Steve Laffey is the mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, and is running against loopy Lincoln Chafee in that state’s September ’06 Republican primary. There are many reasons for the Rhoe Island GOP to oust Chafee, but one of the most persuasive is his utter inability to use his position to advance meaningful and necessary reforms of the federal Endangered Species Act. The House has already passed its package of long overdue changes, but Chafee subcontracted out the policy process to a closed-door group of 20 insiders dominated by environmentalists that still hasn’t reported back –an obvious delaying tactic to kill of ESA reform for another year. From this morning’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required):
As the issue heads to the Senate, direction for updating the law passes to one of Congress’s most-ardent environmentalists. Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R., R.I.) chairs the subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Water, and is skeptical of the House’s far-reaching changes. A Chafee spokesman said the senator hopes to reinstate the critical habitat program, but with other senators he has asked a Colorado-based nonprofit group that specializes in collaborative problem solving to work with representatives of different business and environmental interests to come up with an acceptable compromise.
Chafee’s elitism shows through in his approach to privatizing law making, and every landowner who has been burdened by the ESA and every open government advocate should be contributing to Laffey’s campaign.