Thursday, January 27, 2005

Stewardship Act Reintroduced

Senator Joe Lieberman and Rep. Rob Simmons have reintroduced the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act, as the New London Day reported in a short account yesterday and Save the Sound noted in an e-mail today that links to a Lieberman press release.

The stewardship program is fairly simple and non-controversial: "The Stewardship Initiative’s goal is to identify places with significant biological, scientific, or recreational value throughout the Sound and develop a strategy to protect and enhance these special places."

It's not even clear to me why it needs a federal law, but apparently it does. Last year the Stewardship Act was killed by a Republican Congressman from California, and I speculated here that it was in retaliation for Rep. Chris Shays's refusal to march in lockstep with the agenda of Tom Delay. Here's what I wrote:

You may remember a big to-do a couple of weeks ago when the House GOP caucus decided against forcing leaders to step down if they should be indicted. The fear among House Republicans was that Majority Leader Tom Delay would be indicted.

The few Republicans who broke ranks and opposed the leadership on this came to be known as the “Shays Handful” – so named by blogger and journalist Josh Marshall because they were led by Rep. Christopher Shays, the Connecticut Republican.

Look now at who killed the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act: Rep. Richard Pombo, a Republican from northern California

The Hartford Courant described Pombo this way (the emphasis is mine): Pombo is a northern California rancher, with a history of questioning what he sees as too much government intrusion into private property rights. He is also a protege of Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, heading a committee that has a strong influence on forest, energy, parks and other environmental policy.”

So an environmental bill sponsored by Christopher Shays, the leader of the “Shays Handful,” was killed by a protégé of Tom Delay.


Here's hoping that Pombo and Delay are less petty this year.


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