LCV responds to green backlash after endorsing Clinton over Sanders: ‘It’s not about him. It’s about her’

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·Reporter
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
image

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton say they recognize the threat of anthropogenic climate change. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos, AP, Dougal Waters/Getty Images)

The League of Conservation Voters is defending its controversial endorsement in the Democratic primary of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — who by the group’s own rating system has a better environmental record.

Complaints flooded the Facebook page of the LCV Action Fund after the endorsement was announced Monday — the earliest ever for the influential green group and the first time it has chosen a candidate before any primary votes were actually cast.

Sanders, who has made fighting climate change one of his signature issues, along with income inequality, has a lifetime voting score of 95 from the LCV. Clinton’s rating is 82.

“What an embarrassment! No organization which is serious about environmental progress would endorse HRC over Senator Sanders,” one commenter wrote.

Others vowed to stop donating money to the organization altogether. They variously cited Clinton’s votes for offshore oil drilling in the Senate, her support for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, domestically and overseas as secretary of state and her refusal for many months to publicly take a stand on the polarizing Keystone XL oil pipeline. (She ultimately came out in September against the pipeline, which President Obama vetoed on Friday.)

Sanders, on the other hand, has been against the Keystone XL oil pipeline since the beginning and has consistently opposed offshore oil drilling and fracking throughout his career.

When asked about these points, Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president for government affairs for LCV, said that environmentalists are lucky to have “a number of candidates on the Democratic side who are strong on the environment.”

image

Hillary Clinton speaks after receiving the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters in Nashua, N.H., on Monday. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

LCV says that the stakes in this election “couldn’t be higher” and that Clinton is the strongest candidate to defeat the Republicans in the general election. The leading candidates on the Republican side either don’t believe in climate change or oppose policies to address it.

“It’s not about him. It’s about her. We think she is the best candidate to run against the eventual Republican nominee, and we think she is the best person to be president because she has the skills and experience to be incredibly effective,” Sittenfeld said in an interview with Yahoo News.

According to Sittenfeld, Clinton’s time as first lady, senator and secretary of state has given her the experience and skills to make significant contributions from day one in the oval office.

The LCV scorecard, she said, is only one of many factors taken into consideration when determining the organization’s endorsements.

Sittenfeld said Clinton’s overall environmental score might have been higher if she had not missed 11 of the Senate votes that the LCV scored while she was running for president in 2008.

“I think because there has been so much focus on the [scorecard], I should point out that before running for president — at which point she missed many votes in 2007-2008 — her lifetime score was 90 percent at the end of her first term [as a senator],” Sittenfeld said.

It appears that a pro-Sanders group called Friends of Bernie may have spurred at least some of the reaction to LCV’s decision. The group apparently called upon its supporters to petition LCV to change its decision and characterized the nod as “insider politics.”

Former President Bill Clinton appointed current LCV board chairwoman Carol Browner as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1993. Browner also campaigned for Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination against Obama in 2008.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting