Sen. Pete Domenici announced this week that he will not seek another term as Senator from New Mexico. A powerful senator who held key positions, he voted against the environment at nearly every chance, according to the League of Conservation Voters' Scorecard, which rates members of Congress based on the group's positions on legislation.
From 1999 to 2006 he twice voted against every environmental policy LCV supported, and never scored higher than 14% in any legislative session.
From 2002 to 2006, Domenici was the chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which has jurisdiction over a broad array of issues, from oil exploration, nuclear energy and coal mining to energy efficiency standards on household appliances and water resources.
He was a big proponent of President Bush's energy plan, which was not widely loved among environmental advocates because it emphasized continued reliance on heavily polluting fossil fuels, and nuclear power as opposed to investing heavily in research and development of alternative renewable energies and in conservation. He also favored oil drilling in the Alaskan wilderness and other controversial energy exploration projects.
Any Senator elected by his or her constituents to serve for the public deserves respect, and Domenici's 35-year legacy is multi-faceted -- with a laudable commitment to balanced budgets, for instance -- but it's clear that New Mexico could find a replacement for Sen. Domenici who has more respect for the environment.
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