Rob Simmons on Environment
Former Republican Representative (CT-2, 2001-2007)
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 YES 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.
Simmons 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.
Simmons 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.
Supports grants for brownfields remediation.
Simmons adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership agenda item:
H.R. 2941 Brownfields Redevelopment Enhancement Act.
Source: Republican Main Street Partnership Legislative Agenda 02-RMSP2 on May 24, 2002
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.
Make EPA into a Cabinet department.
Simmons adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership agenda item:
H.R. 2438/H.R. 2694 Department of Environmental Protection Act.
Source: Republican Main Street Partnership Legislative Agenda 02-RMSP3 on May 24, 2002
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.
Rated 70% by the LCV, indicating pro-environment votes.
Simmons scores 70% 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
Focus on results, not regulation.
Simmons adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership issue stance:
Source: Republican Main Street Partnership Issue Paper: Environment 98-RMSP1 on Sep 9, 1998
- Legislatively provide the EPA with a clear mission statement
- Simplify environmental reporting requirements to focus on results, not regulations
- Establish environmental improvement pilot programs at the state level
- Devote increased resources to researching the causes and effects of global warming
- Better understand -- and begin addressing -- the causes of and remedies to global warming
Page last updated: Mar 11, 2011