Running Clean: Good Policy, Good Politics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Melissa Harrison, NRDC Action Fund, 202-513-6278, mharrison@nrdc.org

Running Clean: Good Policy, Good Politics

NRDC Action Fund Report & Videos Show Success of Clean Energy Candidates in 2012

WASHINGTON (April 9, 2012) – Americans overwhelmingly supported clean energy candidates in the 2012 elections, despite the massive investments by polluters pushing their dirty agenda. Election night polling showed that, regardless of partisanship lines or demographics, nearly 2 in 3 voters, 64 percent, say they have a favorable impression of renewable energy, compared to only 13 percent who say they have an unfavorable impression. When given the chance to choose a future of investing in renewable energy sources and a clean energy economy, voters time and time again chose the candidates who were Running Clean, according to a new report and video series released today by the NRDC Action Fund.

Today, the NRDC Action Fund released Running Clean: Good Policy, Good Politics an in-depth report and video series produced biennially. In the report, the NRDC Action Fund highlights multiple successful candidates who chose to run their campaigns on clean energy, protecting the environment and public health and conserving our natural resources. These hard-fought campaigns demonstrated that America’s leaders can be proud to support a clean agenda that fosters good jobs, healthy families, conservation and a more sustainable future.  This cycle the report contains case studies on: President Barack Obama and Senator Angus King (I-Maine) with additional video interviews with Senators Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), Jon Tester (D-Montana), Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).  

At a press conference in Washington, DC the NRDC Action Fund showed Senator Tim Kaine’s video for the first time. In his video interview Senator Kaine says, “Virginians really believe this is an important issue to tackle, and so I could comfortably do events with environmental organizations or with the environmental community because I knew that was right. I mean it’s what I believe, but I also knew it was right where my voters were.”

“The last election cycle showcased candidates who were able to prove that running clean is not just good policy, it is a winning political strategy,” said Peter Lehner, NRDC Action Fund Executive Director. “The NRDC Action Fund produced Running Clean as a roadmap for future candidates who want solid evidence that supporting clean energy and protecting the environment will help provide them a path to electoral victory.”

“It’s simple, Running Clean works,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, NRDC Action Fund Director. “Supporting candidates who run on platforms which endorse clean energy investments, protecting the environment and conserving our natural resources will help us grow the environmental majority across America. Candidates from both sides of the aisle should be looking for opportunities to embrace these issues. Ultimately, these are the values represented by their voters and what’s best for our future.”

The Running Clean report and videos can be found online at www.nrdcactionfund.org/runningclean. To read the report: Running Clean: Good Policy, Good Politics. To view the video interviews:

            Senator Tim Kaine

            Senator Jon Tester

            Senator Martin Heinrich

            Senator Mazie Hirono

To request hard copies of the report please contact Melissa Harrison at mharrison@nrdc.org.

###

The goal of the NRDC Action Fund is to grow the environmental majority across America. The Action Fund is growing power in the places that always matter around the country, so that together we can protect public health and the environment. www.nrdcactionfund.org

Note to reporters/editors: The NRDC Action Fund is an affiliated but separate organization from the Natural Resources Defense Council. As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, the NRDC Action Fund engages in various advocacy and political activities for which the Natural Resources Defense Council, a 501(c)(3) organization, faces certain legal limitations or restrictions. News and information released by the NRDC Action Fund needs to be identified as from the “NRDC Action Fund.” The “Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund” is incorrect. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the NRDC Action Fund cannot be used interchangeably.  Also please note that the word “National” does not appear in Natural Resources Defense Council.

Running Clean Candidate Video Release, Full Report to Be Released April 9th

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Melissa Harrison, NRDC Action Fund, 202-513-6278, mharrison@nrdc.org

Running Clean Candidate Video Release, Full Report to Be Released April 9th

NRDC Action Fund Releases New Videos with U.S. Senators Mazie Hirono & Tim Kaine

WASHINGTON (April 4, 2012) – In the 2012 elections, U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D- Hawaii) demonstrated that America’s leaders can run on and win with a clean agenda which fosters good jobs, healthy families, conservation and a more sustainable future. In anticipation of Running Clean, an in-depth report and video series to be released on April 9th, the NRDC Action Fund is previewing a video with U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), one of the four candidate videos complementing the upcoming full report.

“Senator Hirono highlights how investing in clean energy job creation, protecting our environment and public health and conserving our natural resources is a winning political strategy,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, NRDC Action Fund Director. “We are now just a few days away from releasing the full report and additional videos which will be the roadmap for future candidates on how to support these issues because it’s not just good policy, it’s good politics.”

To view the video interview: Senator Hirono

As a sneak peak, the NRDC Action Fund is also releasing a short clip of U.S. Senator Tim Kaine’s video, which will be shown publically for the first time at a press conference featuring NRDC Action Fund Executive Director Peter Lehner and NRDC Action Fund Director Heather Taylor-Miesle on April 9th in Washington, DC. To view the clip: Senator Kaine

Due to space limitations, media interested in attending the press conference must RSVP to Melissa Harrison at: mharrison@nrdc.org. If you are unable to attend in person, a conference call number will be provided. Additional details regarding the press conference will be released on Friday, April 5, 2013.

###

The goal of the NRDC Action Fund is to grow the environmental majority across America. The Action Fund is growing power in the places that always matter around the country, so that together we can protect public health and the environment. www.nrdcactionfund.org

Note to reporters/editors: The NRDC Action Fund is an affiliated but separate organization from the Natural Resources Defense Council. As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, the NRDC Action Fund engages in various advocacy and political activities for which the Natural Resources Defense Council, a 501(c)(3) organization, faces certain legal limitations or restrictions. News and information released by the NRDC Action Fund needs to be identified as from the “NRDC Action Fund.” The “Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund” is incorrect. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the NRDC Action Fund cannot be used interchangeably.  Also please note that the word “National” does not appear in Natural Resources Defense Council.

 

A Climate Plan is Good Politics

Guessing the contents of the State of the Union is a favorite Washington parlor game this time of year. I am putting my money on the issue of climate change. After President Obama devoted a chunk of his Inaugural Address to laying out the moral and economic imperatives on why we must act to curb climate change, I hope to hear his plans for moving us forward towards that goal during the State of the Union.

Many Americans are eager to hear how we can confront this crisis. Now that intense drought, heat waves, storms and other extreme weather are bearing down on our communities, many voters are calling for action. In September, the majority of voters favored candidates who agree the Environmental Protection Agency should reduce carbon pollution, according to a survey by Public Policy Polling.

The White House and other Democratic leaders are responding to the call and deepening their climate commitment. Many Republicans, however, are heading in the opposite direction.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee recently announced that one of its central strategies for the 2014 election cycle will be attacking Democrats for their efforts to address climate change.

That’s right. They want to pillory lawmakers for trying to solve the single greatest environmental and humanitarian crisis of our time. They want to punish them for trying to reduce pollution that is pumping weather systems with steroids and contributing to 14 extreme events costing more $1 billion each in losses in 2011 and 11 $1 billion extreme events in 2012.

This tone deaf response isn’t just bad for our nation. It’s bad for GOP candidates.

In the 2012 election, Americans swept climate champions into office up and down the ticket. In race after race, climate deniers and anti-regulatory candidates got millions of dollars from polluting industries, but they didn’t get the votes.  

George Allen, for instance, tried to win the Virginia Senate race with nearly $12 million from Karl Rove’s Super PACs and $4.5 million from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Allen worked as a consultant for a climate denial outfit and wanted to open Virginia’s coast to oil and gas drilling. His Democratic opponent Tim Kaine, meanwhile, told voters, “We need a national energy policy that takes immediate advantage of Virginia and America’s own energy resources to end our dependence on foreign oil.” Despite the millions spent on dirty ad blitzes, Virginians chose Kaine’s clean energy vision for their state.

A similar pattern played out in several states across the country, including decidedly red states. The National Republican Senatorial Committee plan for 2014 singled out Montana as a place where it would attack candidates’ climate action. Yet this approach ignores the fact that Senator John Tester just won reelection after running on clean energy and talking about what global warming is doing to his dryland farm in Central Montana. “History will judge us on how we deal with climate,” Tester has said.

Several newly elected Senators agree. Last weekend, I visited with Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico. He told me that the people of New Mexico see what is happening to their land and the world around them and they want action.

And yet the GOP is doubling down on a losing climate strategy that will continue to alienate Americans.  Including one of the most coveted demographic groups: young people. Young people know that if America continues its climate paralysis, their generation will pay the price. John Carson, the former director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and the new executive director of Organizing for America, says that if you asked young volunteers on the Obama campaign why they got involved in politics, the largest majority answered the environment. Young voters believe they can make a difference, and so they mobilize. GOP candidates who run on climate denial probably won’t be getting their votes.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Some Republican leaders are sensing the changing demographic winds and moderating their positions. Senator Mark Rubio, for instance, supports immigration reform. Senator Mark Kirk—and NRA member—is talking about gun control. There is room for Republicans to lead on climate as well.

In the meantime, we will be looking to President Obama to set our country on a path toward climate stability. He can start by talking about it in the State of the Union Address. We will just have to wait and see if some Republicans respond by dumping the losing strategy of climate denial.

Energy Shaping Virginia Senate Race

In this, our third post in a series on down ballot elections with big energy implications, we’ll focus on the Virginia Senate race. Competing to represent Old Dominion are former Governor Tim Kaine, a Democrat, and former Senator George Allen, a Republican.

It’s a battleground in both the so-called “War on Coal” and for control of the United States Senate. Accordingly, Big Coal and their polluter allies have been investing heavily in the candidate they believe will advance their Dirty Energy agenda: George Allen.

An example of an ad being run by Karl Rove’s group, Crossroads GPS

You know the stakes are high for Rove’s polluter friends because the group has already spent more than six million dollars opposing Tim Kaine. That’s on top of millions being spent by other pro-polluter groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the curiously named American Commitment (commitment to what, asthma?)

Polluters have been stuffing Allen’s campaign coffers for years. Our friends at the League of Conservation Voters note that as a Senator, Allen took over half a million dollars in campaign cash from the oil and gas industry and consistently voted against the environment and to protect tax breaks and loopholes that line Big Oil’s pockets.

What’s Kaine’s record? As Governor, he worked for land conservation, river cleanup, clean air, public transportation and energy efficiency. And his plans for the future? He’s adopted the environmentally questionable but politically expedient “all of the above” approach to energy policy, as you can see in this ad.

Yet, despite his professed support for coal and offshore drilling, Kaine’s not afraid to talk about the importance of addressing climate change and reducing carbon pollution. He says we “need a commitment to transition to a lower-carbon energy portfolio for the good of the economy, the environment and global security.” In contrast, Allen doesn’t seem to think climate change is even a concern.

The fossil fuel industry hopes that their big investment will pay off in the form of a reliable vote for Dirty Energy in the Senate. They have millions to spend, but the planet can’t afford to have George Allen in Congress.