Please Don't Squeeze the Chairman
Sen. Bob Smith (R-N.H.), who became chair of the Senate Environment Committee six months ago following the death of pro-conservation Sen. John Chafee (R-R.I.), has been a not-entirely-unpleasant surprise for enviros. Many had feared that the conservative Smith would use his new position to lead a no-holds-barred assault on environmental protection. Instead, Smith has shown a willingness to listen to enviros and has sided with them on such issues as protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Florida Everglades. “Our expectations for his performance were about as low as you can get,” said Ed Hopkins, senior representative for the Sierra Club. “He has somewhat exceeded those expectations.” Still, enviros are odds with Smith on issues such as who should pay for Superfund toxic site cleanups.