Friday, February 22, 2008

Environmentalists Should NOT vote for McCain

Info from the League of Conservation Voters

WASHINGTON, DC, February 21, 2008 (ENS) - In the 2007 National Environmental Scorecard released today by the League of Conservation Voters, Republican presidential hopeful Senator John McCain received a score of zero. The Scorecard is an annual measure of lawmakers' votes on environmental issues.

McCain scored 0 due to missing all 15 votes scored, including the key vote on repealing tax giveaways to big oil - a measure that failed by only one vote.

McCain was the only member of Congress to skip every crucial environmental vote scored by the LCV, posting a score lower than members of Congress who were out for much of the year due to serious illnesses, and even lower than some who died during the term.

Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope said, "We were appalled two weeks ago when John McCain was the only senator who chose to skip a crucial vote on the future of clean energy in America - dooming the measure to fail by just a single vote."

"McCain missed votes to save his constituents $499 million dollars at the pump and at least $550 million on their energy bills, while creating more than 10,000 new clean energy jobs in his home state," said Pope.

McCain posts a lifetime LCV environmental score of only 24. By contrast, the average member of Congress scored a 53 in 2007.

McCain has received the endorsement of Republicans for Environmental Protection, the only environmental group recognized by the National Republican Party.


Rob Sisson said...

HI Jerome- This is going to be a long comment (it is REP's response to the LCV scorecard). And, REP is not approved or endorsed by the National party...we just recently convinced them to list us as a Republican group. Rob

It is unfortunate that the release of the LCV scorecard has resulted in a mischaracterization of Senator John McCain’s environmental record.

Senator McCain received a zero score on LCV’s 2007 scorecard because he missed the 15 votes scored by LCV. Under the LCV’s rating system, a missed vote counts the same as an anti-environment vote.

However, Senator McCain did not miss those votes because he is hostile to the environment. He missed those votes because he has been running a very time-consuming presidential primary campaign against leading contenders who do not currently hold office. Missed votes due to campaign demands are not an indicator of Senator McCain's environmental positions or record. To imply that they are is disingenuous.

In fact, on many of the issues represented by the LCV scorecard, the Senator’s record has already made his position clear. One example of this is the vote on reforming the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The amendment language echoed McCain’s own legislation, yet LCV penalizes Senator McCain for missing the vote as much as it penalizes Senator Barack Obama for voting against the measure.

It is also important to note that Senator McCain’s presidential campaign has altered the political landscape by making a case for strong environmental stewardship in the Republican primaries. During his campaign, Senator McCain has spoken out repeatedly, often at great political risk, about the need to fight global warming, increase automobile fuel economy, and protect wild places. Regardless of what happens in November, he has changed the environmental debate within the Republican Party, which in and of itself has been an enormous public service.

More than any other presidential candidate, Republican or Democrat, John McCain has been a leader on addressing climate change. His leadership and persistence has moved Congress closer to adopting firm limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2003, McCain has been introducing and securing votes on his strong cap-and-trade bill, the Climate Stewardship Act. He also educated his colleagues--from both sides of the aisle--about the need for a strong climate bill. He has taken fellow members of Congress to the far ends of the earth to build support for addressing climate change. Neither of his likely Democratic rivals has exhibited similar dedication and leadership on this issue.

Unfortunately, the Sierra Club has chosen to overlook Senator McCain’s contributions to good stewardship. Instead of celebrating having a conservation-minded Republican nominee, the Sierra Club has chosen to launch vicious attacks against him. When LCV released its scorecard, the Sierra Club almost immediately went public with a harsh and inaccurate statement saying that the 2007 scorecard exposes Senator McCain’s “lifetime record of voting with polluters and special interests.” Such a statement is inexplicable.

We are greatly disappointed that the Sierra Club has passed up an opportunity to cultivate a positive relationship with Senator McCain and instead chosen to indulge in inflammatory rhetoric. The statement gives rise to an understandable suspicion that the club is letting a partisan agenda trump its mission of non-partisan environmental advocacy.

Senator McCain’s record, as documented by REP’s Congressional Scorecard, speaks for itself.

In 2005 and 2006, Senator McCain:

* Voted YES on several pieces of legislation to block oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

* Voted YES on legislation that he and Joe Lieberman developed to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

* Voted YES on an amendment to prohibit funding of new logging roads in the Tongass National Forest.

* Voted NO on an energy bill that would have subsidized fossil fuel energy development at the expense of renewable energy technologies.

* Voted NO on an amendment that would have weakened motor vehicle fuel economy standards.

* Voted YES on a motion to block legislation weakening stormwater cleanup requirements.

* Voted YES on an amendment, which he sponsored, that would have required independent review of Army Corps of Engineers water projects, which would have been a strong deterrent to funding of politically popular but environmentally harmful projects.

This is hardly the record of a senator who votes with “polluters and special interests.”

As LCV noted in releasing its scorecard, missing votes is an occupational hazard for sitting members of Congress who run for president, especially in this era of very long and expensive campaign cycles. Again, we must emphasize that missing votes on environmental issues does not indicate anything about Senator McCain’s position on the environment.

It is always best if members of Congress have a strong voting attendance record, but the hard reality is that if Senator McCain had not run the time-consuming campaign that he has run, he very likely would not be the presumptive Republican nominee for president. While Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama made it to more of the votes, they were able to key off each other, showing up to the same votes and missing the same votes.

If McCain had not prevailed in the primaries this year, that would have been a terrible setback for the cause to which all of us in REP are devoted. His presidential campaign is the political opportunity of a generation. For the first time since the 1960s, the Republican presidential nominee will be a public servant who “gets it” on the environment and is prepared to sign into law strong legislation to protect the environment.

Thanks to John McCain, America will have a strong law on the books in the coming year to safeguard our global climate, the most urgent environmental challenge of our time.

We strongly urge all of our members to evaluate Senator McCain’s record in its totality. You will find that his environmental record meets the tough standards that REP has set, and that’s why we enthusiastically support his candidacy for president.

Jerome Alicki said...

Okay Rob, Keep your cool. What I was trying to do was be a little sarcastic in this post. I'm not at all someone who wants to be involved in the political fray, but this time I had to point out what is assuredly a statement that is only meant to create a reaction from those being attacked, I thought that it was obvious and imagine most folks can see right through this type of manipulation. In this case it forces McCain to spend time and money on defending/proving the status of his environmental record - I don't have any idea what that record actually is after reading this LCV report and then your response. This type of rhetoric forces voters like me to doubt the system even more.