In his most recent ad, an ad the Associated Press has labeled “misleading,” Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson makes the claim that Senator Russ Feingold actually supports oil drilling in the Great Lakes because in 2005 Sen. Feingold voted against an energy bill widely speculated to have been largely written by energy companies, a bill which also happened to include a ban on oil drilling in the Great Lakes. In his ad, Johnson makes the claim Sen. Feingold was the only Great Lakes Senator to vote against the bill (and the ban):
However, while Ron Johnson really really wants voters to believe Sen. Feingold was the only Great Lakes Senator to vote against the bill, Sen. Feingold was actually joined in opposition to the bill by then-Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Chuck Schumer, both of whom represented New York in the United States Senate. For those of you not versed in geography, New York also happens to have plenty of Lake Erie Lake Ontario andcoastline, which by my definition places it among the “Great Lakes” states. As the image above clearly demonstrates, both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Schumer voted against the 2005 energy bill in question.
However while we’re on the topic of Sen. Feingold’s efforts to ban Great Lakes oil drilling, let’s take a look at Sen. Feingold’s real record on the issue:
- In 2001, Feingold cosponsored the Great Lakes Water Protection Act, which gave states incentives to forbid new leases for drilling in the Great Lakes.
- In October 2001, Sen. Feingold cosponsored a successful amendment to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 2002 to forbid drilling for oil and gas in the Great Lakes until a study could be completed on its potentially devastating impacts.
The fact is, despite Ron Johnson’s attempts to distort Sen. Feingold’s record, it’s clear Sen. Feingold has made protecting the Great Lakes a priority during his time as Wisconsin’s United States Senator. Russ Feingold has a record to be proud of when it comes to protecting the Great Lakes, while Ron Johnson’s made it clear he’d exploit the Great Lakes as much as necessary to pull some oil out of the ground beneath them.