A Tale of Two Bad Guys

Posted by: Sam Meehan

At Ocean Champions, we’re fortunate to work with a group of highly dedicated, energetic problem-solvers in Washington. We are honored to support these pro-ocean candidates. However, our framework for success also involves going after some of the worst anti-ocean members of Congress. In 2006, we targeted California Representative Richard Pombo, whose atrocious environmental record led various publications to describe him as “an eco-thug” and “an enemy of the Earth.” California League of Conservation Voters CEO Warner Chabot claimed, “Having Pombo represent a district that includes Yosemite National Park is like electing Godzilla as mayor of Toyko.” Ocean Champions played an important role in crafting and executing a successful campaign that tossed Pombo from office. Now, as our environment is in more need of protection than ever, we’ll be going a bad guy once again. This year, there are plenty to choose from, and in this blog post we’ll profile two of them: freshman Representatives, Steve Southerland of Florida and Jon Runyan of New Jersey.

Congressman Southerland, who was just awarded an abysmal 6% rating in the League of Conservation Voters Scorecard, has been hard at work attempting to cripple the EPA’s ability to enforce clean water standards. Some of Southerland’s lowlights:

  • Introduced H.R. 3856, the State Water Partnership Act, which seeks to obstruct the EPA’s ability to set basic nutrient content standards.
  • Voted in favor of an amendment to the Continuing Appropriations Act that would have blocked the EPA from implementing new safety standards for Florida’s water (the state has been one of those worst hit by Harmful Algal Blooms).
  • Voted in favor of H.R. 1938, the bill designed to bully President Obama into signing a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • Voted in favor of H.R. 1229, a bill which would expand lease sales for offshore oil drilling and scale back already anemic safety standards on oil rigs, barely a year after the Deepwater Horizon disaster blanketed his home state’s beaches with oil.

New Jersey’s Third District has a long history of support for ocean conservation.  Previous representatives John Adler (D) and Jim Saxton (R) were both endorsed ocean champions, but Jon Runyan has brought a screeching halt to that tradition. Given a paltry 20% rating in the latest LCV Scorecard, Runyan’s voting record articulates a clear anti-ocean stance, even though his home district is dependent on tourism attracted to local beaches.

  • Runyan voted in favor of (along with clean-water foe Steve Southerland) H.R. 2018, another bill designed to curb the EPA’s ability to establish and enforce basic water standards.
  • Voted in favor of the Keystone XL bill.
  • Voted in favor of H.R.s 2021 and 1229, two bad bills that would expand offshore drilling, cut back safety regulations, and exempt companies from having to implement available pollution control technologies.

This November, it will be more important than ever to stand up for the future of our oceans. In addition to supporting our allies on the hill, we will also be taking the fight to a bad ocean enemy. We hope you’ll fight with us by engaging in ocean politics more than ever before.  Together, we can help build a more pro-ocean Congress.

Date Posted: March 21, 2012 @ 10:12 am Comments Off


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