McCain's Environmentalist VP

John McCain is more of an environmentalist than most Republicans. He is in the Schwarzenegger camp when it comes to curbing global warming and ending reliance on foreign oil. Lately, McCain has shied away from his environmentalist roots in order to appeal to a more business friendly conservative base. Hopefully that is a trend he will avoid in the very near future.

One sign that McCain is still an environmentalist at heart is his considerations for a running mate. So far, two names have been circulated that give hope to those in the environmental community who fear a Republican win in November.

The first name often circulated as a potential running mate is Florida Governor Charlie Crist. I am a Floridian who has been transplanted to Washington, DC. The environment in Florida is a very important issue because the economy there relies on tourists flocking to clean, beautiful beaches. Also, Florida is home to the Everglades National Park, a very sensitive ecosystem that has been abused for years. Not to mention that as the "Sunshine State" Florida has a great position as a leader on solar power. So what are Crist's environmental accomplishments to date?

  • Crist opposed and halted the planned development of 3 new coal power plants in Florida, including 1 located in the Everglades.
  • Crist has signed a moratorium on coal power plant development.
  • Under Crist's leadership Florida is planning on building the world's largest solar-thermal power plant.
  • Crist supported & signed a law expanding restoration of the Everglades ecosystem to include Lake Okeechobee and areas farther North.
  • Crist has increased regulations on farmers growing crops along the Everglades with tougher wastewater residual standards, faster development of total maximum daily load standards for the Caloosahatchee, and a multi-agency plan for cleaner agriculture practices.
  • The 2007-08 budget he signed includes $200 million for Everglades restoration.
  • Crist coordinated and hosted a Climate Summit in Florida to begin a dialog among environmental and business leaders on how to address the challenge of global climate change.
  • Crist has agreed to cut Florida's greenhouse gas emissions by 10% in just 7 years and by 80% by 2050.
  • Crist has pledged to make the state's buildings and operations more environmentally friendly.
  • Read an interview with Gov. Crist on his environmental record HERE
Another name mentioned as a possible running mate for John McCain is Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty is the Chairman of the National Governors Association and a conservative Republican in a state that leans Democratic. So what are Pawlenty's green credentials?
  • Pawlenty is a proponent of clean, renewable energy. In his role as head of the National Governors Association, he has presented state standards for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • He proposed and approved creation of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program that conserves 120,000 acres of land surrounding environmentally sensitive water bodies.
  • Pawlenty helped to create the Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Pawlenty created four million acres of "certified sustainable forests," the nationals largest area of such forest land.
  • Pawlenty directed lottery funds to the Natural Resources Trust Fund.
  • Pawlenty created a wetland monitoring program for prairie wetlands.
  • Pawlenty approved laws that reduced mercury emissions from Minnesota's power plants.
  • Pawlenty supported the "Community Based Energy Development Tariff" that helps fund development of local wind and clean energy sources along with a goal of 800 megawatts of locally created renewable electricity by 2010.
  • Pawlenty has proposed a constitutional amendment dedicating some state sales tax for improved water monitoring, cleaning and remediation.
  • Pawlenty signed a law that makes it more difficult for ATV riders to drive through forests. Forests must be independently evaluated to ensure they are able to handle the impact of ATVs before riders can enter the forests legally.
If you want to learn more about John McCain's environmental platform and policies you can click HERE and HERE. And make sure to sign the petition urging McCain to run a carbon neutral presidential campaign.

A funny video of Bush & McCain


  1. I think the Governor of Minnesota is Tim Pawlenty, not Jim.

  2. I'm a Minnesotan and Pawlenty is no green backer. For instance, he had NOTHING to do with lottery proceeds being directed it the environment. He is a sham governor and should not be promoted.

  3. You are failing to see the forest for the trees. Regardless of whatever these guys did in the past, the truth is that the people who will turn out for them in November are uniformly anti-environment regressives and religious nutjobs. You need to look at the wider scope, not the individual candidates.

    Republicans, especially, are dedicated above all else to their party platform (in this context, this means no environment regulation and no corporate responsibility for anything else); for structural reasons related to fundraising and voter outreach, Republicans at the federal level cannot escape this bondage.

    That said, let me add a couple of individual datapoints about McCain, as they are germane to your thesis:

    - McCain's campaign is literally, yes, literally run by corporate lobbyists. Not exactly known for being stewards of the earth.

    - McCain has promised to appoint more fringe-right lawyers like Scalia and Thomas to the Supreme Court. That means for the environmental regulations the same thing it does for female and minority civil rights: there won't be any more of them, and what there are will be taken away.

    You're going to be sorry with these guys. Work hard to get Democrats elected, and you'll have your environment. The GOP will drown us in a stinking pile of toxic sludge and make us pay for it by raising our taxes (calling it something else all the while, and waving a giant American flag).

  4. I just want to take a moment to respond to both comments. First, I think that on the issue of lottery proceeds in Minnesota for the environment, it is true that Pawlenty did not initiate that policy. However, he did sign it. Right now we have a President who would veto anything that he believed ran counter to his corporate supporters. It would be progress to have people in the White House who balanced their views with those of the other branches of government.

    In terms of the second comment, my first choice is a Democrat in office. However, it is just as blind to believe that anyone with a "D" by their name is going to drastically change our environmental priorities. I was terribly disappointed by the Democrats' 2007 energy bill. It failed to put renewable energy center stage and continued to give oil & coal companies tax breaks and subsidies. I was also disappointed by the supposed CAFE reforms that were merely long-term goals for auto makers rather than real regulations. The most important vehicles, SUVs and trucks, were not included in the new increasing fuel efficiency standards. I understand there are a multitude of reasons why the Democrats in Congress struggled to get their priorities passed, but I watched the Republicans for several years make fools of Democrats and get some completely irresponsible legislation passed. Why do the Democrats repeatedly compromise away our principles? Its very frustrating.

    When I see Republicans like Arnold and Crist, I have faith that at least there is a possibility of progress. For some reason, they are capable of getting legislation passed in a way that Democrats are not. Now I don't share almost any of their ideals. On social issues, they attack my life directly. However, Crist is the real deal. I lived in Florida, I witnessed his accomplishments. He ran in a right-leaning state on a platform of civil unions and stopping global warming. My point in the blog was that if McCain were to win, at least having Crist in there would offer some solace.

    Also, lets not fool ourselves into thinking that Democrats offer all of the hope and possibility we are seeking. Obama supported Cheney's 2005 Energy Bill because the special interests of agriculture and coal in Illinois forced him to. Clinton supported oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Obama has taken thousands from a nuclear energy company. His Campaign Manager served as an advisor to that nuclear energy company. Whoever gets elected, whether Democrat or Republican, environmentalists will have to light a fire under them to ensure that our priorities are not overlooked because our priorities provide economic, foreign and environmental security. I just believe that unless Nader magically gets elected, we have to take what we can get and I'd feel much better knowing an environmentalist VP was on the ticket with McCain.