McCain’s Not-So-Mavericky Record on Environmental Issues

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Yesterday, the John McCain camp issued a press release in conjunction with a new ad touting Sen. McCain’€™s record on the environment. See the ad for yourself on the YouTube(s).

‘€œFive years ago,’€ says the ad, ‘€œJohn McCain stood up to the President and sounded the alarm on global warming.’€ As proof of his maverickiness, the creators of the ad were able to scrape together just a single UPI article titled, ‘€œMcCain climate views clash with GOP.’€ The article is actually less than a month old. The political director for the Sierra Club said Sen. McCain “is using the environment as a way to portray himself as being different from George Bush. But the reality is that he isn’t.”

The McCain press release came just one day after Sen. McCain supported an end to the federal ban on offshore oil drilling, which environmental groups vehemently oppose. Today, President Bush made the same proposal. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) issued their own press release chastising Sen. McCain, stating: ‘€œIf Senator McCain is serious about ending our addiction to oil and helping working families with inefficient cars, why has he voted against or missed every fuel efficiency bill since 1990?’€

You also may recall back in May Sen. McCain saying, ‘€œI’m proud of my record on the environment.’€ Environmental groups think otherwise. In 2007, the LCV gave him a ZERO for skipping ‘€œevery single crucial environmental vote.’€ His lifetime score with the organization is an earth-shattering 27 out of 100. The executive director of the Sierra Club had this to say of Sen. McCain’€™s record in 2007: “McCain missed votes to save his constituents $499 million dollars at the pump and at least $550 million on their energy bills, while creating more than 10,000 new clean energy jobs in his home state.’€

And here’€™s a skipped vote from 2008.

And another.

When he did find time to cast votes favored by environmental groups, his support coincided less with conservation concerns and more with the concerns of developers and former staffers. A Washington Post article titled, ‘€œMcCain Pushed Land Swap That Benefits Backer,’€ detailed Sen. McCain’€™s support for a land swap deal that expanded a national park in Arizona only after several of his former staffers and backers, who stood to profit from the swap, lobbied him to do so. In April, the New York Times reported on a separate but similar deal.

The McCain campaign continues to peddle two myths over all others: McCain’€™s experience and his “outsider” label. But what his record really shows is a series of missed opportunities and conservative politics-as-usual.

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Cody currently oversees online communications, web development, and graphic design at One Wisconsin Now & the Institute, having served previously as Deputy Research Director.