Republicans for Environmental Protection Thursday defended John McCain against attacks the Sierra Club has made on the Senator's voting record this session.
McCain, who Republicans for Environmental Protection long-ago endorsed over his competitors for the Republican presidential nomination, missed every key vote tracked this legislative session by the League of Conservation Voters, which gave him a zero on its latest Scorecard.
The Sierra Club has made more of the report even than the League of Conservation voters, by contacting its members and the press to highlight the votes McCain missed, particularly one on renewable energy that failed by a single vote.
"We are greatly disappointed that the leaders of one of America's great conservation organizations has soiled its legacy by stooping to a partisan smear campaign against Senator McCain's record and good name," said Martha Marks, the president of Republicans for Environmental Protection. "The recent barrage of inflammatory rhetoric distorting the Senator's environmental record should dispel any pretense that the leaders of the Sierra Club are non-partisan."
Republicans for Environmental Protection, which has worked with and defended the Sierra Club in the past and regularly criticizes members of its own party (in other words, it is not a partisan front group with a sweet-sounding name), accused the Sierra Club, which unlike many non-profit groups, endorses candidates and is active politically, of playing partisan politics no behalf of Democrats.
While McCain missed recent votes, REP Government Affairs Director David Jenkins said, he "has a record of taking on hard issues, fighting special interests, bucking party leaders, and doing what's right regardless of the political consequences."
McCain stood head and shoulders above his Republican competitors on environmental issues, having championed the first proposed cap-and-trade regulation for carbon dioxide in the Senate in 2003, opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and worked on efforts to designate additional national wilderness areas, among other accomplishments cited by the Republicans for Environmental Protection.
Full disclosure: The Daily Green has printed an op-ed by Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope, Be Part of the 2% Solution to Global Warming, and publishes The Green Conservative, a blog by Jim DiPeso, Republican For Environmental Protection's policy director.
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