Fearing Trump, greens run to Clinton
Hillary Clinton is racking up endorsements from major environmental groups, solidifying support from the green movement for her presidential run.
The NRDC Action Fund, the Sierra Club and the billionaire green donor Tom Steyer have all endorsed Clinton for president in the last two weeks, joining the League of Conservation Voters, which backed her in November.
The presumptive Democratic nominee has now gotten support from nearly all of the major national environmental groups, save for Friends of the Earth Action, which endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders in August.
To the groups backing Clinton, the choice in the 2016 election is clear: someone who would continue and expand President Obama’s aggressive environmental agenda, or RepublicanDonald Trump, who says he would undo every piece of it that he could, including the Clean Power Plan and the Paris climate agreement.
“Secretary Clinton has a long record on the environment and is the leader we need to build on this progress made by President Obama and the climate movement,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said Thursday in announcing the group’s endorsement of Clinton.
“She has listened to the grassroots and crafted detailed plans to safeguard our climate, air, water, and public lands, to protect the most vulnerable from environmental injustice, and to continue the rapid expansion of our clean energy economy.
“Contrasted with that, we have a reckless and misinformed candidate in Donald Trump, who has called climate change a ‘hoax,’ a ‘con job,’ and a ‘concept created by the Chinese.’ ”
Tom Steyer, who heads NextGen Climate and has donated tens of millions of dollars to Democrats who want to fight climate change, had a similar take.
“Now is the time to come together to defeat Donald Trump, who is utterly unfit to be our next president,” Steyer said. “Trump’s racist rhetoric is directly offensive to our American values and his dangerous actions would threaten our children’s future in every way.”
Adam Rome, a professor of environmental history at the University of Delaware, said greens are mobilizing like never before because they see such high stakes in this election.
“I think Trump really scares environmentalists. I can see that environmentalists would want to do everything possible to ensure that he’s not president,” Rome said.
The key concern for greens, Rome said, is preserving Obama initiatives like the Clean Power Plan that were achieved through executive authority and can largely be undone in the same way.
“Congress might still be divided or unfriendly, so executive action is really the only thing the federal government has been able to do and will be able to do on climate, barring a really big change,” Rome said.
Republicans argue Clinton’s emphasis on environmental issues over energy production will be a liability in the general election.
Core News, a project of the conservative group America Rising Squared, has lambasted Clinton’s green group endorsements.
“Brune forgot to mention the Sierra Club’s extreme plans to end American oil and gas production,” the group wrote about that endorsement.
It pointed out that some labor unions objected to Steyer’s alliance with the AFL-CIO, saying he sparked a “civil war” within the Democratic Party.
“Steyer and Clinton may be a good fit, though, given both have flip-flopped on energy over the years,” it said.