Sierra Club: The Planet--1996
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Table of Contents

The Planet
Seven Candidates Polluters Hate

  • Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.)
  • David Bonior (D-Mich)
  • Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.)
  • Bill Martini (R-N.J.)
  • Ed Crocker (D-Okla.)
  • Harvey Gantt (D-N.C.)
  • John Kerry (D-Mass.)

Sierra Club activists deserve applause for stalling the 104th Congress' War on the Environment. Thanks to your hard work, virtually every candidate for the 105th is running as an "environmentalist"; the prodigious efforts of the House speaker and fellow Republican leaders to run from their records are the ultimate tribute to the Club and its allies, who have campaigned tirelessly to make the environment a factor in the 1996 elections. But this is no time to relax. This is the time to rededicate ourselves to making democracy work for people, not polluters. The 1996 election is one of those pivotal moments in history when we can fundamentally change the course of U.S. environmental policy, and get back to protecting public lands and public health all across America.

On these two pages are seven genuinely green candidates for seats in the 105th Congress. Two have been staunch environmental champions as members of the House, while one has fought for conservation in the Senate. Four are challengers with an excellent chance of knocking off some of Washington's most blatant antienvironmentalists.

As in the races we featured in the May issue of the Planet, this group's opponents will be rolling in contributions from corporate polluters hoping to finish the job begun by the 104th Congress. To help the green candidates below get their messages out to the voters in 1996 -- and to help separate the real environmentalists from the poseurs -- please send a check to the addresses listed (be sure to write "Sierra Club" on the bottom of your check or include a note to let these environmental champions know we'll stand by them on Election Day). Then, come Nov. 5, we can take back Congress and end the War on the Environment once and for all.

Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.)

The Portland Oregonian recently lauded Darlene Hooley as "one of the best state legislators" during her six-year (1981-87) stint in Oregon's House of Representatives, and noted especially her successful efforts to improve state land-use laws, among other environmental initiatives. She earned a 95 percent legislative rating from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters and has been an effective advocate for recycling, clean air and clean water, and led the fight to clean up Oregon's Tualatin River. She would bring the same determination to protect America's natural resources to the U.S. Congress.

Her opponent, freshman Republican Jim Bunn, marched in lockstep with the Gingrich machine during his first term. As the Oregonian said, "His take-no-prisoners stands on the environment and abortion certainly may give more moderate voters pause" on Election Day. Conservationists are working to make sure that's the case. Hooley has made the environment a focal point of her campaign to oust Bunn. She supports repeal of the "logging without laws" salvage rider, opposes polluter-backed "takings" measures, and vows to fight the GOP leadership's attempt to roll back environmental protections and regulations. That's a voice we need in the 105th Congress. Send contributions to: Hooley for Congress 1974 SW Willamette Falls Dr. West Linn, OR 97068 (503) 657-3133

David Bonior (D-Mich.)

As the second-ranking Democrat in the Gingrich-led House, David Bonior led congressional efforts to protect the nation's environment -- a role recognized by the Sierra Club's Mackinac Chapter in 1995, when it named him "legislator of the year." Of course, Bonior's ardent defense of public lands and public health has also been noted by America's polluters and their congressional allies. Rankled by his high-profile role in blocking the Gingrich agenda, special interests have made Bonior's defeat a top priority in November, and will spare no expense -- they're expected to spend millions -- to send him back to Michigan for good.

Although his opponent hasn't yet been determined, that kind of cash is sure to make this a tough race for minority whip Bonior, a 20year congressional veteran. The people of Michigan know and appreciate Bonior's work to clean up the Great Lakes and protect the state's water quality; nationally, he has earned near-perfect LCV voting scores for at least 15 years, and was a vocal opponent of NAFTA in 1993. If re-elected, Bonior promises to "work with my [Democratic] colleagues to ensure that environmental protection is at the forefront of our agenda." It's up to us to ensure that he has the opportunity. Send contributions to: Bonior for Congress 237 S. Gratiot Ave. Mt. Clemens, MI 48043 (810) 468-5512

Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.)

A novice at running for office, Ellen Tauscher was urged to challenge two-term Republican Rep. Bill Baker in 1996 by longtime environmental champion Rep. George Miller (D- Calif.). Such a challenge was badly needed. In the fall of 1995, the Sierra Club took the unusual step of formally opposing Baker for his "abysmal" record (a perfect zero on the League of Conservation Voters' scorecard) and his support for the War on the Environment. Tauscher, while a first-time candidate, has nonetheless been active in politics, serving as co-chair of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) successful campaigns in 1992 and 1994, among others. She moved to California after 14 years on Wall Street, where she was among the first women to hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange -- a background that could help get her elected in her conservative East Bay district. If elected, she would be a strong ally to environmentalists. She vows to oppose "takings" bills, Arctic drilling and giveaways of federal lands to the states, defend the Endangered Species Act, support elimination of federal subsidies for grazing, mining and timber sales and make public health "the No. 1 priority of any environmental legislation." Send contributions to: Tauscher for Congress P.O. Box 2889 Danville, CA 94526 (510) 945-8515

Bill Martini (R-N.J.)

Bucking the stereotype as well as his own party leadership, New Jersey Rep. Bill Martini is one Republican freshman who fought for the environment during the 104th Congress. While his colleagues were tripping over themselves in the rush to please their polluter friends, Martini was voting to support Environmental Protection Agency funding, clean water, national forests, national parks and coastal protection. He was also a strong advocate for the federal purchase of Sterling Forest along the New Jersey-New York border. In short, as the Bergen (N.J.) Record put it, he spent his first term in Congress "fighting his party's efforts to dismantle environmental regulations."

His endorsement by the Sierra Club, Martini has said, was "an important message that you can be a Republican today and show sensitivity and support for the environment." The real test of that theory will come in November's election, where he faces one of the closest races in the country. Martini won by just 1,800 votes in 1994, and is clearly not a favorite of the deep-pocketed pollution lobby. His Democratic opponent, on the other hand, state assemblyman Bill Pascrell, ranks among the elite of antienvironmental New Jersey officials. Besides having cast votes against wetlands and Jersey shore protection, Pascrell is an outspoken critic of the state Department of Environmental Protection. Send contributions to: Martini for Congress 1064 Pompton Ave. Cedar Grove, NJ 07009 (201) 890-7768

Ed Crocker (D-Okla.)

As a city councilman from 1989-90 in Norman, Okla., Ed Crocker blazed a trail by creating a city recycling program for yard waste. As a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, he authored and guided to passage a bill setting up a state recycling program that included price preferences for state purchase of recycled products. In 1994, he introduced a pollution prevention bill; his original bill didn't pass, but a similar one did.

In the state legislature, Crocker also wrote a measure to give tax incentives to makers of solar and wind energy systems, co-authored a battery recycling bill and led the fight to crack down on polluting oil companies, a tricky task given the petroleum- based Oklahoma economy.

Crocker's opponent, freshman Rep. J.C. Watts, a former college football star whom the Oklahoma Political Report dubbed "the national poster boy for the GOP," has also been a walking advertisement for financial shenanigans during his two years in Congress. Having won his seat with 53 percent of the vote in 1994, Watts is trying desperately to hang onto what the Report called "the GOP's weakest spot."

Crocker has been recognized nationally for his efforts to clean up Oklahoma's environment and has a good chance to unseat Watts. He would be an effective ally for America's environment as a member of the 105th Congress. Send contributions to: Crocker for Congress 307 Willow Branch Norman, OK 73072 (405) 360-1462

Harvey Gantt (D-N.C.)

In 1990, Democrat Harvey Gantt mounted a surprisingly strong challenge to one of the Senate's reigning dinosaurs, Republican Jesse Helms. Gantt ran such an effective campaign, in fact, that polls showed him ahead -- right up until the right-wing Helms played the race card against the African-American Gantt. In the six years since, Helms' extremism has shown no signs of softening, as evidenced by his recent efforts, as head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to end U.S. assistance for international family planning programs. Now Gantt is once again hoping to knock him off his perch. He could succeed this time -- especially with support from environmentalists, who have found common cause with Gantt in his deep concern for clean air, clean water and efforts to protect North Carolina's rivers from animal-waste runoff. Trained as a city planner, Gantt is a strong proponent of careful environmental management. As mayor of Charlotte in the 1980s, he was a fervent backer of energy conservation efforts, recycling and resource recovery and the city won national recognition for its creative use of open space, urban parks and greenways. He's a badly needed antidote to the retrograde Helms, and environmentalists everywhere should take special pleasure in ensuring his election on Nov. 5. Send contributions to: Gantt for Senate 119 E. 8th St., Suite A Charlotte, NC 28202 (704) 376-3293

John Kerry (D-Mass.)

Like David Bonior in the House, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry has been a pivotal player on defense in the 104th Congress, most notably in his successful efforts to block former Senate majority leader Bob Dole's sweeping, anti- environmental "regulatory reform" proposals. And, like Bonior, he also has a long history of championing environmental issues, both in his home state as lieutenant governor and nationally during his 12 years in the U.S. Senate. He not only led the fight to include acid rain provisions in the 1990 Clean Air Act, but helped write the Magnuson (fisheries protection) and Marine Mammal Protection acts. Kerry, who has earned a near-perfect LCV rating over his two Senate terms, has also worked to reform the 1872 Mining Law, cut federal subsidies to the ranching industry and repeal the 104th Congress' "logging without laws" rider. He has also been a vocal opponent of "takings" legislation.

Kerry faces a strong challenge this November from Massachusetts Gov. William Weld. Although not viewed as an anti-environmental extremist, Weld stayed conspicuously silent on his party leadership's War on the Environment, ignoring conservationists' pleas to speak out as a prominent Republican against the congressional assault on our air, water and health. Weld has also spoken out in favor of so-called regulatory reform as proposed by Dole. Send contributions to: Kerry for Senate 129 Portland St., Suite 301 Boston, MA 02114 (617) 742-9696

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