Environmental election

A look at the candidates and measures that affect the environment

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For the eco-conscious—heck, even for those who don’t give a hoot about the environment—the November ballot is a big’un. Which candidates support environmental protections and which are climate-change deniers? What propositions will affect the planet? Here’s a rundown of some of the races and ballot measures from an eco-perspective. All of the information below was gleaned from official campaign websites, unless otherwise noted.

Presidential race

Hillary Clinton: She’s promised to invest in clean energy infrastructure and cut tax subsidies to oil and gas companies. She opposes the Keystone XL Pipeline and supports the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“I won’t let anyone take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change.” (Clinton, as quoted on www.hillaryclinton.com.)

Donald Trump: He’s promised to make America energy-independent. To do that, he will “unleash America’s $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves.” That means fracking. He’s also called global warming a “hoax” (politifact.com).

“My plan includes the elimination of all unnecessary regulations, and a temporary moratorium on new regulations not compelled by Congress or public safety. Overregulation is costing our economy $2 trillion a year. On energy, my economic plan unlocks our shale oil and gas, and the energy technologies of both today and tomorrow. … It is perhaps the most pro-growth economic plan in American history.” (Trump’s plan for an energy “renaissance,” as posted on www.donaldjtrump.com.)

Congressional District 1, California

Doug LaMalfa (R, incumbent): He supports clean energy, but also fracking. He wants to open up restrictions on drilling on federal lands. He consistently calls the regulation of California’s water to protect the Delta smelt “bad science.” On the League of Conservation Voters website, which ranks politicians based on their voting record on environmental issues, he gets a 0 percent lifetime score (the lowest in California).

At last week’s League of Women Voters of Butte County forum held in Chico, in which the CN&R participated by asking questions of the candidates, LaMalfa said that the “debate is not settled on climate change” and that the cap-and-trade policy we currently work under is a “job killer” that “suppresses innovation.”

Jim Reed (D): He’s anti-fracking (at least in Northern California) and pro-environmental protections. Per his website: “As an electrical engineer, with a science background, there is no doubt in my mind that global warming is real, and man-made, and this can be confirmed by experiments in laboratories. The only real issue is what we can do about it ….”

At the forum, Reed said that the “science is clear” on climate change and that the 2 percent that’s unclear was paid for by Big Oil. He also commended the voters of Butte County for banning fracking, while saying that it may be appropriate elsewhere, like Bakersfield, which “may already have ruined its water.”

California Assembly District 3

James Gallagher (R, incumbent): He takes no position on the environment on his campaign website, but the League of Conservation Voters compiled his voting record and also gave him a 0 percent. He voted against an ivory ban, against Senate Bill 350—which mandates increased renewable energy in California—and against SB 32, which would have reduced greenhouse gases exponentially.

At last week’s forum he said he believes the issue of greenhouse gases need to be addressed, but that the current way we’re going about that is too costly.

Edward Ritchie (D): He doesn’t say much about the environment on his site, except for, “As stewards of the land and its resources, it’s our responsibility to pass on this abundance and beauty to the next generations, so they may enjoy and prosper from it, just as we have.”

At the forum, Ritchie countered Gallagher’s argument and said that working toward alternative fuels fosters innovation and is an investment in the future of California businesses.

Ballot initiatives

Proposition 65: Dedication of revenue from disposable bag sales to Wildlife Conservation Fund. According to the League of Women Voters of California, Prop. 65 is deceptive, as it appears to favor the environment while actually distracting from the other plastic-bag proposition, 67. It would redirect money collected for disposable plastic bags at retailers to a wildlife fund. Sounds great, but it’s backed by four major plastic-bag manufacturers, which means it warrants a second look.

Proposition 67: Reverses veto on plastic-bag ban in California. This one’s confusing because of the wording. Voting yes would uphold the voter-approved plastic-bag ban passed in 2014.