At its July board meeting, the Sierra Club Board of Directors endorsed
Vice President Al Gore to be the next president of the United States. The directors also
passed a new resolution in support of reforming campaign finance laws and including
serious third party candidates, like Ralph Nader, in the presidential debates.
The Gore endorsement capped a six-month process in which the Club surveyed
all the chapters and thousands of volunteer leaders. Thirty-nine chapters, representing
413,854 members, favored a Gore endorsement; one chapter, with 3,006 members, supported an
endorsement for Nader.
Gore accepted the endorsement during an Aug. 21 speech to Club members in
Grand Rapids, Mich.
"I want to say how proud I am to be running with the Sierra
Club," Gore said. "I'm proud that from my earliest days in Congress, I took on
the big polluters to protect the environment."
Introducing the vice president at a rally on the banks of the Grand River,
Sierra Club president Robbie Cox said that Gore could be "the most pro-environment
president in our history."
"The Sierra Club endorses Vice President Gore," said Cox,
"because he is committed to cutting air and water pollution and protecting our
nation's treasured forests and wildlands. As vice president, Al Gore helped strengthen
clean air health standards, sped cleanup of Superfund toxic-waste sites, reduced
automobile tailpipe pollution and protected America's spectacular landscapes."
Cox added that Texas Gov. George W. Bush has said that if elected, he
would weaken toxic-waste cleanup standards, allow oil drilling in the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge and increase logging in national forests.
Gore has pledged to end timber sales in wild, roadless areas of our
national forests and include Alaska's Tongass National Forest in the administration's
roadless initiative, a stronger position than the U.S. Forest Service has advocated. He
has also proposed a plan to cut air pollution and global warming emissions from power
The Club directors recognized consumer-advocate Ralph Nader for his strong
record on globalization, trade agreements, democracy and the environment, but emphasized
the urgency of defeating Bush.
"Our members looked at the positions, records and experience of all
the candidates," said Cox. "Al Gore is our overwhelming choice."
The board voted to endorse the vice president with 12 in favor, two
against and one abstention.
The board emphasized that focusing on the current election is not enough.
In its resolution on cleaning up politics, the board stated that "the single-round,
winner-take-all political process has problems. We support alternative electoral methods
that better reflect the diversity of public opinion. We need to get big money out of
politics by closing loopholes in current campaign finance laws, establishing effective
spending limits, adopting public financing for Senate and Congressional candidates."
The Club specifically supported the free television time proposal developed by the
Alliance for Better Campaigns.
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