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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Environmental Issues May Sway Some Elections

As usual, protecting the environment does not show up as a top five voter concern in the polls. But certainly there are voters for whom it is a pivotal issue, and in close elections they could make the difference between victory and defeat. To get up to speed on environmental issues at stake in the mid-terms, check out Amanda Griscom Little’s Alternet article “November’s Most Crucial Enviro Elections.” Turns out there is a lot happening at the state level, as Little notes:

Examples of ambitious state-level environmental initiatives are legion: Twenty-two states have implemented a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) mandating that a certain percentage of electricity come from clean sources such as solar and wind. Ten states have followed California’s lead in adopting clean-car legislation requiring new automobiles to have lower greenhouse-gas emissions starting in the 2009 model year. Seven states in the Northeast have joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative committing to carbon dioxide reductions of 10 percent by 2019. And California has, of course, outdone all the rest by becoming the first state in the nation to impose mandatory caps on greenhouse-gas emissions.

With virtually all of the cutting-edge environmental reforms taking place at the state level, the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters are investing heavily in gubernatorial races. Little also provides an insightful run-down of key Gov races and what’s at stake in NY, PA, MA, MD and FL. As always, Dems are in the best position to benefit from environmental concerns, since few Republicans support substantive environmental reforms.