I am one of those environmentally conscious liberals who has, over the years, had an unfriendly word or ten to say about Congressman John Dingell. For many years he fought the raising of CAFE mileage standards and that really bothered me. But, since that time, I can honestly say that Congressman Dingell has become someone I not only admire, he has become a friend. So, I was very pleased to learn the that the Detroit Free Press had chosen Congressman Dingell as one of their 2011 Michigan Green Leaders.
John Dingell hasn’t always been environmentalists’ most darling member of Congress, it’s true.
But if the longest-serving member ever in the U.S. House has angered some by battling for Detroit’s automakers against tougher fuel economy standards, he has also built a record of conservation and habitat protection that is the envy of green leaders everywhere.
He helped pass the 1990 Clean Air Act changes, wrote the Endangered Species Act and was an architect of the Clean Water Act — three pieces of legislation that, taken together, compose some of the strongest environmental protections Americans enjoy.
Meanwhile, Dingell, 84, of Dearborn has received accolades from the League of Conservation Voters and been an indefatigable advocate and sponsor of saving and preserving wetlands and endangered habitat, including the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.
Not many people know about his involvement with the Clean Water Act or that he wrote the Endangered Species Act. And, I should point out, Congressman Dingell did eventually come to support higher fuel efficiency standards. By doing this, he taught me that you can learn and adapt as a politician and not have it hurt you politically.
Anyway, I’m proud to know the Congressman and proud of his many achievements. This is a very well-earned award.
Congressman John Dingell (right) and some bald dude (Eclectablog)
I’m just sayin’…