Environmental Group's 'Dirty Dozen' Labeled Tool To 'Elect Democrats'

July 7, 2008 - 8:28 PM

(CNSNews.com) - An environmental advocacy group is releasing more names of politicians it describes as Congress' "Dirty Dozen," based on their votes on issues dealing with water quality, energy, family planning and international trade. But one critic says the listing of the dirty dozen is intended "to elect as many Democrats as possible."

Colorado Republican Sen. Wayne Allard is the latest addition to the list compiled by the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund (LCV). Allard is running for re-election this year. Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), both running for Senate seats currently occupied by Democrats, were the LCV's first selections for the dirty dozen. The remaining candidates will be selected by the fall, in time for the November elections.

The votes responsible for landing candidates on the LCV's list of the dirty dozen relate to water quality issues and whether the person supported renewable energy and land conservation.

The LCV, which has monitored the voting records of congressional candidates since 1996, says Allard, Thune and Chambliss are "anti-environmental."

Scott Stoermer, communications director for the LCV, explained that since 1996 the group has spent $8 million to defeat the dirty dozen offenders and that 23 out of 37 politicians who made the list were in fact defeated. Stoermer said the LCV tries to be "bipartisan" with its selections, but conceded that has not always been the case.

"We try to have bipartisan targets, but the reality is that we have chosen [to target] 33 Republicans and 4 Democrats since 1996," Stoermer said.

Myron Ebell, director of international environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, (CEI) believes the LCV doesn't even try to disguise its pro-Democrat bias.

"They are there to elect Democrats and Democrats only," Ebell said.

"Their long-term goal is to elect as many Democrats as possible and where possible to help green Republicans ... beat less green Republicans," Ebell added.

The LCV promotes anti-industry legislation according to Ebell.

"The LCV has always promoted the agenda of the East Coast and West Coast elites who don't have to get their hands dirty to make a living," Ebell explained.

"The LCV is not very much concerned about environmental quality as they are concerned about electing left wing politicians," he added.

Ebell points to issues like international family planning, which the LCV favors, and fast track trade authority for the president, which the LCV, opposes, as examples of how the group determines its "dirty dozen" list and promotes its agenda.

"What does that have to do with the environment? It does have to do with the left's campaign against people," he said.

But Stoermer defended the LCV's criteria for determining the "dirty dozen," insisting that the issues in question are "common sense measures to protect the environment."

Stoermer believes this year's "dirty dozen" Senate candidates are not environmentally friendly because they "have taken money from special interests who would benefit from weakening environmental laws."

Allard's office issued a press release defending the senator's environmental record and criticized the LCV selection process. Allard said his inclusion on the "dirty dozen" list is proof of the LCV's "partisan hypocrisy."

Ebell agreed, calling the list an election year tactic.

"When politics gets to the level of campaign politics, you just throw stuff out and hope that some of it sticks and that is the way the LCV works."

E-mail a news tip to Marc Morano.

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