Will Sen. Collins choose her constituents or corporate donors on Clean Power Plan?

Will Sen. Collins choose her constituents or corporate donors on Clean Power Plan?

When President Obama announced his ground breaking Clean Power Plan (CPP) earlier this year, congressional Republicans responded with predictable, knee-jerk opposition. Just as predictably, Maine Senator Susan Collins released a noncommittal statement about CPP where she mixed praise and concern for CPP without pledging to support or oppose it. With Congress set to vote on a bill to override the CPP, Collins still has not made any statement about how she will vote.

Soon she will have to make up her mind and it’s clear that Mainers want her to vote to fight climate change and preserve the CPP.

In a poll just released by the Sierra Club, a whopping 74% of Mainers support the Clean Power Plan. In today’s political environment, it’s hard to get three-quarters of citizens to agree on anything. So why is Senator Collins vacillating? Why isn’t she taking the lead on pushing for this vital policy that three out of four of her constituents support?

Possibly because of the millions of dollars in campaign contributions she’s taken from big businesses that profiteer from weak carbon emission standards.

During her tenure in the U.S. Senate, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Senator Collins has taken nearly $600,000 from the energy and natural resources industry, which the CPP seeks to regulate. She’s taken another approximately $600,000 each from the carbon-intensive transportation and agribusiness industries. This is all on top of the $3.5 million she’s taken from the finance, insurance, and real estate industries, which make their money off of cheap energy.

All in all, that’s over 5 million reasons to be reluctant to support making electricity generation greener, even if it would create jobs in Maine, make Mainers healthier, and slow the devastating effects of climate change.

Let’s hope Senator Collins chooses to vote with the will of the people, not the will of Big Oil.


UPDATE: Late Tuesday, Senator Collins joined Independent Senator Angus King and most Democrats in voting to preserve the Clean Power Plan. The resolution to overrule CPP passed 52-46, not enough to override a likely presidential veto. Good for Senator Collins choosing her constituents over her big donors.

About author

Will Ikard
Will Ikard 6 posts

Will Ikard is director of the Maine Small Business Coalition, which represents more than four thousand small business owners across Maine.


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