Green champion Markey named key subcommittee chair

by Steven Biel

January 9, 2009

Yesterday we got word that environmental champion Ed Markey (MA) will be the chair of the House subcommittee in charge of global warming and energy legislation. Here’s the article in the Boston Globe covering the announcement, which includes some really exciting quotes from the new chairman on his plans for the year.

Ed Markey’s credentials as an environmental champion are unparalleled. He led the fight to block the Bush administration’s headlong drive to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He was the point-man in the House on the successful effort to raise gas mileage standards for the first time in 30 years in 2007. He wrote legislation that passed the last Congress to steer train shipments bearing hazardous waste away from population centers. He was one of the key champions behind passage of the landmark Superfund toxic waste law, which cleans up the most dangerous hazardous waste sites in America, including Woburn, Massachusetts, the site in Markey’s district that inspired the book and movie "A Civil Action."

All those legislative achievements are wonderful, but what always comes to mind for me when I think of Ed Markey is his passion.

I remember years ago first hearing him speak at an event to a roomful of environmental activists and Markey was practically shouting, in his thick Boston accent, "ya gotta aw-ga-nize!"

I remember another time when a campaign I was working on (and I’m embarrassed to admit this, but the story is too classic) accidentally printed some materials that listed Markey’s pro-environment voting record as 95% instead of 100%. In the next meeting we had with him, he tore into us for making him seem like he wasn’t a good champion for the environment. One of our people said something like, "we’re really sorry, but at least 95% is still an A." And Markey replied, "not to my mother it isn’t!"

With global warming champ Henry Waxman chairing the committee in charge of global warming and Ed Markey in charge of the subcommittee, we have our all-star lineup in place to pass strong legislation to solve global warming. But with so much at stake and the opposition they’ll fact, we need every Greenpeace member and activist ready to fight to win.

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