susan collinsSusan Collins

Though Sen. Susan Collins seems supportive of climate legislation, she remains a toss-up in the debate over the Kerry-Boxer bill. In this letter sent to a constituent in early December, she calls for “meaningful action” to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, while saying that solutions must be “reasonable”:

Dear [Constituent],

Thank you for contacting me regarding climate change legislation.  I appreciate your letting me know of your support for the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act and Copenhagen climate negotiations.

On September 30, 2009, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act was introduced by Senators Kerry (D-MA) and Boxer (D-CA). This climate change bill includes a cap and trade system. The bill has been approved by the Environment and Public Works Committee, but many observers are expecting Senator Kerry to produce an alternative bipartisan bill with support from Senators Graham (R-SC) and Lieberman (ID-CT).

Global climate change is the most significant environmental challenge facing our nation today, and we must develop reasonable solutions to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. I was an original cosponsor of bipartisan legislation last Congress that set a goal of reducing America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent over 2005 levels by 2050. Unfortunately, the bill failed to achieve the required votes needed to proceed to further debate.

We must take meaningful action to respond to climate change. As the Senate continues to consider energy and environmental legislation, I remain committed to advancing effective climate change legislation during this Congress. Again, thank you for contacting me. I appreciate having the benefit of your views.

Senator Susan Collins

Here’s more on Collins and climate, as written by Kate Sheppard on 29 July 2009:

Sen. Susan Collins and her Maine colleague Olympia Snowe are the two Republicans considered most likely to vote in favor of a climate bill this year.

Collins was one of just seven Republicans to vote in favor of moving forward with the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act in 2008. A strong supporter of environmental legislation over the years, she was the only Republican senator to get an endorsement from the League of Conservation Voters in 2008, and she got perfect marks on LCV’s scorecard in 2007 and 2008.

Collins is also one of the few Republicans who has demonstrated a willingness to work with the Democratic majority to shape and pass legislation this year. She played a crucial role in crafting the stimulus bill earlier this year (for better or worse), and was one of only three Republicans to vote for it.

This year, Collins has been adamant that she and other Republicans should play a role in shaping the climate bill, and she spoke out against the proposal to pass climate legislation as part of the budget reconciliation process. “It’s a bad mistake to try to cut out the Republicans and cut off debate and limit amendments on such an important bill, and I say that as a supporter of cap-and-trade,” she said.

Climate CitizensTrack the debate and take action >>>

Enviros like what they’re hearing from Collins. “Climate change is the most significant environmental challenge facing our planet,” she told college graduates recently.

If backers of a climate bill can’t get Collins on board, you’ll know they’re in trouble.

Do you know more about this senator’s stance on climate legislation? Tell us.

Find out about other senators by clicking on their names in the right column.