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[greenyes] Environment in the Election

Kerry vs. Bush on environmental issues
Scripps Howard News Service
July 15, 2004

- Environmental issues are shaping up to play a larger role in the
presidential race than many political analysts had expected as both the Bush
and Kerry campaigns seek to leverage their support in swing states.

Democratic candidate John Kerry has sought to portray President Bush as
sacrificing the environment to curry favor with industry allies, while Bush
charges that the Massachusetts senator's environmental proposals would cost
millions of jobs and devastate the economy.

While those arguments may be overshadowed nationally by public concern about
Iraq and the war on terrorism, both campaigns are waging a fierce contest
over a range of environmental issues that have special regional

"Nationally, the environment will be a low-profile issue, but in certain
states both campaigns will use the environment to fire up their base and
make sure they get to the polls because turnout is going to be the key to
this election," said Jim DiPeso, executive director of Republicans for
Environmental Protection.

In Midwestern battleground states like Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and
Wisconsin, Democrats hope to make inroads into the "hook and bullet" vote -
hunters and fishermen who tend to vote Republican because of gun rights, but
who are unhappy with Bush's record on wetlands and mercury contamination.

In West Virginia, a traditionally Democratic state Bush narrowly won in the
last election, polls show the administration policy permitting coal
companies to lop off mountaintops is a sore point with voters.

In Oregon, Washington and New Mexico, all closely contested states, Bush's
forest-management and fire-suppression policies, which would give timber
companies greater access to national forests for logging, are key issues.

Kerry aides said they believe their candidate has a clear advantage on the
environment. League of Conservation Voters President Deb Callahan, who has
endorsed Kerry, said Bush has "the worst environmental record of any modern

Kerry plans to make U.S. dependence on foreign oil "one of the centerpiece
issues of this campaign," said Tad Devine, chief strategist for the Kerry

"It has huge implications in terms of our environment," Devine said. "It
also matters in other ways, including our national security and our

Bush proposed a sweeping national energy plan during his first year in
office, but the plan has been widely criticized by environmentalists as
focusing too heavily on subsidies for the oil, gas, coal and nuclear
industries and not giving enough attention to increasing renewable energy
and energy efficiency. Passage of the bill has been blocked in the Senate.

Kerry has called for "a new Manhattan Project" to make the United States
independent of Middle Eastern oil within 10 years through increased use of
alternative fuels and by making cars and trucks more fuel-efficient.

Kerry also supports the Kyoto Protocol, the international global-warming
treaty that sets targets for reducing carbon dioxide and other
greenhouse-gas emissions. Most of the man-made carbon dioxide produced in
the United States comes from burning coal to make electricity and burning
gasoline to power automobiles.

Shortly after taking office, Bush withdrew the United States from the Kyoto
treaty and abandoned a campaign pledge to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions
from power plants. He said compliance with the treaty would be too expensive
for industry and would harm the economy.

"The American voter expects their president to balance good stewardship of
the environment with policies that help keep the economy growing strong,"
said Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt.

"Kerry has sided with the regulation crowd for devastating policies like
increasing CAFE (automobile fuel economy) standards and the Kyoto treaty;
which combined would cost 2.5 million jobs," Holt said.

That's an argument the Bush campaign is taking to voters in swing states
where the auto industry is critical, like Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Bush is also emphasizing Kerry's support for Kyoto and renewable energy. To
comply with Kyoto, the United States would inevitably have to reduce its use
of coal and oil.

"Coal is a viable energy source that we need to make use of," Holt said.
"People in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio know that it's critical to
the economy there."


Peter Anderson, President
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell: (608) 698-1314
eMail: anderson@no.address

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