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Chris Dodd on Environment

Democratic Sr Senator (CT)


Advocate a corporate carbon tax

I advocated a corporate carbon tax. I’m fully aware of the implications of suggesting a tax. We’ve got to have the courage to stand up and tell you how you get there. Cheaper fuel is always going to win out, unfortunately, so you need to be able to tax this carbon which is killing us and killing this planet. Al Gore and Bill Bradley have called our plan the most honest and bold. This is the best gift our generation can give to the next. If we’re not tough and honest, nothing much will change.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate Dec 13, 2007

Country-of-origin & ingredient labeling for food imports

I have a child that has serious food allergies. I know what it’s like every day to read a label--every single day--because my child could die if she consumed the wrong products here. 80% of the food we consume in this country is imported and only 1% of it is inspected. There’s no country labeling on the products here, and you’ll have about 10 different descriptions of an egg. That’s very difficult, if not impossible, for parents who have children who have to be careful about the products they consume.
Source: 2007 Democratic radio debate on NPR Dec 4, 2007

Bush’s lack of Katrina response was shameful

Q: Do you believe the response in the wake of Hurricane Katrina would have been different if the storm hit an affluent, predominantly white city?

The question points to one of the most dark and shameful moments in recent past history in our country-- the fact that a major American city went through a natural disaster, and the president had almost no response whatsoever. In fact, today still, the problem persists, to make sure the people of New Orleans can get back in their homes. I believe that had this occurred in a place with mainly a white population, we would have seen a much more rapid response and a consistent response to that issue. We can never, ever allow again a major population center in our country go through what the Gulf states did as a result of neglect from an American president. In fact, it should have been [prevented] ahead of time, to have a FEMA operation that was prepared to respond to these predictable disasters. So it’s a mark of shame on our country. It ought to be reversed.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC Jul 23, 2007

Make Katrina recovery a symbol of what we can do right

Q: Would you support a federal law guaranteeing the right to return to New Orleans and other Gulf regions devastated by Hurricane Katrina?

KUCINICH: Absolutely. The aftermath underscores everything that’s wrong in this country about race.

GRAVEL: Yes.

DODD: I would as well. New Orleans and Katrina have become a symbol of everything that went wrong with this administration’s failure to respond to a people in need. I could think of no better way to have New Orleans and Katrina become a symbol of what we can do right in this country, by giving people the opportunity to come back and the support they will need to regain their lives. This is an American city. Anywhere else in America, we’d want to step up and see to it that people would get that help; this is the least we ought to be able to do to see to it they get their lives back together.

CLINTON: I have proposed a 10-point Gulf Coast Recovery Agenda, because even if we were to give people a right, there is nothing to return to.

Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University Jun 28, 2007

Support a carbon tax and a 50-miles-per-gallon CAFE standard

We have the responsibility of reducing the polluting effects of depending upon fossil fuels and also allowing us to develop the alternative technologies. I’ve introduced a plan here that would require, by the year 2017, 50-miles-per-gallon standard for automobiles. We ought to do it immediately and a carbon tax, and encourage then for the use of revenues collected to move aggressively on developing the alternative technologies of solar and wind and other sources of energy.
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007

Spend oil profits on research of alternative energy sources

When the price of a barrel of oil gets beyond $40 a barrel, where there’s plenty of profit, those dollars ought to be returned to the consumers in a rebate or plowed back into the research that would allow us to develop alternative technologies. But the real way to get away from this here, our dependency on that kind of fuel is causing us serious problems across the board. So it isn’t just a price-of-fuel issue here. It’s also depending upon polluting technologies that are going to cost us so much.
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007

Scored 100% on Humane Society Scorecard on animal protection

Source: Humane Society 109th Congress Scorecard, www.fund.org Jan 31, 2007

Voted YES on $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers program.

Congressional Summary:Emergency supplemental appropriations of $2 billion for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Program.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. OBEY (D, WI-7): The cash for clunkers program has proven even more wildly popular than its strongest supporters had predicted. Just last month, Congress passed the program, which provided up to $4,500 if you trade in your old gas guzzler for a new car that gets better mileage. That was done in the hopes of spurring some new car sales and encouraging people to be a little more environmentally friendly. We provided $1 billion in the supplemental to get it going, enough for about 250,000 sales--which was just about exhausted in one week. This bill transfers $2 billion from the Department of Energy's Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee program, which doesn't expect to award funding until late next year.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. LEWIS (R, CA-41): In the majority's haste to slam legislation with no time for consideration or amendments, we are now seeing the effects of such shortsighted martial law tactics.

Senator Feinstein tried to negotiate some changes to improve the program but was told that it was this way or the highway. Not one hearing on the Cash for Clunkers program, not one hearing on how the first billion dollars has been spent, not one hearing on how much money the program will need to get through the fiscal year.

Many of my colleagues will say, This is a great program, and it is necessary for the revitalization of the car industry. I'm not really going to argue with those goals. However, are we sure this program is working like it's supposed to? I don't think so. This program has only been up and running 1 week. If that is how the government is going to handle billion-dollar programs affecting all Americans, I ask, Whatever will we do if the administration takes control of our health care system?

Reference: Cash for Clunkers bill; Bill H.R. 3435 ; vote number 2009-S270 on Aug 6, 2009

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

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].
Reference: Bill HR.2107 ; 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

Rated 84% by the LCV, indicating pro-environment votes.

Dodd scores 84% 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.

Dodd 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

Strengthen prohibitions against animal fighting.

Dodd co-sponsored strengthening prohibitions against animal fighting

Sen. CANTWELL. I reintroduce today the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007. This legislation has won the unanimous approval of the Senate several times, but unfortunately has not yet reached the finish line.

There is no doubt, animal fighting is terribly cruel. Dogs and roosters are drugged to make them hyper-aggressive and forced to keep fighting even after suffering severe injuries such as punctured eyes and pierced lungs. It's all done for "entertainment" and illegal gambling. Some dogfighters steal pets to use as bait for training their dogs, while others allow trained fighting dogs to roam neighborhoods and endanger the public.

The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act will strengthen current law by making the interstate transport of animals for the purpose of fighting a felony and increase the punishment to three years of jail time. This is necessary because the current misdemeanor penalty has proven ineffective--considered a "cost of doing business" by those in the animal fighting industry which continues unabated nationwide.

These enterprises depend on interstate commerce, as evidenced by the animal fighting magazines that advertise and promote them. Our bill also makes it a felony to move cockfighting implements in interstate or foreign commerce. These are razor-sharp knives known as "slashers" and ice pick-like gaffs designed exclusively for cockfights and attached to the birds' legs for fighting.

This is long overdue legislation. It's time to get this felony animal fighting language enacted. It's time for Congress to strengthen the federal law so that it can provide as a meaningful deterrent against animal fighting. Our legislation does not expand the federal government's reach into a new area, but simply aims to make current law more effective. It is explicitly limited to interstate and foreign commerce, so it protects states' rights in the two states where cockfighting is still allowed.

Source: Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act (S.261/H.R.137) 2007-S261 on Jan 4, 2007

Other candidates on Environment: Chris Dodd on other issues:
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GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
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Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
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Socialist: Brian Moore
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010