Are There Any Environmentalists Among Mitt Romney’s VP Options?

Mitt Romney Holds Town Hall MeetingBy Mark Kneubuhl

In a recent CBS/New York times poll, 54 percent of Americans believe that the president can do a lot to combat high gas prices. The fact is that JP Morgan can do much more to lower fuel prices than any sitting president can. Other polls confirm that Obama appear to slip as a function of higher fuel prices.

This is the great political quagmire in where people cast their ballot based on misinformation.  And although, the Environment ranks quite low on the lists of politic priorities (and even lower among Republicans), voters know very little about who’s doing what to help our planet.

As a front runner in the bid for the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney’s position on the environment is well known. We even know what kind of cereal he prefers! But what about his preference in a running mate, and in particular, their respective positions on the environment?

Below are 10 Vice Presidential prospects, a list that was gathered from the collective opinions of various media organizations and political experts.

1-Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-Nevada)
Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada is the candidate that’s talked about a lot.  He’s young and popular in his home state, but most important, he’s Hispanic.

Sandoval’s biggest environment accolade was as Attorney General where he opposed the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal project.  His reason was that the “federal government could not demonstrate that the site could properly protect the health, safety and welfare of the men, women and children of Nevada.”

2-Gov. Susana Martinez (R-New Mexico)
Governor Susana Martinez is the first Latina Governor in the history of the United States, two different demographics that Romney would love to higher his standings.

Here is Martinez’s Achilles heel:  In January of last year, as the newly appointed Governor, replacing Democrat Bill Richardson, she removed all members of New Mexico’s Environmental Improvement Board because of what she said was its “anti-business” policies.

At the time, New Mexico was the only state besides California to move forward on comprehensive global warming regulations. The move threatens to cripple the Western Climate Initiative, a California-driven effort to enact a regional trading program to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

3-Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida)
For Mitt Romney, Senator Marco Rubio has the right stuff and most agree he’ll make the “shorter,” short list.  He’s Hispanic, young, popular with voters in his home state and popular with the Tea Party. He’s also from Florida, one of the most important swing states.

Although he’s only been in office just over a year he has sponsored 16 bills without success and co-sponsored 195 bills with only two that passed. On worrisome bill, where the environment-conscience voter is concerned is Rubio’s most recent bill, S.2115- State Waters Partnership Act of 2012: A bill to limit the authority of the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency with respect to certain numeric nutrient criteria, and for other purposes.  This bill would overturn previous established allowable concentrations of nitrogen and phosphate levels in all Florida waterways. Like most Rubio bills, it not expected to pass.

4-Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky will also appear on Romney’s short list. As we all know, he’s the son of the legendary libertarian Ron Paul, and there is some rumbling of a “secrete bargain” between Romney and Paul Sr.

The League of Conservation Voters, gave Paul a 18 out of 100, which for republicans who generally score very low compared to their Democrat counterparts, is not all that bad. This last year he supported the end of ethanol subsidies and supported HR1- Sweeping Environmental Funding and Policy Assault.

5-Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana)
Governor Bobby Jindal is solidly conservative and immensely popular in his home state. Politico.com wrote an article after the gulf oil spill disaster entitled, “Bobby Jindal: Oil Spill Hero or BP’s BFF?” For all Republican environmentalist, this should be required reading.  PRESS HERE

6-Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
Aside from a few budget skeleton in Senator Rob Portman’s closet (from the Bush era)and lack of experience, some believe he would be Mitt Romney’s ideal running mate.  He’s recognized by conservatives as a leader on the budget and he’s a popular Senator from one of the most important swing states in the country.

The League of Conservation Voters, gave Portman a flat zero for his environmental performance in the 111th Congress but his lifetime score is an impressive 23/100, above even a few democrats.

7-Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Indiana)
A lot of conservatives begged him to enter the race for President due to his record of “reasonable” conservatism. He has a profile that goes well with the Republican mainstream. His largest “Steamer Trunk” is his record on unions which would cause real trouble in Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

I’ll give you two quotes. Keep in mind, this is what Governor Mitch Daniels says.

“Last year, we wiped out the last of a 550-case backlog of old, and therefore less strict, environmental permits, and are now the only state completely current. Our goal for 2012 is to maintain this status and, if national limits are lowered yet again, to find a way to meet those standards, too.” (Indiana 2012 State of the State Address)

The EPA declared with no statutory basis at all that it had the power to regular carbon dioxide, which is necessary to live on this planet, as a dangerous pollutant, on par with mercury or lead…  The unelected EPA and the unelected federal judiciary collaborated to redefine CO2 on their own, unleashing the agency to pursue the irrational, horrendously expensive, job-killing policy of carbon limitation…” (9/20/11, Keeping the Republic, p.163

8-Gov. Chris Christie (R-New Jersey)
Governor Chris Christie’s  aggressive and pushy style have won him favor among a small demographic known as the Republican Jersey Shore Watchers.  He’s one of those who most conservative love but few can tell you why.

Were the environment is concerned, Christie is difficult to figure out:

“I’m certainly not a scientist, which is the first problem. So I can’t claim to fully understand all of this… But when you have over 90 percent of the world’s scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and that humans play a contributing role, it’s time to defer to the experts.” (5/26/11)

This quote came during a speech in which Christie announced plans to pull New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a 10-state pact designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Christie insisted he pulled out only because the RGGI wasn’t working, reiterating his acknowledgment of climate science. “We have an obligation to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions… but we’re not going to do it by participating in gimmicky programs that haven’t worked.”

9-Gov. Bob McDonnell  Bob McDonnell is a first term governor who served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1993 to 2006 and served as Attorney General of Virginia from 2006 to 2009. As a legislator, McDonnell was a strong advocate for the protection of the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia’s Watersheds and although he openly supports off-shore drilling he pushed to establish Virginia as a “Green Jobs Zone” to encourage renewable energy technologies.

10-Condoleeza Rice  Put everything ever written about all the other nine VP hopefuls, multiply it by a 1000 and you still have only a fraction of what has been written about Condoleeza Rice.  If she does get picked by Mitt Romney as his running mate, her position on all things, including the environment, will be front and center once again. We’ll only mention that in mid-2007 she was caught by photographer test driving a Testra Roadster electric car. She showed the cameraman two-thumbs up.

For the record and while appearing on Fox news earlier this month, the former Secretary of State rejected the Romney/Rice ticket.

They all say that!

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Posted by at March 30, 2012
Filed in category: Environment, Politics,

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