On September 16, 2002, the Sierra Club endorsed Charlie Bass’ opponent in the 2nd Congressional District election. The Bass campaign immediately sent out a press release that referred to the Sierra Club as “extremist.” The next month, the WMUR debate, he claimed: “I wouldn’t want to have the Sierra Club endorsement.”
Memo to Mr. Bass: The Sierra Club is one of the most prestigious pro-environment organizations in American history, and has been since John Muir founded it nearly 120 years ago. It has crusaded to protect our natural heritage, and to undermine polluters who have sought to destroy it. The Sierra Club has earned praise from Democratic and Republican leaders alike for its outstanding advocacy.
Charlie, if you want to learn more about “extremist” policies, just study your own record. Here’s what YOU did in Congress:
* Voted to weaken protections against arsenic in our drinking water. According to the National Academy of Sciences, arsenic in drinking water may cause bladder, lung, and skin cancer, harm the nervous system, heart and blood vessels, and cause birth defects and reproductive problems. (H.R. 4635, CQ#384, 6/21/00; H.R. 2620, CQ#288, 7/27/01)
* Voted for a bastardized reauthorization of the Clean Water Act, one referred to as the “Dirty Water Act” by the League of Conservation Voters and Clean Water Action. This legislation would have severely relaxed water pollution control regulations, weakened treatment requirements for toxic pollution, and removed over 80 percent of wetlands from federal protection. (H.R. 961, CQ#337, 5/16/95)
* Cosponsored legislation to force the EPA to rescind vehicle inspection and maintenance regulations under the Clean Air Act. (H.R. 46, 1995)
* Voted to slash $25 million in federal EPA enforcement funds. According to the League of Conservation Voters, “These budget cuts would have drastically limited the capacity of EPA to hold polluters accountable and would have undercut the agency’s ability to oversee some of our most important environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.” (H.R. 2620, CQ#289, 7/27/01; League of Conservation Voters, 2001 Scorecard)
* Voted to allow oil and gas leasing off Florida’s fragile coastline. Charlie was also the only House member from New England to vote to allow oil and gas exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf north of Santa Barbara, California. (H.R. 2217, CQ#181, 6/21/01; H.R. 5093, CQ#315, 7/17/02)
* Voted for a moratorium on adding additional threatened or endangered species to the protected list. (H.R. 1977, CQ#5, January 4, 1996)
* Voted to slash $267 million from the Superfund cleanup budget, and to exempt small business that contributed waste to Superfund sites from paying their share of the cost of cleaning up these waste sites. According to the Sierra Club: ”Exempting these businesses would have required taxpayers or other businesses to pay the cleanup costs, and it would have removed an incentive for all businesses to reduce their pollution.” (H.R. 2099, CQ#607, 7/31/95; H.R. 5175, CQ#494, 9/26/00)
* Voted against a House Budget Committee amendment that would have increased the budget authority for solar, renewable energy, energy conservation research and fossil energy research by $836 million. (Budget Committee vote, May 9, 1996)
* Sought to eliminate the Department of Energy. During the 104th Congress, Bass was part of a task force that developed the Department of Energy Abolish Act. Said Bass: ”It’s time to pull the plug on DOE. The gas lines are gone. So is the need for the Department of Energy.” (Bass press release, 6/8/95; H. Con. Res. 67, CQ#345, 5/18/95)
New Hampshire citizens take pride in their commitment to our natural environment. Charlie Bass does not. Let’s defeat him in November, and elect a true champion of the environment — Ann McLane Kuster — to Congress.