With the presidential elections just around the corner, many votersstill have not made up their minds about which candidate they’llchoose. One issue upon which they have a fairly clear choice— at leastamong the major party candidates— is the environment. In the second ofa two part series, the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Grahamreports on the environmental views of Democrat Al Gore:
With the presidential elections (one week) away, many voters still have not
made up their minds about which candidate they’ll choose. One issue upon
which they have a fairly clear choice —at least among the major party
candidates— is the environment. In the second of two parts, the Great Lakes
Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports on the environmental views of
Democrat Al Gore.
As the number two man in the Clinton administration, Al Gore’s reputation as
a green candidate has been damaged. Gore’s book on the environment, Earth in
The Balance, was hailed by environmentalists when it was first released. But,
now, almost a decade later many of those same environmentalists have been
disappointed by his lackluster support of their issues while serving as
Vice President. Gore’s been almost silent during the campaign on what could
have been a keystone issue for him. It was only a few weeks ago, during the
second presidential debate that many voters got their first real view of Al
Gore’s environmental positions.
Gore-1 “I’m really strongly committed to clean water and clean air and
cleaning up the new kinds of challenges like global warming. I— he’s right
that I’m not in favor of energy taxes. I am in favor of tax cuts to
encourage and give incentives for the quicker development of these new kinds
In a recent talk before a group of environmental journalists, Gore advisor
Katy McGinty went even further, comparing the record of her candidate with
that of Republican George Bush.
“The records, the plans, the proposals, the commitments are clear.
rhetoric aside, the reality is that al gore has been a lifelong committed
servant to public health protections and the environment. George Bush has
put the polluters above the people, the special interests before the common
interests. In Al Gore’s hands the environment has been and will be safe.”
And McGinty says under a President Gore, the environment would become even
safer. Gore, she says, wants the US to lead the way in reducing the
pollution that causes global warming. He wants the government to help the
Big Three auto manufacturers build cars that pollute less– or not at all.
He wants the government to preserve big tracts of land for wildlife. Gore
believes the federal government can and should lead the way in protecting
However, George Bush uses those kinds of ideas to draw a line of distinction
between himself and Al Gore. Bush says Gore’s plans show he wants the
federal government to take an activists role in restricting pollution and
protecting the environment. Governor Bush says more of the decisions should
be made at the state and local levels.
Christopher Demuth is George Bush’s environmental advisor. Demuth also
spoke to the gathering of environmental journalists. He told them Al Gore is
a romantic environmentalist.
“Romantic environmentalism consists largely of denying the reality
of practical policy— policy making. It’s modus operandi is the dramatic
claim of impending catastrophe and the moralistic attack on anyone who makes
a compromise in the pursuit of environmental progress.”
In contrast, Demuth says Governor Bush is a practical environmentalist who
compromises when it makes sense.
Vice-president gore, though, says the Bush campaign is framing the issue in
the wrong way.
“I think that holding on to the old ways and the old argument that
The environment and the economy are in conflict is really outdated. We have
to be bold. We have to provide leadership. Now, it’s true that we disagree
on this. The Governor said he doesn’t think this problem is necessarily
caused by people. He’s for letting the oil companies into the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge. Houston’s just become the smoggiest city in the
country and Texas is number one in industrial pollution. We have a very
different outlook. And I’ll tell you this, I will fight for a clean
environment in ways that strengthen our economy.”
Early in his campaign Gore was criticized for allowing environmental
compromises during the Clinton administration. Some environmental groups say
Gore backed away from his earlier positions on the environment. However… in
the general campaign… many of those groups have put aside their differences
with Al Gore… and now support his candidacy. They say that even if Gore only
lives up to half of his promises, he’ll do more for their issues than a Bush
White House ever would.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.