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E-M:/ Republicans battle it out
Enviro-Mich message from "T. H. Sanderson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sorry I missed the WKAR interview, I am looking forward to being able to
share REP America's view with you all. I know many were skeptical we are
for real. I hope this article helps clear all this up. Thanks for listening.
(c) Copyright 1997, 1998 The Christian Science Publishing
Society. All rights reserved.
FRIDAY, JULY 31, 1998
GOP Feuds Over What It Means to Be 'Green'
Factions look to take up mantle of Theodore Roosevelt: Republican and
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Send e-mail to: email@example.com
If Teddy Roosevelt were around today, where would he stand on the
As a good Republican, would the former president side with the current
congressional leadership? Or as a leading conservationist who set up 50
wildlife refuges, would TR be more likely to sign up with the Sierra Club
and the League of Conservation Voters - groups that generally oppose GOP
The question is more than academic, and it's one that is causing a family
feud among Republicans around the United States seeking to improve the
party's environmental image.
On one side is a grass-roots organization made up of several thousand
local officials and other card-carrying Republicans in 47 states. Begun
in 1995, it's called Republicans for Environmental Protection (REP).
Group leaders have been invited to address party organizations around the
country, and they've met with top officials at the Republican National
They've also acted as party gadflies, frequently criticizing some
fellow-Republicans while voicing support for the minority of GOP
lawmakers who tend to vote in what is generally perceived to be a
"greener" manner. "We're definitely a presence," says REP co-founder
On the other side is a just-formed group called Coalition of Republican
Advocates. CREA's stated goals are "local solutions over Washington
science over emotionalism, and common sense over extremism."
A different model
In addressing the group's kick-off fund-raising dinner last month, House
Speaker Newt Gingrich called for a "conservative, practical, cooperative,
high-tech, volunteeristic method" of environmental protection in contrast
to "the Al Gore left-wing model [that] is centralized, bureaucratic,
adversarial, litigious, noneconomic, [and] antitechnology."
CREA has begun awarding Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Awards -dubbed
"Teddies" - to fellow Republicans who do something noteworthy to protect
But critics say this new group is more image than substance. They note,
for example, that CREA's steering committee includes registered lobbyists
for the petroleum, mining, automaking, firearms, and alcoholic-beverage
industries. The host committee for the group's fund-raiser included Reps.
Helen Chenoweth of Idaho, Richard Pombo of California, and Don Young of
Alaska - lawmakers who consistently score near the bottom of the League
of Conservation Voters' environmental ratings.
Battle over riders
Recently, the feud has focused on legislative riders - last-minute
amendments to appropriations and other bills - that could reduce federal
spending on environmental protection while increasing such things as
logging in national forests.
Writing in The Washington Post this week, Republican Sens. Slade Gorton
and Larry Craig of Idaho argue that "these amendments are an important
way for Congress to
save taxpayers from wasteful agency spending." Senators Gorton and Craig
assert that legislative riders "enjoy a long-standing precedent because
of their use by Republican and Democratic Congresses alike to rein in the
excesses of Republican and Democratic administrations alike."
Ms. Marks of REP, on the other hand, says this is "essentially an attempt
to sneak through under cover things they know wouldn't pass in the light
"I think most people would prefer their legislation to be cooked up
front," she says.
Apparently, so do most Republicans. According to a recent survey
conducted by pollster Celinda Lake, 69 percent of respondents - including
68 percent of those who identified themselves as Republicans - said
President Clinton should veto any legislation that includes "riders which
relax environmental legislation." Even among Republicans, only 16 percent
said Mr. Clinton should sign such bills.
Ms. Lake generally works for Democrats, and this survey was commissioned
by the Wilderness
Society. But Republican pollsters are getting similar results. A national
survey by Republican pollster Richard Wirthlin last fall found that
two-thirds of those questioned "place themselves squarely in the
"Since its extremist beginnings 30 years ago, environmentalism has
matured, gaining popular
support and becoming part of the mainstream," Mr. Wirthlin reported. So
mainstream, in fact, that Republicans now head both the Sierra Club and
the League of Conservation Voters.
"I know firsthand how important and publicly popular it is to be a
Republican and a good
conservationist," says Mike Hayden, the head of the League of
Conservation Voters. "Outside of Washington, the environment is not a
partisan issue - it's a quality-of-life issue."
Tapping Teddy's legacy
This is no doubt why Republicans across the GOP spectrum are trying to
assume the mantle of Teddy Roosevelt.
No one knows for sure where TR would fit into Republican politics on the
environment today, but the position of his great-grandson and namesake is
quite clear. When Theodore Roosevelt IV is not busy as managing director
of Lehman Brothers in New York, he's active as a board member of the
Wilderness Society and the League of Conservation Voters.
Friends say Mr. Roosevelt is "not amused" that his great-grandfather is
being cited by the CREA as its hero.
The URL for this page is:
For further information:
Republicans for Environmental Protection- www.repamerica.org
Coalition Of Republican Enviromental - www.gop4environment.org
League of Conservation Voters
Please Note: The Monitor does not endorse the
sites behind these links. We offer them for your
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