By Merlin Miclat
A few weeks after a lewd picture of himself he shared through Twitter surfaced, Representative Anthony Weiner announced his resignation from Congress. Amidst the weeks of controversy that led to his resignation, the New York Democrat's political record has been largely overlooked and forgotten, including hi s strong support for pro-environment policies. Sadly, most people will remember the congressman for his misbehavior that cost him his seat, rather than as an eco-friendly congressman and a prominent voice for the preservation and improvement of the environment. Below are some of the environmental highlights of Rep. Weiner's political record.
Early in his career, Rep. Weiner's co-wrote and promoted the National Forest Protection and Restoration Act in 2001. The bill banned commercial logging on government owned lands. Unfortunately, the bill did not progress far enough to be voted upon.
Two years later, Weiner opposed a bill in 2005 that would allow “controlled” deforestation of forests. Some argued that thinning forests would make certain areas safer, by preventing wildfires, bug infestation, and the spread of diseases. Weiner opposed the bill, claiming it was “reckless” and would cause damage to forest ecosystems and habitats.
In 2005, Weiner voted against a bill allowing the government to deactivate the “critical area” status for habitats of endangered species.
In addition to supporting natural environment, plant, and animal conservation, Weiner was a strong advocate of cleaner and sustainable energy sources and reducing harmful emissions and pollution. In 2000, he supported the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, which calls on countries to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions.
He supported the popular “Cash for Clunkers” program. It allowed owners of gas guzzling cars and trucks to trade in their clunkers for rebates up to $4500 towards the purchase of a more fuel efficient vehicle. An estimated 700,000 clunkers were traded in and destroyed and almost $3 billion in rebates were requested.
Weiner also voted in support for improving America's rail system. In 2006, he voted to increase funding for Amtrak by $214 million and in 2008, he voted for an additional $9.7 billion to be allocated for Amtrak. The 2008 bill also caters to bicyclists. Some of the funding would make Amtrak trains more accessible to bicyclists and allow them to carry and store their bicycles aboard trains.
As of March of 2011, Weiner served as a member of House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The committee plays an important role in the health, safety, and commerce of the country and its citizens. This committee was responsible for the Clean Air Act, which empowers the Environmental Protection Agency to enact measures that would improve the country's air quality. The EPA predicts the Clean Air Act will save thousands of lives by 2020.
Weiner voted yes for a number of bills that would grant tax relief for energy conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy sources. As early as 2001, he voted to pass bills that would grant incentives for alternative fuels. In 2007, Weiner voted in support to eliminate subsidies for oil and gas exploration.
Weiner even supported environmental education and awareness. He voted yes on the Ocean, Coastal, and Watershed Education Act, which increases funding for education programs and collaboration programs between scientists and museums and schools. The programs includes “outdoor learning experiences” for students.
Weiner has consistently received high approval ratings from the League of Conservation Voters. The LCV gave Weiner a 94% approval rating for his pro-environment votes.
However, because of a single racy photo, Rep. Anthony Weiner's political career, a record strongly favoring the environment, has come to an end and conservation advocates and environmentalists have lost a prominent ally in Congress.
Article courtesy of greenanswers.com