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Environmental Groups Applaud Defeat of Proposition 23

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kate Geller, (202) 785-8683 or kate_geller@lcv.org November 3, 2010  

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, November 3rd leading environmental groups applauded the defeat of Proposition 23. The groups also released an election poll illustrating that voters continue to support clean energy and climate policies and look to the 112th Congress to further transition the U.S. to a clean energy economy that creates jobs, reduces pollution and increases national security.

"In the one race where the words 'global warming' were literally on the ballot, voters overwhelmingly voted for clean energy, and did so in a state with the country's third highest unemployment rate, because they recognize that transitioning to a clean energy future is a path towards renewed economic prosperity. At the congressional level, we are of course disappointed that many of our friends were defeated, but it is clear that this election was about larger macro issues. Incumbents who voted for and against comprehensive energy and climate legislation lost. However, despite these strong headwinds, several climate change deniers running for Senate were defeated, while other clean energy champions are returning and were newly elected," said Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters.

The defeat of Proposition 23 was propelled by an unprecedented coalition of clean tech companies, public health advocates, community organizations, environmental activists and others.

"We have no intention of ceding America's future to Big Oil. Our biggest victory against them and corporate polluters in the country was the defeat of California's Proposition 23. A broad coalition of clean tech companies, small businesses, public health advocates, social justice groups, environmental organizations, organized labor, seniors and young people, Republicans and Democrats, all worked in tandem to continue our path toward a clean energy future. We are confident that over the next several years we will make significant progress at the federal, state and local levels to build a clean energy economy made in America," said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club

"From Delaware to Nevada, extremist Senate candidates rejecting climate science on behalf of their Big Oil funders lost states they were supposed to win," said Sue Brown, executive director of the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund. "Voters instead supported candidates working for clean energy solutions that create jobs, make America more energy independent, and cut pollution."

The new poll by the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner was conducted nationally November 1st-2nd and surveyed 1000 voters in 83 battleground districts. Among the topline findings of the poll are:

  • Members' support for the American Clean Energy & Security Act did not contribute to their defeat.
  • Despite a strongly Republican leaning electorate, battleground voters trusted the Democrat more than the Republican when it comes to energy.
  • A majority supports comprehensive energy reform. When presented with a comprehensive clean energy plan, battleground voters preferred the clean energy plan by a 16 percent margin.
  • By a considerable 22 percent margin, battleground voters believe the Environmental Protection Agency should regulate emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • By a huge 41 percent margin, voters believe "we need to hold corporations accountable for their pollution," rejecting the argument that "we should not impose new regulations that will hurt businesses."

The poll memo can be found here: http://www.lcv.org/polls/nov2010energypoll.pdf

"There was no mandate on turning back the clock on environmental protection. Polls galore show continued and strong public support for making continued progress to protect our health and boost our economy," said Heather Taylor-Miesle, director of the NRDC Action Fund. "Americans want us to unleash our ingenuity to develop clean-energy alternatives while combating climate change."

"As sure as the sun rises in the East, America is going to continue moving forward on the clean energy economy and strong environmental protection," said Anna Aurilio, Director, Washington DC Office, Environment America. "The next Congress will have to decide if it is going to be responsive to science, innovation and public support or if it will simply focus on payback to big oil and the polluter lobby that funded so many of its campaigns."

"Those who predicted a large turnover of House and Senate seats were right. Those who predicted that a vote for climate change legislation would be a significant factor in that turnover were wrong. In fact, the issue was rarely mentioned during election coverage and roughly the same percentage of incumbent Senate Democrats lost their seats as incumbent House Democrats with no climate change vote in the Senate. This was an election about unhappiness over the economy, first and last. And the majority paid the price," said Rodger Schlickeisen, President, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund

"In some of the closer races where our endorsed candidates seem to have bucked the national trend, we backed up our emphasis on clean energy issues with on-the-ground, person-to-person campaigning," said Clean Water Action's National Campaigns Coordinator, Lynn Thorp. "In California and Virginia's still too-close-to-call 11th District contests, for example, our pro-environment voters may well have delivered the winning difference."

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