The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
LCV Finds Best of the Worst Republicans to Endorse for Congress
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has found the proverbial needle in a haystack: a Republican congressperson to endorse. Today the LCV Action Fund announced that it is endorsing 10-term south New Jersey Congressman Frank LoBiondo against his Democratic challenger Bill Hughes. He's the only Republican the group has endorsed for the U.S. House of Representatives this year, although it has endorsed Senator Susan Collins of Maine.
“Congressman Frank LoBiondo has been there time and again on the most pressing environmental issues facing New Jersey and our country,” said LCV Action Fund president Gene Karpinski. “We need more allies in the Republican Party like Congressman LoBiondo who understand that a healthy environment and a strong economy aren’t in conflict—they go hand-in-hand.”
Unfortunately, as a hilarious and widely shared video of Daily Show host Jon Stewart mocking congressional Republicans for their takes on climate change shows, such allies are hard to find amid the sea of climate deniers currently dominating the party.
The group noted LoBiondo's record of working to protect New Jersey wildlife refuges and beaches, as well as his opposition to seismic testing for oil and gas in the Atlantic. It also pointed to his vote for the 2009 American Clean Energy and Security Act and against a bill this year that would strip the U.S. EPA of its ability to limit harmful carbon pollution and protect public health. He cosponsored a bill to establish a national renewable energy standard. It pointed to his lifetime LCV voting score of 63 percent.
What it didn't mention was his dismal 2013 score of 25 percent, which included voting against things like fracking safeguards, allowing climate change to be considered in reducing carbon emissions, cutting methane emissions from oil and gas drilling on public lands and protecting communities from toxic ash dump. His 2014 voting record is slightly better, but so far this year he has voted for repealing part of the Clean Water Act, in favor of allowing pollution of wetlands and streams, and for fast-tracking the Keystone XL pipeline, all positions opposed by LCV. He's voted with them eight times this year, against them 21 times.
“Congressman Frank LoBiondo is a proven ally fighting for the health of New Jersey and our environment, even in the most challenging of Congresses,” said Ed Potosnak, executive director of the New Jersey LCV. “He is a true steward of our state’s remarkable natural landscapes, and we can trust he will continue to protect our land and our coasts for future generations.”
The endorsement may have come in the nick of time. The underfunded Hughes has been ignored as not having a real shot, but new polling published in the Philadelphia Inquirer today shows Biondo leading by only six points. Hughes lists no environmental positions on his website. A interesting side note: he is the son of of the district's former congressman, William Hughes Sr., who retired after the 1994 election and was replaced by LoBiondo. The elder Hughes was a leading advocate for protecting the oceans.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jake Johnson
As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
The last four members of an embattled wolf pack were killed in Washington State Friday, hours before the court order that could have saved them.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Randi Spivak
Slashing two national monuments in Utah may have received the most attention, but Trump's Interior Department and U.S. Forest Service have been quietly, systematically ceding control of America's public lands to fossil fuel, mining, timber and livestock interests since the day he took office.
A new report by Greenpeace International pinpointed the world's worst sources of sulfur dioxide pollution, an irritant gas that harms human health. India has seized the top spot from Russia and China, contributing nearly 15 percent of global sulfur dioxide emissions.
By Sue Branford and Thais Borges
Ola Elvestrun, Norway's environment minister, announced Thursday that it is freezing its contributions to the Amazon Fund, and will no longer be transferring €300 million ($33.2 million) to Brazil. In a press release, the Norwegian embassy in Brazil stated:
Gina Lopez, a former Philippine environment secretary, philanthropist and eco-warrior, died on Aug. 19 from brain cancer. She was 65.