By Senator Sheldon Whitehouse | 63 Am. U. L. Rev. 1517 (2014)
Thank you for inviting me to speak at today’s Symposium, “Climate Power Play: Financial, Legislative, and Regulatory Moves Toward a New Energy Economy.” I come from Rhode Island, where we take our environment and our state nickname—the Ocean State —very seriously. This was perhaps best exemplified by an exchange between Senator Theodore Francis Green, a Rhode Island Senator of great longevity, and one of his Senate colleagues. Green had apparently done something to annoy a fellow Senator, who then turned to him and said, “Theodore, how big is that little state of yours anyway?” Green looked coolly back at him and said, “Well, that would depend wouldn’t it—high tide or low tide?”
My point here is that what’s happening out there, particularly in our oceans, means a lot for Rhode Island, and that makes it a real pleasure for me to be here with you to have this conversation about climate change. I am perhaps the most optimistic person in the Senate—perhaps the most optimistic person in Congress—about our ability to get something done on this issue. And let me take a few minutes here to take you through my case.