Enviros Back Bennet, Because Obviously

Sen. Michael Bennet at Chimney Rock National Monument.

Sen. Michael Bennet at Chimney Rock National Monument.

A press release from the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund today announces that group’s and the National Resources Defense Council Action Fund’s endorsement of Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet for re-election in 2015:

The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund (LCVAF) and National Resources Defense Council Action Fund (NRDC) announced their endorsements of Sen. Michael Bennet’s re-election today, lauding his work to address climate change, protect the environment, champion renewable energy and protect Colorado’s natural treasures.

“Senator Michael Bennet has been a champion when it comes to tackling climate change and protecting our environment, and we are excited to support his re-election,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, LCVAF Senior Vice President for Government Affairs. “Michael has fought for clean air and water, worked to protect Colorado’s natural treasures like the Hermosa Creek Watershed from drilling, and led efforts to increase renewable energy. Earlier this spring, during the Senate’s budget debate, he elevated the economic and national security threats posed by climate change and the need for action. We know Michael will continue to fight for our environment as Colorado’s Senator for years to come, and we look forward to continuing to work with him.”

“We’ve known Senator Michael Bennet for years, and there’s no doubt that he’ll continue the fight against climate change and be a leader working with us to protect the environment and our natural resources,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, Director of the NRDC Action Fund. “Michael is a clean air hero who has fought against efforts to gut the Clean Air Act. He has led bipartisan efforts to protect the Hermosa Creek Watershed, Chimney Rock and Browns Canyon, and even passed amendments to make the fight against global climate a national security priority. We are proud to support his re-election.”

As the Denver Post’s John Frank reports, and we’re obliged to note having covered it in this space, Sen. Bennet’s environmental credentials are not without a few caveats:

Bennet’s support of the Keystone XL pipeline — a litmus test for ardent environmentalists — led to protests at his campaign kickoff fundraiser in March featuring a sign that read, “We don’t vote for fossil fuel politicians.” And eco-activists also demonstrated against Bennet for his support of a major trade deal in May.

The two big endorsements may help reassure environmentalists about Bennet’s credentials — even if they are unlikely to satisfy all the green activists in the Democratic Party. It also is a reflection that no major alternative — Democrat or Republican — has emerged to challenge Bennet so far.

Despite the disappointment many environmentalists rightly expressed over Bennet’s votes–in the end meaningless votes–for the Keystone XL pipeline, he has a number of actions to point to as positives on this issue as well. Bennet’s spouse Susan Daggett, a longtime former attorney for the environmental legal group Earthjustice, also helps refute the idea that Bennet is soft on the environment.

But above all, there is simply no alternative to Bennet in the mix now or likely to emerge who will be better on environmental issues than he is, and that’s why he got these endorsements so early in the race. In the absence of a strong GOP challenger, we fully expect Republicans to use votes like Keystone to drive a wedge within the Democratic coalition and weaken Bennet as much as possible. We would do the same in their situation out of sheer political expediency.

These early endorsements from credible, national environmental advocacy groups should help nip that in the proverbial bud.

17 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DawnPatrol says:

    Uh-oh. Zapp bait. 🙂

  2. Andrew Carnegie says:

    Obama and Bennet the Environmentalists:

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    • MichaelBowman says:

      It might be useful to include a link with your drive-by?  Animas River fouled by 1 million gallons of contaminated mine water.   How else is Walker Stapleton going to come up with all that gold we're suppose to be hoarding?  



    • MichaelBowman says:

      A little history lesson on Obama v. Dubya in the enviro world.  You might recall the Martin County coal slurry spill in 2000 that dumped 306 million gallons of water into its fresh water tributary in West Virginia.  For that offense, Massey Coal was fined a whopping $5,600 by Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao (you might know her as Mrs. Mitch McConnell) who was a Dubya appointee and oversaw the Mine Safety and Health Administration at the time.

      Less than two years ago Patriot Coal's breach destroyed the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginians, one-sixth of the state population.  Today, Patriot Coal is in bankruptcy; Massey Coal is defunct and Alpha Natural Resources (who gobbled them up in the anticipation of cornering the China export trade) has filed for bankruptcy. It's expected that in a very short time, every coal company in the United States will be seeking bankruptcy protection.  

      The War on Coal is real – but it's real enemies are the marketplace and geology.  But-not-for POTUS' efforts to commit federal resources on the regional challenge, the utter void in vision by the neocons and the coal lobby to bring these historically coal-based economies in to the 21st-century would sentence these Americans to generations of poverty henceforth. 

      So while our politicians have spent a couple decades trying to save a 19th-century industry with all kinds of 'fake war' campaigns, places like WV have now replaced the coal-miners workforce, once 125,000 strong, into a Wal-Mart economy: the Happy Face is now the states largest employer. (Wal-Mart is now the largest private employer in 20 of our 50 states). Many counties in Kentucky top the list in the highest percentage of welfare payments in the nation.

      Fast forward from the Martin County days to today, and we have a total collapse of the nation's coal industry (long overdue), copious amounts of shale gas thanks to fracking and all of the comfortable exceptions they still enjoy under the current Administration and Congress. KeystoneXL is still undecided, renewable energy installations exceeded all fossil fuel projects combined in 2014 and I think a global climate deal is on our doorstep – for that we can thank the current occupant of the White House.

      If you want to talk about the political landscape of 'gimmees' for exemptions for industry regarding the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act – you had to look no further than the industry heyday under Dubya and Darth.  The fact we had a million gallons of this toxic shit upstream from Durango is appalling; this problem didn't start in January of 2009 and it clearly wouldn't end with a Trump Administration.  

      I'd like to think that the 'Cement Creek' moment would be an opportunity to talk about all of the yet-remediated toxic acid mining sites in our Rocky Mountains. We all share our moments of disappointment on various positions by Obama and Bennett on the environment, but it would be hard to argue that we've gone backwards under this Administration, particularly if I compare where we might be today with a President McCain or Romney coupled with Republican majorities in Congress.  That said, we still have a long way to go…and the journey won't be without deafening, predictable cries from industry.  


    • BlueCat says:

      Thank you for proving me 100% correct in my assessment of you, AC. Couldn't have done it without you.

  3. MichaelBennet4CO says:

    Now that Sen. Bennet has a serious opponent, he needs to stay in the center on environmental policy. He needs to draw the line at the EPA's proposed revisions to NAAQS.  Labor and Business and 75% of the public know these regulations will sacrifice energy and manufacturing jobs for a minimal public health benefit.  If he doesn't stand up against them, he may well lose his moderate base. Sen. Bennet does too much good for CO for us to let that happen.   

  4. Duke Cox says:

    Concern troll.

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