Dold blasts Schneider after accusation about Lake Michigan oil drilling vote

  • Robert Dold, left, hopes to reclaim the 10th Congressional District seat from Brad Schneider on Nov. 4.

    Robert Dold, left, hopes to reclaim the 10th Congressional District seat from Brad Schneider on Nov. 4.

 
 
Updated 10/26/2014 1:07 AM

During two political campaigns, U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider repeatedly has accused Republican rival Robert Dold of voting to allow oil drilling in Lake Michigan when Dold served in Congress.

Dold insists the allegation is "absolutely 100-percent incorrect." He maintains he never voted to legalize drilling in Lake Michigan in the two years he served as Illinois' 10th District representative.

 

A Daily Herald examination showed Dold did oppose a motion in early 2012 that included an amendment banning new drilling permits in the Great Lakes and Florida's Everglades.

At the time, such drilling already was illegal and had been for several years.

Additionally, the measure was a maneuver called a motion to recommit, not an up-and-down vote on new legislation. Motions to recommit merely provide a final chance to amend a bill before a full House vote.

Dold dismissed the motion as "procedural stuff" in a Daily Herald interview.

Schneider said it doesn't matter if Dold's vote was on a procedural motion or actual legislation.

"Every single vote matters," Schneider said in a separate interview. "It was an amendment to a bill ... and he voted against that amendment."

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The Schneider-Dold contest in the 10th District is a rematch of the 2012 congressional race. That year, Schneider, of Deerfield, narrowly defeated Kenilworth's Dold to knock him out of office after one term.

The district includes parts of Cook and Lake counties, stretching from Lake Michigan into the North and Northwest suburbs.

Dold's environmental record was an issue in the 2012 campaign, too. And like now, Schneider was focused on that motion to recommit -- although he didn't identify it that way in interviews.

According to the legislative glossary at congress.gov, motions to recommit in the U.S. House can only be proposed by members of the minority party. In 2012, that would have been the Democrats.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle and journalists have noted these motions can be gimmicks used to force lawmakers to take votes on politically sensitive topics. Those votes then can be attacked by opponents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The motion with the Lake Michigan language was proposed Feb. 14, 2012. It would have amended legislation about drilling by restricting permits "in, under or within 5 miles of any of the Great Lakes or the Florida Everglades."

However, drilling for oil in the Great Lakes already has been banned since the 2005 Energy Policy Act.

The motion failed 241-176. Two Florida Republicans broke with their party and voted to pass the measure, according to govtracks.us.

Illinois' entire Republican delegation voted against the measure. All of the state's Democratic representatives voted for it.

Dold's campaign said he voted against all of the motions to recommit he faced as a lawmaker, on principle.

Schneider was questioned about his oft-repeated drilling accusation during Daily Herald interviews in 2012 and again this month.

In the latest session, Schneider insisted Dold's vote on the motion to recommit essentially was a vote "allowing drilling in Lake Michigan."

"He voted against a motion that would have precluded drilling in the Great Lakes," Schneider said. "I don't know how you can interpret that any other way."

Dold lashed out at Schneider about the issue Wednesday in a head-to-head debate on WTTW 11's "Chicago Tonight."

"I have never voted to drill in Lake Michigan, nor would I," he said.

Dold then accused Schneider of trying to "score cheap political points" with the claim.

"I'm an Eagle Scout and a scout master, and I do believe the environment is absolutely critical," Dold told moderator Carol Marin.

Schneider responded by touting the high marks and endorsements he's received from the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club.

"I am committed to making sure we protect our environment," Schneider said.

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