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The Planet Newsletter
Leaders Wanted

How You Can Help Six Environmental Champions

Every two years, we say that this election is among the most pivotal in recent history. This time, it's really true. The race for the White House is expected to be close, and a switch in a handful of seats could restore a pro-environment majority in the House and Senate. (On April 6, we lost a Senate vote on drilling in the Arctic by one vote.) A number of veteran lawmakers are retiring as well, leaving open seats up for grabs.

The Congress is closely divided between pro- and anti-environmental forces. Since the House and Senate leadership are hostile to environmental protection, it has been difficult to pass measures that would promote smart growth in communities, protect the Arctic Refuge from oil drilling and raise fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks.

But the anti-environmentalists haven't been able to pass stand-alone bills that weaken protections. Instead, they've whittled away at past gains by attaching riders to budget bills. President Clinton has vetoed or blocked many, but not all, of these rider-infested packages.

Whether or not environmentalists in the 107th Congress can get back to protecting public lands and health instead of playing defense depends in part on who we choose to represent us this November. Below are six environmental champions we want to make sure are on the job.

Opponents of environmental protection will be receiving big contributions from the usual suspects. To counter the influence of big money, these six pro-environment candidates need your help. Please send a check to the addresses listed below. (Be sure to write "Sierra Club" on the bottom of your check or include a note to let these candidates know we'll stand by them on election day.)


Jim Saxton (R-N.J.)

Jim Saxton, Republican representative from New Jersey's central 3rd District, is facing his first competitive race in recent years. He has worked diligently to pass measures protecting America's beaches and remaining open spaces, and is a steadfast leader on many environmental issues, particularly on the House Resources Committee.

In the 1980s, New Jersey's shores were in dire condition due to a combination of industrial pollution, its growing urban populations, and medical-waste and sewer-sludge dumping. Saxton led the fight to clean up the state's beaches by sponsoring and passing key national marine and river protection acts. His leadership allowed for major improvements in beach and marine conditions throughout the Northeast. He has pledged to continue his fight to protect America's shorelines, wildlife and open spaces if re-elected in November.

Recently, he signed on to two key environmental bills, despite strong opposition from special interests. One would protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from any future oil drilling, the other would conserve the redrock wilderness of Utah. In addition, he is a strong supporter of campaign-finance reform.

To help Saxton keep this seat, please send a check to Friends of Jim Saxton, 112 High St., Mt. Holly, NJ 08060; (609) 267-8811.


Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)

California state Sen. Adam Schiff is waging a tough battle to unseat Rep. Jim Rogan (R) in the 27th District. While Rogan has long been considered an opponent of environmental causes - he received a League of Conservation Voters score of 6 percent in 1999 - challenger Schiff has an
established record of leadership on the environment.

As a criminal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's Office, Schiff had a 100 percent conviction record on cases involving toxic dumping and political corruption. He continued his advocacy on environmental issues when he became a state senator: He earned a 100 percent California LCV score and is an aggressive champion of the Livable Glendale Project, a smart-growth proposal.

One of the California Senate's most prolific lawmakers, Schiff authored 40 measures during the 1997-98 session that were signed into law by then-Gov. Pete Wilson (R). They include an expansion of the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy and completion of the Pasadena Blue Line light rail. He has also been a supporter of campaign-finance reform, which Rogan has consistently opposed.

The Sierra Club has endorsed Schiff in all his campaigns, and in March 2000 the Club's Angeles Chapter gave him an award for outstanding special service.

To assist Schiff in winning this seat, please send a check to Schiff for Congress, 35 S. Raymond Avenue, Suite 206, Pasadena, CA 91105; (626) 583-8581; www.adamschiff2000.com.


Jim Jeffords (R-Vt.)

With a 1999 LCV score of 89 percent - the highest of any Senate Republican - Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords has championed many environmental issues and has helped to gain bipartisan support for environmental protections. He has also been a supporter of campaign-finance reform.

Jeffords has supported community right-to-know laws, strengthening clean-water standards and controlling pollution from power plants.

Recently, Jeffords joined the Sierra Club's effort to block oil drilling in the Arctic by supporting an amendment that would strip provisions from the Senate FY 2001 budget sanctioning drilling there.

To assist Jeffords in keeping the seat, please send a check to Jeffords for Vermont Committee, P.O. Box 246, Montpelier, VT 05602; (802) 773-8144.


Nancy Keenan (D-Mont.)

Nancy Keenan (D) is running a tough race to replace retiring Rep. Rick Hill (R) as Montana's lone representative in Congress. Polling data released in late May show Keenan running neck-and-neck with her opponent, former Lt. Gov. Dennis Rehberg (R), a formidable candidate with considerable experience and good name recognition.

Keenan has won statewide campaigns already: She is currently state superintendent of public instruction for Montana. She served in the state legislature in the 1980s, where she had a strong record of voting to protect Montana's environment.

Natural-resource issues are likely to be pivotal in this campaign, and Rehberg is trying to make himself look like a conservationist. But Keenan, who as superintendent serves as guardian of the state trust lands, is the one taking a strong stand in favor of protection of federal public lands. She supports efforts to protect our remaining wild forests through the Forest Service's roadless initiative, which Rehberg opposes as a "continuation of the War on the West [by] the Clinton administration." Also, Keenan is calling for increases in the Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire sensitive lands, while Rehberg opposes current attempts to fully fund LWCF.

Help Keenan win this seat by sending a check to Nancy Keenan for Montana, P.O. Box 9249, Helena, MT 59604; (406) 443-8728.


Michael Forbes (D-N.Y.)

Michael Forbes, who represents the eastern half of Long Island, stunned both sides of the House last July by leaving the Republican Party for the Democrats. Predictably, the National Republican Campaign Committee named Forbes its No. 1 target in the 2000 elections. Forbes has a formidable GOP opponent in Supervisor Felix Grucci.

A tireless advocate for coastal protection, Forbes sponsored the Long Island Sound Preservation and Protection Act and has used his assignment on the House Appropriations Committee to gain funding for improvements. In 1999, he earned an LCV score of 75 percent.

In contrast, Grucci has a record of shutting out the public on town zoning matters. Forbes has been a consistent supporter of campaign-finance reform efforts in Congress.

The Sierra Club also supported Forbes as a pro-environmental Republican in Congress.

To help Forbes keep his House seat, please send a check to Friends of Mike Forbes, P.O. Box 505, Farmingville, NY 11738; (516) 696-8100.


Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich)

Four years ago, the Sierra Club helped Rep. Debbie Stabenow (D) defeat incumbent Dick Chrysler, an anti-environmental Republican. Now she's running for the Senate and needs our help to defeat another anti-environmental Republican incumbent, Spencer Abraham (R).

Since 1996, Stabenow has fought off attempts to weaken clean-air and clean-water protections, and voted to increase funding to protect open spaces. She has a lifetime LCV score of 83 percent.

Abraham, on the other hand, with a lifetime LCV score of 7, voted for a bill that would have made it difficult, if not impossible, to adopt new safeguards to protect the Great Lakes from water pollution. He also voted against drinking-water protections and funding for programs that would have helped clean up the Great Lakes.

Abraham also consistently opposed campaign-finance reform. Stabenow supports it.

To assist Debbie Stabenow in taking over the seat, please send a check to Stabenow for U.S. Senate, P.O. Box 4945, East Lansing, MI 48826; (517) 336-8500.


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