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Doug Ose Was Dirty Then, Dirty Now; Bera is Running Clean (CA-07)

The campaign to represent California’s 7th House District is a clear contest between old and new. The incumbent is a freshman who is looking ahead to innovative, clean energy sources of the future. The challenger is a former congressman from a previous generation whose views on climate change and fossil energy are almost as old as the fuels themselves.

The incumbent, Dr. Ami Bera, is a physician by training. With his background in science, he understands the facts about climate change. Bera strongly supports government action to address the climate challenge. Bera has said that “Creating a clean energy future would generate millions of jobs, help our economy, and improve our lives. We can lead the way if we recognize the intersection of environmental sustainability, economic growth, national security and public health.”

Bera’s votes echo his rhetoric. He has earned a 93 percent score from the League of Conservation Voters for his first term in office. He consistently voted in favor of climate action, against taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil, and in favor of protecting bedrock environmental laws like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Bera has also sponsored legislation to promote public-private partnerships to increase energy efficiency.

In contrast to Bera’s forward-looking approach, Doug Ose is stuck in the past. As a congressman from 1999 to 2005, Ose was already on the wrong side of history with his support for dirty energy and his votes against environmental protection. During his three congressional terms, Ose earned a pitiful 12 percent lifetime LCV score. He voted to increase offshore and Arctic drilling and opposed legislation to reduce smog pollution and increase energy efficiency and vehicle fuel economy.

Today his positions are even harder to understand as the climate science has strengthened and the need to act has grown more urgent. Ose is a #DirtyDenier$ who has said of climate change, “I am skeptical because of the science being sketchy.” He opposes government action to address the problem. Those who follow this blog regularly won’t be surprised to learn that Ose has received more than $50,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry over the course of his career.

Voters in California’s 7th district are looking ahead to a bright, clean energy future. Only Dr. Ami Bera is Running Clean to lead them there.

 

Polluters Try to Make Something Out of Nothing

Climate change polluters don’t have a lot to work with this election season. Since the vast majority of American voters have repeatedly said they support limiting the carbon pollution from power plants, fossil fuel companies and their allies are left trying to make even the weakest numbers sound good.

This week the Partnership for a Better Energy Future—a mining, manufacturing, and agricultural coalition that includes frequent climate deniers like the US Chamber of Commerce—released a survey claiming that 47 percent of voters in oppose the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to reduce carbon pollution.

As if less-than-a-half was something to trumpet.

These results stand in sharp contrast to nearly every independent poll conducted this year.

  • An ABC/Washington Post survey found that 7 in 10 Americans view climate change as a serious problem and support federal action to reduce greenhouse gases.
  • A poll conducted for NBC News/The Wall Street Journal reported that two-thirds of American residents support the EPA’s plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.
  • A Bloomberg News poll even found that 62 percent of Americans were willing to pay more for energy if it mean reducing carbon pollution.
  • And a survey done by Yale University said voters are three times more likely to vote against a candidate who opposes government action to address climate change.

NRDC Action Fund got similar results when we commissioned Harstad Strategic Research to poll voters in 11 swing states with close Senate races, including Georgia, Louisiana, and Arkansas. More than two-thirds of those surveyed said the EPA should limit carbon pollution from power plants. That includes 53 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of independents and 87 percent of Democrats.

Most Americans recognize that cleaning up dangerous pollution is good for their families and the economy. But that doesn’t stop dirty industries from trying to hold on to their loopholes and giveaways.

The so-called Partnership for a Better Energy Future paid to poll voters in purple states—many of them coal-heavy—and even then, they couldn’t muster a majority. It’s like a punch line. They even tried to stack the deck by posing the kind of technical questions that tend to make respondents more inclined to say no, yet they had little to show for it.

In Iowa, for instance, the survey claimed that 45 percent of Iowa residents were less likely to vote for a candidate who supports the EPA’s plan to reduce carbon pollution. Yet a recent survey from lowa Interfaith Power & Light, meanwhile, found that 75 percent of Iowans were more likely to support a candidate who promotes clean renewable energy. Iowa, after all, gets 27 percent of its energy from wind power and has more than 43,000 Iowans working in the clean economy.

The EPA’s plan to reduce carbon pollution will bring the benefits of clean energy—including good-paying jobs, safer air, and greater climate stability—to more communities. That’s why so many Americans support it and that’s why smart candidates are running on clean energy and climate action. Even the polluters’ own polling shows that the numbers favor climate champions.

Simple Questions, Simple Answers for North Carolina Voters

Is Kay Hagan the Clean Choice in North Carolina? Yes.

Is climate change real? Yes.

Is Kay Hagan Running Clean? Yes.

Is Thom Tillis a Dirty Denier? Yes.

Simple questions with simple answers. Unfortunately, Thom Tillis, who is challenging incumbent Kay Hagan to represent North Carolina in the U.S. Senate, can’t get even a simple question right. Asked at a debate whether climate change is real, Tillis replied simply: “No.”

That one short word betrays Tillis’s true priorities: siding with the big polluters who fund his campaign rather than protecting his state from the damaging effects of climate change. It’s a familiar pattern to those who have observed Tillis during his time in the North Carolina Assembly. While Tillis originally voted in favor of the state’s renewable electricity standard, Tillis said he supported the effort to repeal the standard five years later. Tillis was the Speaker of the Assembly when it voted to forbid the state’s coastal commission from planning for the increased sea level rise that scientists are predicting will occur due to climate change. He voted to authorize hydraulic fracturing in the state and to allow fracking companies to keep their toxic chemical blends secret from the public. Tillis also sponsored legislation that would allow coal ash to be kept in uncapped pits that fail to protect communities from the toxic sludge.

In contrast, Hagan has been working to protect North Carolina’s environment and the public’s health for more than a decade. Hagan started her political career – and her record as an environmental champion- in the North Carolina state Senate. As a state senator, she was a cosponsor of the Clean Smokestacks Act, which required all the state’s coal-fired power plants to substantially reduce their smog and acid rain pollution. The law also eventually led to EPA’s action to reduce cross-state air pollution, a rule which is predicted to save at least 13,000 lives per year and which Hagan voted to protect when it came under attack in the Senate. She supported the state’s renewable electricity standard and earned a score of 85 percent from the Conservation Council of North Carolina from 2003 to 2007.

Since taking office in the U.S. Senate, Hagan has continued to be a Clean Air Hero. She has voted again and again in favor of reducing pollution including the carbon pollution responsible for climate change and she has earned a lifetime score of 84 percent  from LCV.

The questions are simple.

Is climate change real? Yes.

Must we act on climate? Yes.

Which candidate agrees? Senator Kay Hagan.

The Rest of the Story…

The late Paul Harvey was famous for his “rest of the story” radio shows in which he spoke to the untold portions of on-the-record history. Today, his recorded programs are still extremely popular because in the age of soundbites cut to 140 characters in length, the theme of telling the whole story sometimes get overlooked.

For example, in a recent media interview, I spoke extensively about the positive role the NRDC Action Fund and NRDC Action Fund PAC are playing to help elect environmental champions in this year’s mid-term elections. In what lasted nearly two hours, the interview took many twists and turns, including one regarding fracking moratoriums.  In the follow-up release of that interview, my answer was edited for length and didn’t include the many places where NRDC, the 501c3 sister organization of the Action Fund, is supporting fracking moratoriums. So, for clarity, as Mr. Harvey used to say, here’s “the rest of the story.”

In fact, NRDC has and does support numerous moratoria, including the existing one in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It has called for moratoria on offshore oil drilling in the Arctic, and in other highly sensitive areas off the US west and east coasts. NRDC also calls for moratoria on fracking so that the science – particularly around health impacts – can be further developed before decisions as to whether to move forward are made. Most recently, it has called for a fracking moratorium in California as well as Illinois and North Carolina. NRDC has long supported the ongoing moratorium in New York, where nearly 8 out of 10 New Yorkers support the moratorium. That includes support from different geographic, ideological and racial divides.

 

Is Scott Brown Running Clean? “Um, No.”

In our next election preview, we turn our attention to the New Hampshire. Voters in the Granite State have the opportunity to re-elect a true champion for clean energy and climate action: Jeanne Shaheen.

Shaheen has a strong and long record on clean energy, climate change and environmental protection. (Heck, her last name even rhymes with “clean.”) When she served as governor, Shaheen signed legislation to reduce four pollutants from power plants, including carbon. It was the first legislation carbon reduction of its kind in the country. In the Senate, Shaheen has consistently voted the right way on the environment. She has a 95% lifetime record from the League of Conservation Voters, having voted against oil company subsidies, in favor of climate action, in favor of clean energy investment and in favor of clean air at every opportunity. In addition, Shaheen has particularly focused her efforts on energy efficiency, sponsoring bipartisan efficiency legislation with Ohio Republican Rob Portman, that could produce a net of $100 billion in energy savings for consumers and create more than 190,000 jobs. Despite bipartisan support for the efficiency measure, it was held hostage by DirtyDenier$ demanding votes to add controversial fossil energy measures to the bill.

The challenger in this matchup, Scott Brown, should be familiar to you if you followed our #DirtyDenier$ series during Congress’s August recess. Brown was featured on Day 6, when we told you about his record during his time as a senator from Massachusetts. Despite his reputation as something of a moderate, Brown turned out to be extreme on the environment, voting to protect subsidies for oil companies and to weaken offshore drilling protections while receiving big bucks from those same oil companies.

Shortly after we profiled him, Brown dug himself into an even deeper denier hole. In late August, Brown was asked whether man-made climate change had been scientifically proven. His answer? “Um, no.”  Brown appears to have realized that New Hampshire voters don’t want to elect a denier. After polling found that 48 percent of voters would be less likely to vote for a climate denier, Brown stated that he now believes the causes of climate change to be “a combination of manmade and natural.”

While he may have walked back from the worst of his denial, it’s clear that Scott Brown remains the same spineless individual he’s been since his first election. Both his “principles” and his principal state of residence are up for grabs. In contrast, New Hampshire voters can elect someone who has stood up strongly and consistently in favor of clean energy. She knows her heart and she knows her home. Only Jeanne Shaheen is running clean.