Scott Brown On The Environment

Brown Questioned Climate Change. During a discussion on WBZ Radio with Dan Rea, Coakley and Brown debated climate change. Coakley said, “Scott acts as if there is no climate change problem. If you believe there is a climate change issue, then you have to take action.” Brown responded, “I [have] said the climate is always changing. The question I have is, is it man-made, or does it just happen naturally?” [Boston Globe, 12/22/09]

Brown Flip Flopped on Cap and Trade. The Boston Globe reports that State Sen. Brown “backed away from his support for a cap-and-trade system for trying to contain greenhouse gases. In 2008, he voted with the Legislature for Massachusetts to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a pact among Northeastern states requiring power plans to reduce emissions or to buy credits from cleaner industries. ‘Reducing carbon dioxide emission in Massachusetts has long been a priority of mine,’ Brown said in a news release at the time. ‘Passing this legislation is an important step… towards improving our environment.’” [Boston Globe, 1/10/10]

Brown Voted to Cap Industry Costs of Emissions Credits in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. In 2008, Brown voted to temporarily suspend “the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative if the power companies’ cost of purchasing the emissions credits exceeds $150 million per year. The state would rejoin the pact when the costs are no longer projected to exceed the $150 million ceiling. Amendment supporters said the cost of purchasing the emission credits is unknown and could be steep. They argued the power companies would be passing along the increased costs to consumers and argued the $150 million cap would protect consumers and ensure a balance between helping the environment and protecting consumers from excessive price hikes. Amendment opponents said the proposed $150 million cap is premature. They argued the Legislature should monitor the costs and only consider imposing a cap if the costs begin to spiral out of control.” [Telegram & Gazette, 1/11/08; Vote 155, 1/2/08]

Brown Announced His Support For Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative When It Passed The Senate. In January 2008 Brown issued a press release announcing that he and “the Senate has approved legislation that would secure the Commonwealth’s current and future participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by making the cooperative program law.”  In the release Brown said, “Reducing carbon dioxide emission in Massachusetts has long been a priority of mine…Passing this legislation is an important step in RGGI’s initiative towards improving our environment.” [State Senator Brown Press Release, 1/2/08]
 
Boston Globe: Brown Turnaround Disappointing. “The turnaround on greenhouse gases is especially disappointing to any Massachusetts voters who thought they saw in Brown a conservative on fiscal issues who was also a conservationist when it comes to protecting the environment…Many congressional Republicans do not even acknowledge that greenhouse gases contribute to climate change and need to be curbed. Clearly, Brown did not share that view when he voted in favor of Massachusetts’ participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which requires utilities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions or face financial penalties… Voting to strip the EPA of its authority to regulate greenhouse gases is a favor to Big Oil and Big Coal and the states where they are dominant, not to Massachusetts clean-energy firms struggling to compete with companies in Europe and Asia. [Boston Globe, 4/13/11]

Brown Voted For Amendment to Permanently Block EPA From Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Brown voted for a McConnell Amendment that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act permanently. “GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is floating one modeled after legislation fashioned by Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, that would permanently bar EPA from regulating CO2. Even if the minority leader can’t gain the 60 votes needed in an upper chamber with a 53-47 Democratic majority, he wants to apply pressure to swing state Democrats up for re-election next year.” [Vote #54, 4/6/11; Reuters, 4/4/11]

Brown Voted to Advance Resolution to Deny the EPA the Authority to Move Ahead with Rules Crafted Under Clean Air Act. Brown voted to proceed to Senate Joint Resolution 26. The Associated Press reported, “In a boost for the president on global warming, the Senate on Thursday rejected a challenge to Obama Administration rules aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other big polluters. The defeated resolution would have denied the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to move ahead with the rules, crafted under the federal Clean Air Act. With President Barack Obama’s broader clean energy legislation struggling to gain a foothold in the Senate, the vote took on greater significance as a signal of where lawmakers stand on dealing with climate change…The vote was 53-47 to stop the Senate from moving forward on the Republican- led effort to restrain the EPA.” [Vote #184, 6/10/10; Associated Press, 6/10/10]

Brown Voted to Advance Bill to Speed Approval of Drilling Permits in Sensitive Coastal Areas., Brown voted to proceed to a bill that would allow more coastal oil and gas exploration and speed the issuance of drilling permits to oil companies. The New York Times reported, “With Democrats citing last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as a cautionary tale, the Senate on Wednesday decisively rejected a Republican plan to allow more coastal oil and gas exploration and to speed the issuance of drilling permits to oil companies… Republicans said that the measure proposed by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, was a modest, common-sense approach to lowering gas prices by trying to influence the market through increased production from the nation’s ample resources.” [Vote #73, 5/18/11; New York Times, 5/18/11]

Brown Supported Republican Oil Plan to Increase Coastal Drilling. In May 2011, Brown voted in favor of the Republican oil plan to “allow more coastal oil and gas exploration and to speed the issuance of drilling permits to oil companies.” The bill failed 57-42. “Democrats dismissed the Republican plan as a risky effort to accelerate drilling without the necessary safeguards in place. Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the number-two Democrat in the Senate, said, “You would think that the BP spill never happened if you consider this bill.” [Boston Globe, 5/19/11]