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Environmentalists Blast McCain’s Choice of Palin as VP

By August 29, 2008

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Republican presidential contender John McCain today named Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate, a decision that drew immediate criticism from many leading environmentalists owing to Palin’s record on several key environmental and energy issues.

Palin favors more offshore oil drilling, is a leading advocate for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil exploration, and claims that there is no relationship between global warming and human activity or greenhouse-gas emissions.

As governor of Alaska, Palin sued the U.S. Interior Department over its decision to list polar bears as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, supports hunting wolves from the air, has pushed to build a controversial natural-gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope, and opposed a windfalls-profit tax on oil companies, which would have provided funding for renewable energy development.

Read more about Sarah Palin's energy and environmental record and positions. And read what leading environmentalists are saying about McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate and possible vice president.

Friends of the Earth Action President Brent Blackwelder:

Sarah Palin's record is not extensive--just two years ago she was the mayor of a city of less than 10,000 people--but what her record indicates is troubling. This spring, she opposed the listing of polar bears as a 'threatened' species. She supports the brutal aerial hunting of wolves. And she has been a friend of Big Oil, opposing a windfall profits tax on the oil industry that could fund affordable clean energy for more Americans.
Sierra Club President Carl Pope:

With the pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for his running mate, John McCain's race towards the Bush administration's failed energy policy is now complete.

John McCain was once willing to stand up to his own party, but now that he is running for President, he supports the same Bush policies and powerful special interests that put us in the grip of the oil companies. One of the last remaining independent policies putting him at odds with Bush was his opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, yet he has now picked a running mate who has opposed holding Big Oil accountable and been dismissive of alternative energy while focusing her work on more oil drilling in a wildlife refuge and off of our coasts.

No one is closer to the oil industry than Governor Palin. Along with her support for drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and off our coasts, she also opposes a windfall profit tax on the richest oil companies. Under her leadership, Alaska has sued the federal government for considering listing the Polar Bear as a threatened species even though global warming threatens its very existence. She has been dismissive of alternative energy, saying ‘alternative-energy solutions are far from imminent and would require more than 10 years to develop,’ when in reality it is the oil she would like to drill that would take a decade to bring to market.

Senator McCain has lost any chance of having a balanced or moderate ticket with this choice and has instead opted for the same, business-as-usual reliance on the outdated oil companies that has been the hallmark of the Bush-Cheney administration. On the third anniversary of the hurricane that knocked loose oil rigs and spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf Coast that is bracing for another hit, McCain is sending a terribly indifferent message by selecting a candidate who only repeats Big Oil's talking points.

League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski:

Unfortunately, with her support for drilling in the Arctic Refuge and off our coasts, Governor Palin will simply continue the failed policies of the Bush-Cheney Administration and their Big Oil friends -- policies that could make us even more dependent on foreign oil.

Governor Palin characterizes McCain’s flip-flop on drilling offshore as a positive step in his transformation from maverick to Big Oil's best friend. She has implored McCain to change his position against drilling in the Arctic—something she will have plenty of opportunities to pursue as his running mate.

In addition to supporting backward-looking energy policies, Governor Palin has also opposed a crucial clean water initiative, sued the federal government for listing polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and opposed other important wildlife protection measures.

Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund President Rodger Schlickeisen:

Senator McCain’s choice for a running mate is beyond belief. By choosing Sarah Palin, McCain has clearly made a decision to continue the Bush legacy of destructive environmental policies.

Sarah Palin, whose husband works for BP (formerly British Petroleum), has repeatedly put special interests first when it comes to the environment. In her scant two years as governor, she has lobbied aggressively to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, pushed for more drilling off of Alaska’s coasts, and put special interests above science. Ms. Palin has made it clear through her actions that she is unwilling to do even as much as the Bush administration to address the impacts of global warming. Her most recent effort has been to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the polar bear from the endangered species list, putting Big Oil before sound science. As unbelievable as this may sound, this actually puts her to the right of the Bush administration.

This is Senator McCain’s first significant choice in building his executive team and it’s a bad one. It has to raise serious doubts in the minds of voters about John McCain’s commitment to conservation, to addressing the impacts of global warming and to ensuring our country ends its dependency on oil.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images


August 31, 2008 at 11:25 pm
(1) MGStrain says:

The Republican slogan should be “McCain and
Pa in.”

September 1, 2008 at 2:42 pm
(2) guidoLaMoto says:

-Only 4 of the 22 clans of polar bears are decreasing in numbers. Twelve are increasing. They don’t need special protected status
-There is no relationship between human activity and GW. (We should be conserving energy for other reasons.)
-Greenies thought the original Alaskan Pipeline would cause problems. It hasn’t. Why couldn’t a new one be done intelligently also?
-The ANWR is 2 million acres. Surely we could sacrifice 20 acres to oil developement, if we had to. Now isn’t the right time for strategic reasons.
-The windfall profit tax in 1974 was a major contributing factor to the recession and record inflation problems of Carter’s administration. Haven’t we learned?
-I gotta admit, I don’t see a reason for “sportsmen” to hunt from the air. Wildlife management is another story.

September 2, 2008 at 11:28 am
(3) Renato says:

It’s quite unbelievable how someone says, nowadays, that the Global Warming has got nothing to do with human activity. It’s like denying that stars or seas or trees exist. It’s obvious that the Earth’s glaciations are not caused uniquely by human activity, but it is undenyable that human activity brings us closer; it accelerates the weather changes more rapidly. And, Guido, it seems there’s is never a right time for strategic reasons. I’m not an American, but the fact remains, as you question and very well indeed, that no, you haven’t learned. The United States of America never learns for it’s mistakes. It always repeats them. It’s a shame such a beautiful and powerful country always misuses it’s power.

September 2, 2008 at 1:55 pm
(4) guidoLaMoto says:

-Renato, you’re an excellent example of how people always forget: you think Americans ALWAYS misuse our power? You must be from Germany, then. The rest of Europe was saved twice last century by our unselfish efforts. We could have easily turned inward and ignored the rest of the world. We won’t get into our efforts to keep totalitarianism out of western Europe, and its our defense spending that allows Canada & Japan to spend so little. They know we’ll come to their aid.
-As for GW: check out the forum here to familiarize yourself with the facts. Then decide to what extent fossil fuels contribute the (non)problem.

September 5, 2008 at 10:25 pm
(5) wendyo says:

There is absoulutely no need for opening the Artic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, even a scant 20 acres! The oil companies, who in large part Sarah Palin is pretty close to, don’t need more oil leases. They have all the land they need for oil drilling and are only looking to get as much as they can while they can. Let the oil companies drill some of the land they already have and leave some land to the future.

Not only does this big oil loving governor want to allow the indiscriminate killing of wolves and anything else on four legs, she wants to despoil the very state she is supposed to be taking care of by being governor. Does this woman have no thought for the future of not only her children but the children of the rest of America. I’d like to think my grandchildren will have something left of this beautiful country, but with this woman it doesn’t look good.

Quite frankly I’m of the same mind as I was last week when the Republicans first chose Sarah Palin, I’m horrified at this choice. I also think whether he will ever admit it or not poor John McCain must be seeing the party he’s with as having shot itself it the foot so to speak, with this rediculous VP choice.

September 5, 2008 at 11:12 pm
(6) JC says:

We should pursue all energy technologies. Including drilling.

To *reduce* the cost of oil extraction (thus the COST of fuel to consumers); oil companies need to extract from the most accessible areas – like AWAR, and the continental shores. Leases are often unused because of the COST or extraction.

Anyone who lives in the fly over country will tell you that at times you MUST eliminate *some* animals so the rest can thrive happily. Wolves will die a miserable death if they are not thinned. Not to mention the damage they can do on farms and ranches. (Which will effect food prices!)

Environmentalist interference (that means well!) is sometimes the BIGGEST problem.

For example, because of do-gooders, horses are no longer allowed to be used for dog food, but can be sold to over seas for food. Since the fuel prices have gone up, as well as the cost of appropriate shipping costs/shots, no one wants to buy these horses.

People who could have sold these horses at auction, now find that they can’t GIVE them away. Many dump these horses off in secluded pastures, usually with no food or water, where these poor horses STARVE to death with o food or water before anyone notices they were there.

I love horses I have 4 (two rescued) — but I would rather see them be useful in dog food, to go thought this cruelty. I would choose this for myself put in this same predicament.

Beware – reality often is far more cruel than the “shooting” stories you read such as these wolves. Would you prefer they dog fight for territory and slowly die from wounds? Or starve because of competition of packs?

We need to think before doing “good”.

September 7, 2008 at 11:57 am
(7) Carl says:

Hearing and reading the debate as to whether human kind has influence on our planet is like watching a volleyball game. Compelling arguments are made from both sides of the net. I’m not an expert and wish to state this loudly, so as not to have an unqualified influence on any of you. BUT I will say this with absolute confidence, that to believe we are not an influence on the incredibly complex ecology is very nieve. We have had influence since the first homonids had been classified as Modern man, since the first use of fire with the resulting smoke, since we were about to wipe out hole species such as the bear in Europe, or the mammoth by the native people of N. America.

We are inpacting in everything we do, be it bad, like the toxins expelled from burning fosselized plant matter, to the breathing of these particulates like a house hold vacuum cleaner while riding a bike, or walking. Everything in some way, be it small, or large has a rippling effect on everything else. It doesn’t matter how small the stone tossed onto the calm pond, it’s going to create a reation on the pond surface, be it good, or not so.
I for one am tired of seeing bumper stickers that say, “Love your mother”, “save the planet”, etc…, on cars that are owned by people that can’t be bothered to ride a bicycle to the grocery store, or to the gym that’s only a mile or two away. Really folks, freedom is the chance to do the right thing on a personal lever for this beloved earth that brought us to existance, not so much to have a vote for a candidate we will then rely on to make everything right (while we still are complaining that it’s infringing on our freedoms (gas tax for one)).

Do the right think, reduce, or eliminate oil from you life the best way you can under the current oil-base culture we know. This is a show of strength and a demonstration to other less strong that there is an option for them too. I know that all of you, who really don’t care to breath the emissions from your exhaust pipe, must agree. For those of you who still don’t share this view, I can only say, though I don’t recommend, that you place your nose six-inches from your car exhaust pipe at idel. Now, ask someone (who doesn’t like you) to press the gas peddle until the RPM guage reads 2500rpm. How are you liking it now (remember, the engine isn’t under a torch load, so this is much less than when traveling at 60 mph (don’t complain, just stay there)). After this expercience, if you are still alive, again ask your self, “are my actions with the use of fossel fuels really impacting the planet”? I trust no onw is so ignorant to actually do this experiment and again, I would like to discourage this means of knowledge gathering. A less harmful experiment is to simply hold your breath for fifteen-seconds as a reminder that you too do need clean air constantly. Please concider this none the less.

September 13, 2008 at 3:11 am
(8) LESLIE says:

DRILL BABY DRILL!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 20, 2008 at 11:24 pm
(9) Nancy V. says:

Anyone who parrots the stupid comment, “drill baby drill”, is an idiot. Instead of chanting this nonsense, start to learn more about our precious earth and how to protect it instead of destroying it.

October 6, 2008 at 8:51 pm
(10) Jennie P. says:

People’s all-encompassing ignorance is nauseating. I detested Palin prior to her beautiful catch phrase, which has been kindly reiterated for us, yet that was definite deciding factor . . . well, the selfish and revolting desire to tear apart a fantastic ecosystem didn’t really inspire any love either….

October 20, 2008 at 12:18 am
(11) Honey BUnches o oats says:

wow…i cant believe your even arguing that global warming is not man made…you must be stuck in teh dark ages dude

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