Rahm Emanuel: Obama Picks the Ideal Chief of Staff for Rebuilding the Economy With an Environmental Focus

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As Jennifer Lance mentioned in her post this week on Red, Green and Blue, last Tuesday was a win not only for Barack Obama but also for the environment. Hours after being elected the new President of the United States, Obama has already selected fellow Illinois Democrat, Rahm Emanuel, a strong supporter of the environment, to be his Chief of Staff.

Rahm Emnauel - White House Chief of Staff Designate

Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff Designate


Emanuel introduced a far-reaching cleanup package for the Great Lakes in 2003 committing millions of dollars to clean up toxic hot spots. He is a man who swims in Lake Michigan for exercise and has an intimate connection to the environment. One environmentalist called Emanuel “the godfather of Great Lakes restoration”(Cleveland.Com).

Here is where Emanuel stands on economic and environmental issues:

Rahm Emanuel on the Environment

The environment is clearly a priority for Emanuel who

  • Voted YES on $9.7B for Amtrak improvements and operation thru 2013. (Jun 2008)
  • Voted YES on increasing AMTRAK funding by adding $214M to $900M. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted YES on barring website promoting Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump. (May 2006)
  • Voted NO on deauthorizing “critical habitat” for endangered species. (Sep 2005)
  • Voted NO on speeding up approval of forest thinning projects. (Nov 2003)
  • Rated 95% by the LCV, indicating pro-environment votes. (Dec 2003)
  • Inter-state compact for Great Lakes water resources. (Jul 2008)
  • Strengthen prohibitions against animal fighting. (Jan 2007)

Rahm Emanuel on Energy

Emanuel clearly supports a sustainable energy policy for America.  He

  • Voted YES on tax incentives for renewable energy. (Feb 2008)
  • Voted YES on investing in homegrown biofuel. (Aug 2007)
  • Voted YES on criminalizing oil cartels like OPEC. (May 2007)
  • Voted YES on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies. (Jan 2007)
  • Voted YES on keeping moratorium on drilling for oil offshore. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on scheduling permitting for new oil refinieries. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on authorizing construction of new oil refineries. (Oct 2005)
  • Voted NO on passage of the Bush Administration national energy policy. (Jun 2004)
  • Voted NO on implementing Bush-Cheney national energy policy. (Nov 2003)
  • Supports tradable emissions permits for greenhouse gases. (Aug 2000)
  • Establish greenhouse gas tradeable allowances. (Feb 2005)
  • Rated 67% by CAF, indicating a mixed record on energy independence. (Dec 2006)

Rahm Emanuel on the Budget & Economy

Emanuel clearly supports a sustainable economy. He

  • Voted YES on defining “energy emergency” on federal gas prices. (Jun 2008)
  • Voted YES on revitalizing severely distressed public housing. (Jan 2008)
  • Voted YES on regulating the subprime mortgage industry. (Nov 2007)
  • Voted NO on restricting bankruptcy rules. (Jan 2004)
  • Reform mortgage rules to prevent foreclosure & bankruptcy. (Feb 2008)

Barack Obama has already demonstrated that he is committed to the cause of the environment with his goal to create a new energy economy, green collar jobs, energy efficiency policies and provide stimulus to the alternative energy industries. Thursday’s appointment of Emanuel affirms this environmental emphasis.

As Obama continues to assemble his team, we are all watching closely to see who he will appoint as Treasury Secretary and Chief of the Environmental Protection Agency. But given Rahm Emanuel’s appointment to Chief of Staff, all signs look good for positive environmental economics in the new America.

Image credit: Wikipedia

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