RALEIGH, NC —Environment North Carolina announced its endorsements for the 2012 election season, shining a spotlight on key pro-environment candidates for state government and the White House.
“When it comes to the air we breathe, the water we drink and the places we love, elections matter. Environment North Carolina is proud to endorse Barack Obama, Walter Dalton, and more than a dozen candidates for the North Carolina General Assembly who deserve our support as the right choices for voters who care about clean water, clean air, clean energy, and protecting our most treasured natural landscapes,” said Elizabeth Ouzts, Environment North Carolina Director.
“President Obama has aggressively protected our families’ health by tackling pollution that threatens the quality of our air and our water. He has advanced policies to dramatically reduce our dependence on oil and has doubled the nation’s reliance on clean renewable energy. To move us toward a clean energy future and to protect our environment and health, President Barack Obama gets Environment North Carolina’s enthusiastic support.”
On the heels of the worst legislative biennium for the environment in recent memory, Environment North Carolina also emphasized the need for a leader in the Governor’s mansion that would work across the aisle for popular initiatives like clean energy and land conservation, while putting a stop to the most extreme attacks on the environment proposed on Jones Street.
“As Senator and Lt. Governor, Walter Dalton has championed the cause of conserving North Carolina’s natural areas. He’s sponsored successful legislation to create Chimney Rock State Park and increase solar power in our state by more than six-fold. He supports a cautious approach to fracking, the controversial form of gas drilling, in contrast to his opponent, who’s advocating drilling now and asking questions about water pollution and water supply later,” said Elizabeth Ouzts. “We’re proud to support Walter Dalton for Governor.”
During a biennium in which lawmakers slashed conservation funds, eroded protections for waters like Jordan Lake, ignored science on sea level rise, and removed prohibitions on fracking, 79 legislators scored a zero on Environment North Carolina’s scorecard in one or both years.
“We need to replace these ‘conservation zeroes,’ said Ouzts. “We need more lawmakers in the General Assembly who’ll support common sense solutions to protect the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the natural beauty that makes North Carolina special. We need more lawmakers who recognize that a clean and healthy environment and a robust economy go hand in hand.”
Environment North Carolina is endorsing four challengers to unseat lawmakers who earned a zero percent on its scorecard in at least one of the last two years.
Senate 9: Deb Butler believes in community planning and responsible growth and energy conservation. She is running against Senator Thom Goolsby, who has a lifetime 0% score for his votes in favor of offshore drilling, fracking, and ignoring sea level rise science, among others.
House 41: Jim Messina is campaigning to stop the rush to approve fracking and to restore Jordan Lake. His opponent, Rep. Tom Murry, earned a zero percent in 2011 and voted five separate times in 2012 to promote fracking, which could threaten Jordan Lake.
House 93: A former representative, Cullie Tarleton earned an 82% on Environment North Carolina’s environmental scorecard, sponsored and passed legislation to create Grandfather Mountain State Park, and promoted land and water conservation. He’s running to replace Rep. Jonathan Jordan, who has a lifetime Environment North Carolina score of 5%.
House 116: Another former representative, Jane Whilden has a lifetime environmental score of 80% and is campaigning for clean energy incentives, land conservation, and recycling programs in local communities. Her opponent Tim Moffit has a lifetime score of 0%.
Environment North Carolina is also announcing endorsements in four open seats, supporting candidates whose records and surveys indicate they’ll be strong advocates for protecting the state’s air and water.
Senate District 17: Wake County Commissioner Erv Portman has been a key proponent of a clean Jordan Lake, open space protection, and responsible growth.
House District 19: Emilie Swearingen wrote the state’s first Energy Conservation Plan as a staff member with the state’s Energy Division. As a Kure Beach Town Councilor, she’s promoted beach sweeps and the preservation of greenways and open space.
House District 49: Keith Karlsson is a member of Raleigh’s Environmental Advisory Board, and previously worked at the Environmental Division of the NC Department of Justice. He’s particularly concerned about the need for a clean Falls Lake and Jordan Lake.
House District 115: Attorney Susan Wilson is campaigning to protect common sense solutions for North Carolina’s environment—from her mountain district to the coast. She’s particularly supportive of clean, alternative energy sources.
Finally, Environment North Carolina announced endorsements for ten candidates for the General Assembly who not only vote to protect the state’s air, water, and open spaces all or almost all of the time, but who are outspoken champions for the preserving and improving the quality of the environment and the quality of our lives—even in the face of powerful special interest opposition.
“We’re proud to endorse these conservation heroes—legislators who never hesitate to speak up and take action in defense of our environment,” said Ouzts.
The champions endorsed are: Sen. Doug Berger, Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, Sen. Josh Stein, Rep. Martha Alexander, Rep. Susan Fisher, Rep. Rick Glazier, Rep. Pricey Harrison, Rep. Verla Inkso, Rep. Paul Leubke, and Rep. Deborah Ross.
“With the polluter lobby spending insane amounts of campaign cash on this election it is more important than ever that North Carolina voters support those candidates who share our environmental values and who will protect our air, our water, our special places and our families’ health,” said Ouzts. “This election season, the choice for our planet is clear.”
Environment North Carolina is a statewide, citizen-funded environmental advocacy group working for a cleaner, greener healthier future.