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Lay of the Land

Everglades Restoration | Green Campaigns | W Watch | Biological Diversity | Bold Strokes | Contaminated Waterways | Safe SUV Myth | Exxon Valdez | Renewable Energy Mitigation Program | Updates

No Mandate to Pollute

By Kim Todd

In the November election, many candidates coated poor environmental records with a thin layer of green paint. "Never before have so many candidates told the American public they care deeply about air, water, and land," says Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope. "Unfortunately, half of them didn’t mean it."

Until now, the Bush administration’s attempts to dismantle environmental protections have largely been done in back rooms and through regulatory agencies. But with friendly majorities in both houses of Congress, Bush may be emboldened to make these efforts more overt. And, once in office, many of November’s candidates may let their green veneer wash away.

Then it could get interesting. "The American people did not vote against the environment; they did not vote to drill the Arctic, to have mercury in our streams, to cut down forests, or to have more kids get asthma," Pope says. "If Congress acts like that’s what the American people voted for, they’re in for a big shock."


They campaigned Green–will they stay that way?

Wayne Allard (R-Colo.)
Claiming "the strongest record of protecting Colorado’s environment of any senator in Colorado’s history," Allard actually voted against river cleanup and corporate accountability.

Norm Coleman (R-Minn.)
Flip-flopping on oil drilling in the Arctic, Coleman was all for it until the election approached. Then he called the wildlife refuge "a pristine piece of the world."

John Sununu (R-N.H.)
He touted his "balanced approach on the environment," but as a congressman Sununu tilted toward letting corporate polluters off the hook.

Gordon Smith (R-Ore.)
In the campaign, Smith highlighted his votes against drilling in the Arctic and for raising fuel-economy standards, but downplayed his efforts to delay cleanup of waterways and to eliminate the Superfund tax on polluters.

Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.)
Dole promised to clean up North Carolina’s air, but supports Bush’s "Clear Skies" proposal, which allows huge increases in mercury and sulfur pollution.

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