(Host) Independent Senator James Jeffords has been chosen by Congressional Democrats to deliver the official opposition radio address Saturday morning.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:
(Kinzel) This is the second time that Jeffords has been selected to highlight a specific issue for the national radio address. In December of 1999, while a member of the Republican caucus, Jeffords spoke about the need to find solutions to the nation’s health care problems.
Saturday’s speech is much more hard-hitting than his first one. Jeffords uses the occasion to strongly criticize the environmental policies of the Bush administration, particularly the recent decision to grant new exemptions from the provisions of the Clean Air Act to coal burning power plants that want to expand:
(Jeffords) “I worked so closely with his father and we had the great success of moving forward on trying to get pollution under control, especially air pollution from the power plants across the nation. And what we’re seeing now are steps going back towards the real bad pollution days we had in the past. I can’t believe his son really feels proud about wrecking his father’s legacy. I just don’t understand how he let it go through.”
(Kinzel) Jeffords is also very concerned that the Bush administration wants to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge:
(Jeffords) “They’re going to drill everywhere they can stick a drill. It’s amazing and that’s just what you’d expect from the people who were elected by the oil people. And that’s becoming increasingly apparent as we move forward and our future is in other directions and becoming more and more dependent on foreign oil, which can never be replaced by domestic oil. And so we’re just going the wrong way, as far as I’m concerned.”
(Kinzel) Jeffords says he’ll continue to oppose the environmental policies of the Bush administration as the ranking minority member of the Senate Environment Committee.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.