McCain and the Environment

UPDATE (9-05-08): A far more accurate description of McCain's current environmental views can be found HERE. 

UPDATE (8-29-08): This post was written many many months ago before John McCain more clearly delineated his environmental policies. Thousands of people stumble on this post all the time, looking for insight into McCain's view on the environment. For quite a while, I have felt I was doing readers a disservice by leaving this post out there even though it doesn't reflect the current beliefs of John McCain. For that reason, I am now including links to several recent posts that will provide a more complete portrait of what John McCain will do, if elected President, with the environment...
  • To see a short description of McCain's VP, Gov. Sarah Palin's environmental views, click HERE.
  • To read about McCain's interest in drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, click HERE.
  • To read about McCain's misleading campaign ad on wind energy, click HERE.
  • To read about the sudden campaign cash influx McCain received from oil executives after his flip-flop on offshore oil drilling, click HERE.
  • To read about McCain's 0% rating by the League of Conservation Voters, click HERE.
I don't mean to offend anyone, but most Republicans pay lip service to the environment. Theodore Roosevelt set a great example for Republicans through his dedication to conserving our natural environment. He sowed the seeds for the Wildlife Refuge system, the United States Forest Service, and the National Park system. Unfortunately, an emphasis on supporting business has trumped conservation in the Party and their environmental policies have suffered.

Senator John McCain offers hope to those who are both Republicans and environmentalists (no, they are not mutually exclusive). Among a Republican primary pack of candidates who are more interested in old energy technologies then new, McCain stands out as a realist. What are McCain's views on the environment and what is his record?

John McCain has kept pace with the environmental movement.
  • In 2002, McCain introduced a bill that would raise fuel-economy standards to 36 miles per gallon by 2016. It took five years for a similar law to pass in the Senate.
  • In 2003, before "An Inconvenient Truth," McCain co-sponsored the first bill in the Senate to mandate reductions in the emissions. A watered-down version of the law passed last Fall.
  • He held hearings in 2003 & 2004 on climate change while he was Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee.
  • He opposed the 2005 Cheney energy bill (like Clinton, but not Obama) because of its oil industry give-aways.
  • He has always opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • Finally, he supports a cap-and-trade program for factory emissions.
To label McCain as an environmentalist would be misleading, however. In keeping with his "maverick" reputation, McCain has supported some issues that make true environmentalists unhappy.
  • The League of Conservation Voters has scored McCain a paltry 26% compared to Obama and Clinton in the 90% range. However, they did endorse McCain in his 2004 campaign.
  • Supports the development of more nuclear power plants.
  • Believes continued coal use should be considered. Also supports development of coal gasification and carbon capture/storage for coal plants.
  • Voted against the 2007 energy bill which mandated improved fuel economy standards by 2020 (to be fair, it isn't clear why he voted against this very watered-down bill)
  • Voted against a 2005 bill that set standards for the U.S. to diversify its energy portfolio to include 10% renewables by 2020.
  • Opposed President Clinton's "roadless rule" in the National Forest system which would have prevented timber companies from taking trees from reserves.
Frankly, McCain's environmental record is far more good then bad. He has truly been at the fore front of some controversial issues, and he should be applauded for that. In the past 2 years, it seems he has regressed in his support for some of these issues.

If you want to read an interview with Senator McCain about the environment, go HERE.

To read Senator McCain's environmental platform straight from his '08 candidacy website, go HERE.


  1. "Frankly, McCain's environmental record is far more good then bad."

    Might want to have someone proof-read your essays. I think you're being a little too kind by ignoring his sharp turns in the last couple years, during which he's become much more typically Republican toward the environment.

  2. To Anonymous: Thank you for your comment. I have written almost 400 posts on this blog since I started it almost two years ago. I think its important to take that into consideration before you leave a comment on just one post that was written several months ago.

    Since I wrote this post, Senator McCain has made significant changes to his environmental platform. In addition to supporting offshore oil drilling, he is in favor of greatly expanding the use of nuclear power plants in the U.S. He says he supports conservation efforts yet he mocks the real steps necessary to conserve energy.

    Keep in mind that all of these changes took place in June of this year. I encourage you to look at my more recent posts that more accurately reflect McCain's current views on the environment than a post written many many months ago.

    I think reading this post with a critical eye would also show that McCain's record on the environment became increasingly conservative as this election neared. Again, I urge you to look at many of my posts on McCain's record, rather than reading one out of 400 and then telling me to have someone proofread my "essays."

  3. To be fair, I was just linked to this particular blog and did not know you wrote anything else. By just looking at this particular blog, how would I have known there were 400 more essays. Thank you for writing about this though. As someone who is trying to get the facts straight, this is a nice blog!

  4. it doesn't talk about his views on the environment.