Election – Bright Spots for Environment Despite Mixed Returns

The voters have spoken and 2011 will bring us a more conservative Congress where many winners ran on promises of rolling back federal spending, elements of the health care reform bill and cutting taxes. While energy and the environment did not receive the level of policy coverage that these other issues had, there are some bright spots in the returns.

Changes are in store in Congress, and NWF will be working to push clean energy solutions with members old and new. (Photo from flickr)

Here’s how NWF’s Jeremy Symons puts it:  “The clearest sign of this election that voters want action on clean energy was the resounding defeat in California of Prop 23, which would have pulled the plug on the state’s best-in-nation plan to reduce global warming pollution.”

The epic battle pitted Big Oil barons like the Koch brothers who poured millions into the campaign against clean energy advocates that included NWF. It’s where we made our stand, mobilizing more than 100,000 members in the state and funded voter outreach. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Prop 23 went to a resounding defeat by about 39 to 61 percent.  More than a 20 point spread.

Californians also sent Barbara Boxer back to Washington to chair the Senate Envrionement committee, which is good news for defending America’s clean air, clean water and clean energy laws.

There will be big challenges ahead, and defensive battles.  We’ll need to be vigilant and ready to mobilize.

Here’s how NWF’s Symons puts it:  “There will be new faces in Washington, but clean energy and the environment are mainstream issues that resonate with voters today more than ever.  As they did after the 1994 elections, polluters will probably push the new Congress to overreach and roll back environmental protections.  But that would backfire today just as it has backfired then.

“The real appetite in the new Congress will be for bipartisan, bite-sized pieces of energy policy that protect our environment and grow our economy. “

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Published: November 3, 2010