RI-Sen: Chafee Rubber Stamps Bush EPA Appointment

This would be funny if it weren't so sad. Last week, we learned that the Sierra Club had decided to endorse Republican incumbent Lincoln Chafee over one of his Democratic rivals. On Monday, Kos followed up that story with the mounting bad news that The League of Conservation Voters had joined with them to endorse Chafee as well. Each organization had kind words for the Republican Senator.

Carl Pope of The Sierra Club -

We need more Republicans like Senator Chafee and we will continue to praise those who, like him, stand up for the environment because they know it is the right thing to do.

Tony Massaro of The League of Conservation Voters -

Senator Chafee is a top environmental leader in Congress, fighting every day for the health, quality of life and pocketbooks of Rhode Island families, willing to stand up to big corporate polluters, and working tirelessly to protect our open spaces and wildlife for future generations.

Markos thoroughly dismantled the pro-Chafee cases from these myopic environmental groups, highlighting the fact that Chafee's support for the Republican leadership in the Senate far outweighs his votes on pro-environmental policies, especially with control of the Senate in the balance. He also pointed out that Chafee has voted to confirm Bush's anti-environment judges, something unreflected in his environmental scorecards.

Unfortunately, it's become even more clear that these endorsements are going to leave egg on the faces of the Sierra Club and LCV. Last week, those two organizations, along with eleven other advocacy groups, issued a letter"urging the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to oppose the confirmation of William Wehrum to be Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)." Today, according to CQ.com's Midday Update, Lincoln Chafee ignored that letter and voted yes for Wehrum's confirmation. The vote broke down along party lines, with Chafee siding with his fellow Republicans.

The environmental blog Gristmill defended the Chafee endorsement, writing that "Chafee has proven instrumentally effective at blocking some of Bush's environmental madness, but just as much he serves an important symbolic role." It made sense to endorse him, they reasoned, especially since he could be counted on for pro-environment votes. Such as... uh... rejecting EPA nominees like William Wehrum.

There's more...

Sierra Club responds: Reaffirms desire to re-elect Chafee!

How is it possible for a "leading" national environmental organization to support the re-election of a vulnerable rubber stamp Republican when the future of American Democracy itself is in the balance? How can the Sierra Club be so eager to return a Republican majority to the Senate? A majority that has completely slashed 30 years of environmental progress, that facilitates the looting of America's resources, that fights to poison and pollute our citizens, that completely sabotages any attempt to address global warming, and that is beholden to nefarious oil companies?

Complete insanity!!! That's the only explanation. Follow me below the fold to see the Sierra Club's response to my letter.

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Taking your pulse

Today we learned that the Sierra Club is endorsing Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island despite his 20% rating on their scorecard in 2004.   There is only one feasible reason for them to do this: fundraising.  The Sierra Club wants Republican who admit that global warming is a catastrophe in the making to contribute to them.  

Appropriately, Kos and Jerome point out that the way to help the environment is for Republicans to lose control of the government.  This endorsement of Chafee, and the Sierra Club's offer of volunteer help, is clearly counterproductive to this goal.  The most important thing any Senator can do is vote for the Majority Leader.  We all know this.

This makes me wonder what the true motivations of the Sierra Club are.  As a result, I offer this simple test to any politician, non-profit, or other major player on the political scene.

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Two State Strategy for Environmental Success

Cross posted at Strategically Yours,

So I bought Jerome and Markos's new book, and I'm starting to delve through it.  As I make my way through I'm going to dissect certain points in it.  Very early on, they go into a significant diatribe against the enviro groups, and a lot of it is warranted.

When one talks about the advocacy organizations on our side, you only need to to think about one figure - $100 million.  The intake of the Sierra Club in 2004.  No other C3 on our side comes even close.  According to Crashing the Gate, the largest enviro groups took in approximately $415 million.  In one year.  And nothing to show for it.  CAFE stardards? nope.  Global Warming initiatives? ha.  Solar Energy?  Wind Energy? not even close. zip. zero. nada.

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