The State of Maine is blessed with a history of impressive and respected politicians. Among others, the list includes James Blaine, Margaret Chase Smith, and Edmund S. Muskie. The State now must add the name of George J. Mitchell to these ranks. A native son of Waterville, Maine, he attended Bowdoin College, Georgetown University Law Center, and eventually catapulted himself into one of the most powerful political positions in the United States government when he was elected as majority leader of the United States Senate. During his tenure as majority leader, he helped to redefine the position through his strong work ethic, sense of fairness, and orientation toward results in the Senate. This Comment summarizes some of those results through an environmental lens, focusing on Mitchell's contributions to federal environmental legislation in the late 1980s. As Mitchell served in the Senate for fourteen years, six as the majority leader, he sponsored or cosponsored countless pieces of legislation. Environmental protection, however, always was a focus of his public service. In that vein, this Comment canvasses Senator Mitchell's influence on the provisions of the Water Quality Act of 1987, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, three major legislative accomplishments aimed at protecting the environment. This Comment analyzes those provisions of each Act for which Senator Mitchell fought most ardently and discusses the different tactics and strategies he employed to secure passage of each of these important bills. Finally, this Comment is a tribute to a Maine native who dedicated his life to public service. This Author recognizes that no one Senator could be solely responsible for any of these three pieces of environmental legislation. Nonetheless, only a few Senators held the key to passage of each of these acts. George J. Mitchell was one of the those Senators. Senator Mitchell's contributions to environmental law can be understood only by viewing his Senate career in context. First, Mitchell served as a Federal District Court Judge for the District of Maine.
Michael R. Bosse,
George J. Mitchell: Maine's Environmental Senator,
Me. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/mlr/vol47/iss1/7