senator (CT), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004
Enforce existing laws & reduce threats to air & water
Q: How will you undo the damage that the Bush Administration has done to the environment?
A: George Bush has been the worst environmental president in our history-much worse than his father. Environmental protection has always been a passion and
priority of mine. That means enforcing the environmental laws that are on the books now, protecting our national open space and wildlife treasures and protecting people's health from the threat of environmental pollution in the air and the water.
Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A
Nov 3, 2003
Texas is last in social programs; but first in pollution
Lieberman called Bush’s environmental record “terrible.” Charging that Texas lagged behind most states in education and health care, Liberman said, “They’re not last in everything. They’re first in industrial pollution in America.”
Gore and Lieberman
carried out the second day of a bus caravan in the Great Lakes region. They drove through the heart of the state, holding rallies in Green Bay and Waukesha, and occasionally pausing in small towns and rural junctions to greet pockets of supporters.
Source: Curtis Wilkie, Boston Globe, p. A16
Oct 31, 2000
Religion is the foundation of environmentalism
Once again citing religion as a foundation for policy, Lieberman said today that he & Gore would be good stewards of nature, while Bush would spoil it. “For Al Gore and me, this begins, if you will, by our faith,” Lieberman said. “If you believe in God,
I think it’s hard not to be an environmentalist, because you see the environment as the work of God.” Lieberman referred to the biblical story of the Garden of Eden, where “it said that God put Adam and Eve there to work the garden, but also to guard it.
Source: Richard Perez-Pena, NY Times
Oct 19, 2000
Continue strong commitment to clean air, water, land
I will continue the work we have done together to keep our air, water and land clean. We are going to continue to work to make sure that a child can drink a glass of water, or a
father can fish in a stream, or a family can go to a park, without having to worry that their health and safety is at risk.
Source: Speech to the Democrat Convention
Aug 16, 2000
Strengthen CAA; protect ANWR; create more national parks
Lieberman’s accomplishments includeProtecting the Environment:
Source: Lieberman’s Senate.gov web site
Aug 7, 2000
- Strengthening Clean Air standards and cracking down on illegal polluters
- Leading the fight against extreme “regulatory reform” legislation that would undercut our
ability to protect natural resources
- Fighting to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska from oil drilling; Creating Connecticut’s first national park at Weir Farm; Promoting national wildlife refuges along the Connecticut River
Advocates for robust environmental protections
Few responsibilities as a US Senator are more sacrosanct than the duty to safeguard the Earth’s natural environment. Lieberman has become one of Congress’ strongest advocates for robust environmental protections. Lieberman has actively worked
to shape legislation to protect the nation’s air and water quality, preserve open spaces, and conserve natural resources. He also has led the fight in the Senate to block attempted rollbacks of environmental safeguards.
Source: Senate web site, “Issue Focus: Environment”
Aug 7, 2000
Strengthen Clean Air Act & Clean Energy Act
Lieberman has worked to defend the Clean Air Act from efforts to weaken its public health protections and pursued new ways to enhance baseline air quality safeguards. Two of the most significant clean air issues are currently in the courts:
the new clean air standards for smog and soot. Lieberman has fought for these higher standards in Congress, blocking a last-minute measure that would have undermined efforts to hold 17 Midwest power plants accountable for grossly
violating laws on pollution emissions. Lieberman led a bipartisan coalition of Senators in opposing immunity to the power plants.
Lieberman also is an original sponsor of the Clean Energy Act, which
would require utilities to control multiple pollutants - carbon dioxide, mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides - to create a level playing field for utilities as the electricity industry is restructured.
Source: Senate web site, “Issue Focus: Environment”
Aug 7, 2000
Invest $2.5B in open space preservation
America’s current economic prosperity does not come without a price - namely, the depletion of our natural resources and the gradual elimination of green, open spaces. Lieberman has led efforts to secure permanent funding for
open space preservation and natural resource conservation, including the Natural Resources Reinvestment Act, a plan to reinvest $2.5 billion a year in oil revenues in conservation and historic preservation initiatives.
Source: Senate web site, “Issue Focus: Environment”
Aug 7, 2000
$85M over 5 years for brownfield re-development
Hartford (CT) and Stamford (CT) will each receive $500,000 in Federal aid to create “brownfields” revolving loan programs, which will help both cities redevelop contaminated industrial sites. Lieberman said, “Hartford and Stamford are engaged in the hard
work of turning urban eyesores into valuable resources.”
Hartford has been working with the EPA to identify and assess potential brownfields cleanup sites. Stamford’s grant will be used to cleanup three contaminated sites, and to train 35 low-income
residents to participate in the brownfields redevelopment.
Lieberman is a cosponsors of the Brownfields Environmental Cleanup Act of 1999, which would replicate projects demonstrated in Stamford and Hartford across the nation. It would provide $85
million in funding over the next five years to help state and local governments inventory and assess contaminated sites and to capitalize revolving loan funds to help finance these cleanup projects.
Source: Press Release, “Brownfield cleanup”
May 26, 1999
Voted NO 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.]
Bill Confirmation vote
; vote number 2001-6
on Jan 30, 2001
Voted NO on more funding for forest roads and fish habitat.
The Bryan Amdt (D-NV) offered an amendment to raise funding levels for Forest Service road maintenance and wildlife and fisheries habitat management programs. Senator Craig (R-ID) motioned to table this amendment. [A YES vote is considered pro-business].
Status: Table Motion Agreed to Y)54; N)43; NV)3
Reference: Motion to table Bryan Amdt. #1588;
Bill H.R. 2466
; vote number 1999-272
on Sep 14, 1999
Voted YES on transportation demo projects.
McCain amendment to the transportation reauthorization bill (S. 1173) would require that funding for demonstration projects be covered by their respective state allocations instead of being funded individually in the transportation bill.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)78; N)22
Reference: McCain Amdt #1726;
Bill S. 1173
; vote number 1998-29
on Mar 12, 1998
Voted YES on reducing funds for road-building in National Forests.
Vote on an amendment to cut the $47.4 million provided for Forest Service road construction by $10 million, and to eliminate the purchaser credit program [which provides credits to timber companies to offset what they owe the government].
; vote number 1997-242
on Sep 17, 1997
Voted YES on continuing desert protection in California.
Invoking cloture on the California desert protection bill. ["Invoking cloture" means "ending the discussion and calling a vote." A NO vote in this case would continue discussing whether to terminate the existing program, and hence is considered pro-business and/or anti-environment].
Status: Cloture Agreed to Y)68; N)23; NV)9
Reference: California Desert Protection Act of 1993;
Bill S. 21
; vote number 1994-326
on Oct 8, 1994
Voted YES on requiring EPA risk assessments.
Require risk assessments of new EPA regulations.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)90; N)8; NV)2
Reference: Safe Drinking Water Act Amdt.s of '94;
Bill S. 2019
; vote number 1994-117
on May 18, 1994
End commercial whaling and illegal trade in whale meat.
Lieberman sponsored a resolution for the International Whaling Commission
Expresses the sense of the Senate that the United States:
Source: Resolution sponsored by 20 Senators 01-SR121 on Jun 29, 2001
- at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission, should remain firmly opposed to commercial whaling,
- should initiate and support efforts to ensure that all activities conducted under reservations to the Commission's moratorium or sanctuaries are ceased,
- should oppose the lethal taking of whales for scientific purposes unless it is specifically authorized by the Scientific Committee of the Commission,
- should seek the Commission's support for specific efforts by member nations to end illegal trade in whale meat, and
- should support the permanent protection of whale populations through the establishment of whale sanctuaries in which commercial whaling is prohibited;
- At the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, should oppose all efforts to reopen international trade in whale meat or to downlist any whale population; and
- should make full use of all appropriate diplomatic mechanisms, relevant international laws and agreements, and other appropriate mechanisms to implement these goals.
Support UNCED Rio Declaration at 2002 conference.
Lieberman sponsored a resolution on World Summit on Sustainable Development
Expresses the sense of the Senate that having the President lead the U.S. delegation at the World Summit on Sustainable Development would send a strong signal of U.S. support.
Calls for the United States to: (1) take specified steps at the Summit, such as reaffirming its support for the implementation of commitments entered into at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), supporting efforts to improve the institutional structure for implementing the framework created by Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, remaining firmly opposed to commercial whaling, and supporting measures to increase the use of renewable sources of energy worldwide; and (2) provide leadership and pursue the negotiation of international agreements to address global climate change and to protect the marine environment.
Urges the President to identify priority international environmental agreements that the United States has signed during and following the UNCED that the Administration will present to the Senate for ratification.
Source: Resolution sponsored by 13 Senators 02-SR311 on Jul 30, 2002
Rated 42% by the LCV, indicating a mixed record on environment.
Lieberman scores 42% 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.
Lieberman 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