Environment issues: Where the candidates stand

Environment issues: Where the candidates stand
April 1, 2000


While the leading Presidential candidates haven’t said a great deal about their positions on such key environment issues as global warming and private property protections, the early primaries and caucuses have forced them to tip their hands at least a bit.

The position statements and quotes below are taken from the candidates’ campaign materials, their responses to a survey sponsored by the Sustainable Energy Coalition (as reported by Environment News Network), and responses to a survey conducted by the League of Conservation Voters.


Global Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol

George Bush

  • “…recognizes that global warming should be taken seriously but will require any decisions to be based on the best science; opposes Kyoto Protocol.”
  • Calls the treaty, “a bad deal for America and Americans” and said “America must work with businesses . . . to develop new technologies to reduce harmful missions.”

John McCain

  • “The question of whether human activity is significantly altering the global climate is a scientific question, not a political question. We should conduct further scientific studies to understand fully the environmental and economic dimensions and consequences of the problem. And, we must make sure that any necessary remedies are based on sound science, produce tangible, cost effective benefits and are part of an international effort.”
  • “I have concerns about the Kyoto treaty because it fails to include the cooperation of countries such as China and India. A problem that is serious enough to require U.S. action, should require the responsible participation of other major countries as well.”

Bill Bradley

  • Global warming is a “serious problem” that “we need to confront . . . without further delay.”
  • “We need to confront the threat of ever-increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and we must do so without further delay. I support the Kyoto protocols as an important first step. The U.S. is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases.”

Al Gore

  • “There is overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is contributing to global warming . . . which can lead to serious public health consequences . . . and extreme weather.”
  • “I personally participated in bringing the Kyoto negotiations to a successful conclusion. I believe that this obligation must be met regardless of when or whether the Senate approves the specific targets, timetables, and mechanisms in the Kyoto Protocol.”


Public Lands

George Bush

  • “ . . . reinvest in America’s natural resources by fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and guarantee a 50 percent share of the LWCF for state and local conservation.”
  • “. . . supports conservation of land, wetlands, and habitat, particularly by private landowners.”

John McCain

  • “The state side of the program has been ignored and all of the money diverted to Washington’s priorities. I believe we must revitalize the [LWCF] to help states more effectively meet hometown conservation goals.”
  • Said he would repeal President Clinton’s ban on new roads in 50 million acres and the creation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
  • Opposed the creation of the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument and Agua-Fria National Monument in Arizona.


Bill Bradley

  • “America’s remaining wild forests deserve and need full protection.”
  • As Senator helped protect 15,000 acres of Sterling Forest (New York/New Jersey) from commercial development
  • Fought to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Tongass National Forest in Alaska from oil drilling as Senator.
  • Supported creation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.


Al Gore

  • Supported creation of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, and others.
  • “We must continue to seek full, mandatory funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
  • “The challenge for our next President will be to protect the value of additional roadless areas that have not yet been formally inventoried by the Forest Service. I am committed to completing this work.”


Ethanol

George Bush

  • “Supports tax incentives for use of ethanol [because] not only is it good for the farmer, it is good for the quality of air all across America.”


John McCain

  • Ethanol is “simply an outdated subsidy for corn producers [and] an example of the influence of special interests in Washington.”
  • “Ethanol is good neither for the environment nor the consumer.”


Bill Bradley

  • Opposed the ethanol tax breaks as Senator.
  • Now says “for farmers in the Midwest, ethanol makes sense. Ethanol is an important part of the reformulated gasoline program in the country.”


Al Gore

  • “I have a consistent record of shoring up the farm-safety net.”
  • Strong supporter of ethanol.


Personal environmental accomplishments

George Bush

  • Claims air quality in Texas has improved since he became governor.


John McCain

  • One top accomplishment is “my role in protecting 3.5 million acres of pristine lands in my home state of Arizona as wilderness in perpetuity.”
  • “enactment of legislation I sponsored to protect Grand Canyon National Park from the noise pollution associated with excessive air tour overflights.”


Bill Bradley

  • “. . . supports the new ambient air quality standards adopted by the EPA and overturned in court. Would work vigorously to restore those standards.”
  • “supports the redevelopment of brownfields”


Al Gore

  • “One of the Administration’s proudest and most important initiatives has been to implement a Forest Service policy that will better protect roadless and undeveloped areas of our National Forests. This is a policy we have defended against the assaults of the special interests, which too often have considered our National Forests as a private domain rather than a public trust.”