Republican Conservationists Applaud Senator Lindsey Graham
A Republican group pushing for clean energy and climate legislation is commending Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who has expressed concern about climate change and support for such a bill.
The group, Republicans for Environmental Protection, has produced an ad featuring South Carolina State Senator John Courson thanking Senator Graham for his willingness to work on the climate bill. “We felt that for climate legislation to pass, it has to have bipartisan support,” says Jim PiPeso, vice president of policy and communications for Republicans for Environmental Protection. “Lindsey Graham stepped out on a limb and said he’d be willing to work on it, and that’s something worth saluting. He should be praised for working for the good of the country.”
That hasn’t stopped some of his party colleagues from going on the attack: in fact, earlier this week, Republican leaders in Charleston County censured Senator Graham. The resolution, passed Monday, says Graham has weakened the Republican brand; a similar resolution is expected to come at the state convention next year.
“He’s under attack in South Carolina not only from the oil industry, which is to be expected, but from fellow Republicans,” DiPeso says. “He’s a pretty conservative guy. We felt there needed to be pushback. We want to help fellow Republicans with some tough love.”
Which is what inspired his group to produce this ad (as well as one for radio), thanking Senator Graham and reminding Republicans that “conservation is an important part of the Republican Party; it’s an ethic that goes back many years,” DiPeso says. “This should not be a partisan issue. We all need clean air and water. There are no Democratic mountains and no Republican rivers.”
DiPeso says that in an ideal world, a climate bill would be very simple – about 10 pages long; it would set a carbon price and all or almost all of the revenue would be returned to the taxpayer. “The price on carbon is the most important thing we have to do. Some people say the targets are not aggressive enough and that may be true, but history shows that once protection are put in place, it’s easier to go back and strengthen them over time.”
– Suzanne Bopp