Press Releases & Bulletins

June 1, 2000

The Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division Muskie-Chafee Award honors a current or former federal employee who, in large measure through government work, has made significant contributions to protecting our nation's environment, public lands, and natural resources, and fulfilling of our nation's responsibilities to Native Americans and their natural resources. Named after two leaders of the modern environmental movement, Senator Edmund S. Muskie and Senator John H. Chafee, the award was presented this year for the second time. The first recipient was Dinah Bear, General Counsel of the President's Council on Environmental Quality since the early 80's.

The Muskie-Chafee Award recognizes that enforcement, defense, and implementation of our nation's environmental laws, regulations, and treaties protecting Native American resources are critical to the preservation of our environment. The unwavering commitment and tireless efforts of federal employees make those laws, regulations, and treaties real. Often these people work with little recognition and compensation. They do so because they believe strongly that protecting our environment is important, for this generation and those to come. Today we honor with the first Muskie-Chafee Award one of the many federal employees, past and present, whose work and dedication has made a real difference in protecting our environment.

Senator Edmund S. Muskie (1914-1996) of Maine served in the United States Senate for 22 years. During that time, as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environmental Pollution of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, he made an enduring contribution to public health and welfare. As the author of the nation's landmark environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, Senator Muskie established himself as the Senate's leader in Environmental legislation. Through these and subsequent laws, Senator Muskie left a legacy as a pioneer in the protection of the environment. Senator Muskie retired from the Senate in 1980 to serve as Secretary of State under President Carter. He received many awards during his public career including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Former Members of Congress, and the Notre Dame Laetare Medal.

Senator John H. Chafee (1922-1999), throughout his long and illustrious career, proved himself a unique leader in the not-always-popular fight to protect our nation's natural resources. Among his many accomplishments, Senator Chafee authored cornerstone legislation such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Oil Pollution Act, and the Coastal Barrier Resources Act. He also helped to strengthen and safeguard environmental and conservation protections through such laws as the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act. From expanding the National Wildlife Refuge system and providing for the reduction of ozone destroying chemicals, to establishing an environmentally-focused national transportation policy, Senator Chafee helped ensure the health and accessibility of the natural world for all Americans. As a moderated Republican, Senator Chafee was successful in blunting anti-environmental initiatives, while helping to build strong bi-partisan consensus for more progressive approaches to environmental protection. His leadership earned him universal respect in both political and conservation circles.

Charles W. "Spinner" Findlay, III

Mr. Findlay began working for ENRD in December 1978 as a trial attorney in the "Marine Resources Section." Before coming to ENRD, Mr. Findlay worked at the Department of Interior's Office of Legislation and the Solicitor's Office. While at the Solicitor's Office, Mr. Findlay served as a key contact on the legislation, executive orders, and regulations relating to the creation of the Department of Energy. During his tenure at Interior, Mr. Findlay spent six months on detail to the Council of Economic Advisors. In 1981, Mr. Findlay transferred from ENRD's Marine Resources Section to the General Litigation Section, where he has served as an Assistant Section Chief since 1998.

May 31, 2000

It is a pleasure and an honor to join with you today for presentation of the second annual Muskie/Chafee Award. The timing of this award could not be more propitious.

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court announced that it would review the fundamental underlying principle of the nation's clean air laws written over a 15-year period by Senator Edmund Muskie. That fundamental principle is that science, not politics, should inform the public on the effects of air pollution on public health and welfare.

This principle, supported unanimously in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives, endorsed and advocated by the administration of President Richard M. Nixon, and upheld repeatedly in the federal courts, will now be the subject of review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

We knew the Supreme Court was going to review the non-delegation doctrine articulated in the National Air Quality Standards challenge. We did not know that the Court would also choose to review what virtually everyone believed has been a settled issue.

It will fall to the Justice Department, through your Solicitor, to make the case defending this fundamental principle of the Clean Air Act. It is an enormous and important challenge. To you, it will be a matter of law. To me and those of us who worked with Senator Muskie and Senator Chafee, it will be a matter of legacy. More important, the outcome will determine whether or not this country continues on a path of environmental policy on which we are the global leader and on which our public has come to depend.

Again, it is an honor to be here and it is an honor to help recognize Charles "Spinner" Findlay, the recipient of this year's Muskie/Chafee Award.