Senator Edmund S. Muskie


Muskie began his political career in the Maine House of Representatives, to which he was elected in 1946, 1948 and 1950. A Democrat in an overwhelmingly Republican state, he was able to rise to the position of minority floor leader during his second term. Shortly after he began his third term, he resigned from the House to become state director of the federal Office of Price Stabilization, a position he held until July 1952. He also represented Maine on the Democratic National Committee from 1952 to 1956, ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Waterville in 1947, was a member and secretary of the Waterville Board of Zoning Adjustment from 1948 to 1955, and served as Waterville's city solicitor in 1954.

After two successful terms as governor, Muskie challenged incumbent U.S. senator Frederick Payne in 1958 and again was victorious. He served in the U.S. Senate for 21 years, winning overwhelming reelection in 1964, 1970 and 1976. During his tenure he served on the Banking and Currency, Foreign Relations, Government Operations (later Governmental Affairs), and Environment and Public Works Committees, the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Affairs and the Special Committee on Aging. In the 1970s he was the founder and first chair of the Senate Committee on the Budget, co-chaired the National Study Commission on Water Pollution, chaired the Legislative Review Committee of the Democratic Policy Committee, and was a member of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In these positions, he sponsored landmark federal environmental protection laws, including the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Clean Water Act of 1972, oversaw efforts to strengthen cooperation between federal, state and local government agencies, and worked to provide stricter congressional oversight of the federal budget-writing process.

In the late 1960s Muskie emerged as a national political figure. The 1968 Democratic president nominee, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, selected Muskie as his vice presidential running mate. Although the ticket was defeated, his work that fall was credited with overcoming the deep divisions in the party over the Vietnam War and closing a wide gap with Republican candidates Richard M. Nixon and Spiro T. Agnew. Four years later he made a strong bid for the 1972 Democratic Party nomination for the presidency.

Digital Clean Air and Water Act hearing transcripts


Transcripts of hearings before the Senate Committee on Public Works, its Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution and its Subcommittee on Water Quality from June 2 to October 19, 1971 on legislation that resulted in the Clean Water Act of 1972; and of hearings before the Senate Committee on Public Works and the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce from Sept. 21 to Sept. 29, 1976 on legislation that resulted in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977.

Clean Air Act Transcripts.

Clean Water Act Transcripts.

Senator Muskie's response letter to Suzanne Clune

Suzanne Clune Letter to Senator Muskie

Muskie Calls for Heavy Federal Commitment to Fight Pollution

Not good Enough, Mr. Nixon

Muskie Hails Nixon's "Rhetoric of Concern" on Pollution but wants Specifics

Morton's Ties to Polluters Need Airing

Water Pollution Fight is Costly

Earth Day 1980 - Toward a "New Conservation," April 21, 1980

A Whole Society, Earth Day Speech, April 22, 1970

Statement Opening Senate Consideration of the National Air Quality Standards Act of 1970

Press release - Muskie Draws Conclusions from Machiasport Hearings

Press release - Muskie Brings Tough Air Pollution Bill to Floor