Scott Brown and Climate Change: Why Health Care May Not Be the Only Major Legislation He Could Derail

In what truly is an embarrassing defeat for Democrats, the Massachusetts Senate seat once held by the late liberal icon Ted Kennedy has been won by Republican candidate Scott Brown. The Democratic candidate turned out an awful campaign, and now many a headline proclaims how health care is now threatened. But what about the rest of the issues? Where does Scott Brown stand on environment, energy, and climate issues?

Scott Brown on the Environment

The truth is, it's pretty hard to say at this point. Independent political watchdog group On the Issues only has one vote on record regarding the environment: one relatively obscure vote where Brown opposed keeping funding for state park maintenance within the Metropolitan District Commission. It appears Brown was in favor of diverting funding for parks elsewhere.

Other than that, his stance on environmental conservation appears largely untested.

On Climate and Energy Issues

Energy and climate are entirely other issues however--while Brown has offered tepid support for wind, nuclear and solar power (as well as offshore drilling), he adamantly opposes the American Clean Energy Security act that passed the House of Reps last June. This bill would put a price on carbon pollution, and prevent industries like coal and oil from polluting for free, while offering incentives for clean energy sources like wind and solar. But Brown falsely claimed the bill would result in a tax in a televised debate.

The surprising thing about Brown's recent opposition to the clean energy legislation is that he himself once voted in favor of creating a similar system designed for all states in New England. Called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the program does on a smaller scale what ACES would do: puts a price on carbon emissions. I've detailed this apparent flip flop in a previous post.

Brown opposes putting a wind farm up on Nantucket island, saying "it's like putting turbines on Boston Common," according to the Boston Globe

It appears that Brown doesn't believe that climate change is caused by human activity. Undeterred, the Republicans for Environmental Protection have issued a release urging him to support climate reform anyways.

Scott Brown's ascension may indeed have severe implications for the Democratic agenda--stay tuned for a post about how he might effect clean energy reform's chances of passing this year.

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