Front Porch Blog

VICTORY: Alexander, Hagan, Rockefeller vote for Clean Air

Inhofe Resolution fails despite support of Virginia Senators Webb, Warner

Big news out of the Senate as Senator Inhofe’s most recent effort to stop clean air protections (SR 37) was killed by a vote of 46 to 53. Much more on the specifics of the legislation here. A handful of Republicans, including Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, did the right thing by voting this bill down. This was despite the fact that Inhofe has been connected with groups running attack ads against his fellow Republican regarding this vote. Other Republicans who voted correctly alongside Senator Alexander were Senators Ayotte (NH), Brown (MA), Collins (ME), and Snowe (ME).

Most Democrats opposed the resolution, including West Virginia Senator John Rockefeller. This was following a moving floor speech by the Senator on the future of coal, and their need to embrace change. Senator Rockefeller has traditionally worked in lockstep with the coal industry. However, his blunt advice to them, perhaps for the first time, conjured memories of the late West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd. In some of his final public statements, Byrd had warned that the coal industry needed to adapt and change to have a strong future.

A handful of Democrats voted incorrectly, including Senators Landrieu (LA), Nelson (NE), and Manchin (WV). Perhaps most puzzlingly, both of Virginia’s Democratic Senators Warner and Webb cast the wrong vote in support of Inhofe. Webb and Warner have traditionally been allies of the coal lobby, but this was likely the first time they had ever taken a more extreme position than that of Senator Rockefeller.

Thanks to everyone who made calls to these Senators. Here’s how other folks around our region voted.
NC: Hagan (NAY), Burr (AYE)
WV: Rockefeller (NAY), Manchin (AYE)
VA: Webb (AYE), Warner (AYE)
TN: Alexander (NAY), Corker (AYE)
KY: McConnell (AYE), Paul (AYE)

(NAY is the correct vote)

Raised on the banks of the Tennessee River, JW's work to create progress in his home state and throughout Appalachia has been featured on the Rachel Maddow Show, The Daily Kos and Grist. He served first as Appalachian Voices’ Legislative Associate and then Tennessee director until leaving to pursue a career in medicine in 2012.


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