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Environment Wins in Democratic Landslide

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  • Mike Neuman
    Environment Wins in Democratic Landslide WASHINGTON, DC, November 8, 2006 (ENS) - Democrats upset Republicans across the country Tuesday to win control of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 8, 2006
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      Environment Wins in Democratic Landslide

      WASHINGTON, DC, November 8, 2006 (ENS) - Democrats upset Republicans
      across the country Tuesday to win control of the House of
      Representatives for the first time since 1994 - spelling an end to
      the terms of some of the legislators most disliked by

      The Democrats could also win control of the U.S. Senate, but that
      outcome hinges on close races in Montana and Virginia.

      House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California will move into the
      Speaker's seat, becoming the first woman Speaker of the House in U.S.
      history. Her environmental views match those of conservationists,
      particularly on climate and energy issues.

      Pelosi supports legislation to control global warming introduced by
      Democrats earlier this year. The measure would establish a market-
      based emissions trading system for the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

      Nancy Pelosi of California will become the first woman Speaker of the
      House in U.S. history. (Photo courtesy Office of the Congresswoman)
      "The Safe Climate Act will harness free market forces to ensure that
      our nation takes the steps necessary to prevent dangerous,
      irreversible warming of our planet," Pelosi said in July.
      Her position is opposite to that of the Bush administration and the
      Republican Congressional leaders who have attempted to deny and
      suppress evidence of climate change.

      Pelosi opposes drilling for oil in the pristine Arctic National
      Wildlife Refuge. "We should not sacrifice the Arctic coastal plain,
      one of America's last truly wild places, for the sake of a small
      amount of oil," she said.

      "Democrats are stepping forward with new ideas and new solutions,"
      Pelosi said. "We can't drill our way to energy independence – but we
      can grow our way to energy independence. America's farmers are ready
      to grow energy crops that will end our dependence on oil from
      unstable regions."

      "Today, the American people voted for change, and they voted for
      Democrats to take our country in a new direction. And that is exactly
      what we intend to do," Pelosi said.

      In California's 11th Congressional District, Congressman Richard
      Pombo, who had used his position as chair of the House Resources
      Committee to weaken the Endangered Species Act, was defeated by Jerry
      McNerney, a wind engineering and renewable energy professional.

      Heavy spending on anti-Pombo commercials by out-of-state
      environmental groups helped tip the balance against the seven-term
      incumbent Pombo.

      California voters elected Democrat Jerry McNerney to replace
      Congressman Richard Pombo. (Photo courtesy McNerney campaign)
      As McNerney outpaced Pombo, the Sierra Club declared
      victory. "Pombo's defeat is not just a victory for the people of
      California's 11th-district, said Sierra Club Executive Director Carl
      Pope. "This is a moment to be savored by anyone who loves Yosemite
      National Park or the California coast or Giant Sequoia National
      Monument, places Pombo worked to mine, drill, or log."
      "On the issue of energy policy in particular, America is extremely
      fortunate to be replacing someone who's energy priorities were
      dictated by Big Oil with a man who is an expert on renewable wind
      power and who has the vision to help our nation develop smart new
      energy technologies and jobs," said Pope.

      The League of Conservation Voters used a radio ad to inform voters
      about "the $120,000 Pombo has taken from Big Oil, his ties to
      disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, his use of a taxpayer money to rent
      an RV for a family vacation, and the fact that dirty air and water
      are not a concern of his."

      Calling him the "leading opponent of animal welfare in Congress," the
      Humane Society Legislative Fund launched a campaign to help defeat
      Pombo. The group cited Pombo's support of commercial whaling, horse
      slaughter, bear baiting on public lands and the use of leghold traps
      on National Wildlife Refuges.

      But California voters rejected the costliest ballot initiative
      campaign in state history, defeating Proposition 87 that would have
      taxed state oil production to fund alternative energy research to the
      tune of $4 billon.

      Oil field in California's Kern County. California is the third-
      largest on-shore oil producing state. (Photo courtesy BLM)
      Oil companies spent close to $100 million to kill Proposition 87,
      saying they already pay too much in California's high corporate
      income tax and other taxes.
      Other conservation initiatives were approved by voters, including a
      $17 million Arizona bond for recreational opportunities, open spaces
      and parks.

      In Alaska, a $3.95 million bond to protect water quality and to
      preserve and enhance open space and natural areas failed by a narrow

      Michigan turned down the shooting of mourning doves, authorized by a
      bill narrowly passed by the legislature and signed into law by
      Governor Jennifer Granholm last year. The new law permitted the
      shooting of mourning doves in Michigan for the first time since 1905.

      The Committee to Keep Doves Protected successfully campaigned to
      overturn the bill and to restore Michigan's 100 year tradition of
      protecting the mourning dove, Michigan's official bird of peace.

      California voters appeared likely to approve Proposition 1E, which
      proposes $4.1 billion in debt financing for levee repair and flood
      control programs to shore up the state's deteriorating levee system
      in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Early this morning the measure
      had 63 percent support.

      Proposition 84, a measure seeking $5.4 billion for California flood
      control, water and natural resource projects, had won 52 percent of

      Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican who won an easy
      reelection victory, had campaigned in favor of the measures.

      Elsewhere across the country, Democrats took the majority of the 36
      states that elected governors, and Democrats now hold 28 governors'

      New York voters chose Democratic Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to
      replace departing Republican Governor George Pataki, whose
      environmental advances included the preservation of millions of acres
      of open space and parklands.

      Massachusetts elected Deval Patrick as its first black governor to
      succeed incumbent Republican Governor Mitt Romney, who did not run
      for a second term. Patrick becomes only the second black governor
      ever elected from any state.

      Wilderness on New Mexico's Otero Mesa is threatened by oil and gas
      exploration. (Photo by Raymond Watt courtesy New Mexico Wilderness
      Democrats were reelected in Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New
      Hampshire, Oklahoma, Wyoming, New Mexico and Tennessee, while
      Republicans were returned to office in Georgia, Nebraska, Connecticut
      and Vermont.
      In Colorado, Democrat Bill Ritter defeated GOP Congressman Bob
      Beauprez to claim the governor's mansion.

      Arkansas chose a Democrat, attorney general Mike Beebe, over
      Republican Asa Hutchinson, who served as one of the prosecutors
      during the Senate impeachment trial of Arkansas native son President
      Bill Clinton in 1998.

      Republicans for Environmental Protection, REP, said the Republican
      Party must learn from its Tuesday election losses by focusing on
      solving national problems that concern citizens instead of catering
      to special interest agendas.

      REP President Martha Marks said, "It's too bad that the wayward
      actions of party leaders tarnished Republicans as a whole and cost
      some of our most conscientious, responsive, and pro-environment
      Republican lawmakers their jobs."

      "Exit polls Tuesday night showed that citizens were very upset about
      ethical lapses in Congress," said Marks. "The corrosive effects of
      catering to narrow, parochial agendas not only caused scandals, but
      it resulted in our party failing to lead on the urgent energy and
      climate challenges facing our nation."

      "True conservatism does not condone greed, arrogance or waste. It
      requires us to be prudent, exercise restraint, and act in the long-
      term interest of both present and future generations," said REP
      Government Affairs Director David Jenkins. "That legitimate brand of
      conservatism would have prevailed at the polls. It is too bad that so
      many of our party leaders are strangers to it."
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