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New Dems Provide Strong Voice for Environment

Mother Earth was one of the winners on November 7, according to Amanda Griscom Little's Salon article "Green Gains". Little reports that the League of Conservation Voters re-elected 8 of its 9 supported candidates and defeated 9 of the 13 "dirty dozen" it targeted for defeat. And it gets better, as Little explains:

Jerry McNerney (a Democrat), also has the environment to thank for his stunning victory over House Resources Committee chairman Richard Pombo (a Republican), who for 14 years represented the Golden State's 11th Congressional District and rose to become one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress. A no-name wind-energy engineer, McNerney made clean energy his signature issue and painted himself a zealous eco-warrior against the backdrop of Pombo's relentless efforts to drill in sensitive natural areas, butcher the Endangered Species Act and open millions of acres of public lands to development.

...The new Democratic senator-elect from Montana, Jon Tester, beat out Republican environmental foe Conrad Burns with a similarly enthusiastic environmental platform. An organic farmer turned state senator, Tester centered much of his TV advertising on his plans to make Montana a stronghold of the new energy economy. As president of the state Senate, he pushed through a 2005 law requiring utilities in Montana to derive 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2015.

This same message also cropped up during the campaign of Missouri's new Democratic senator-elect, Claire McCaskill, who ousted Republican Jim Talent, an avid proponent of oil extraction in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And it was a theme in the gubernatorial races of Democrat Bill Ritter in Colorado, who beat out his drilling-happy Republican opponent Bob Beauprez, and Democrat Ted Strickland in Ohio, who walloped Republican Ken Blackwell with a campaign that included a promise to spend roughly $250 million on next-gen alternative-energy projects.

In addition, Speaker-in-waiting Nancy Pelosi has named energy independence one of the top action priorities for the incomming House of Representatives. As Cathy Duvall, Sierra Club political director says "Voters...gave a green light to a new energy future."