10 Reasons Friends of the Earth Action backs Bernie
“It’s time for a candidate with the experience, record and vision for a nation that protects all people and the planet they call home. It’s time for Bernie Sanders.”
– Erich Pica, President, Friends of the Earth Action
In July 2015, Friends of the Earth Action became the first national organization to endorse Bernie Sanders for president. Here are ten reasons FOE Action backs Bernie:
- Senator Sanders clearly understands that our crisis of democracy lies at the root of our country’s environmental problems. The outsized role of polluters in our politics has stymied progress on almost every environmental issues. Not only has Sanders co-sponsored several bills to reduce the influence of polluter money in elections, but in 2013 he was the only Senator to introduce a constitutional amendment which would ban corporations from making contributions or expenditures to affect elections.
- Senator Sanders knows: we need system change, not climate change. The profound threats posed by the climate crisis point to a broader environmental imperative – for us to rebuild our economic systems on sound ecological principles and social equity. In 2015 Bernie said, “When we look at climate change and other environmental issues, growth for the sake of growth—especially when 99 percent of all new income generated by that growth goes to the top one percent—becomes less significant.” He further explained, “We’ve got to move to a society that provides a high quality of life for all of our people.”
- Senator Sanders has fought for a fair budget. Our federal budget should be a reflection of our national priorities and values. But instead, it contains billions of tax breaks for polluters and allows some companies to get away with paying nothing in federal income taxes. Meanwhile, the environment and the social safety net are getting squeezed. As the ranking minority member of the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Sanders has proposed a progressive budget that advances many of the priorities that Friends of the Earth (FOE Action’s sister organization) has supported, including closing offshore corporate tax loopholes, taxing Wall Street speculation and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.
- Bernie Sanders has a stellar environmental voting record. He has been a consistent and strong voice for the environment, earning a remarkable 95 percent environmental voting score from the League of Conservation Voters over his long career. (By comparison, Secretary Hillary Clinton earned an 82 percent lifetime score). According to Climate Hawks, which measures Congressional leadership on climate issues since 2011, Sanders has been a top climate champion and was the preeminent climate leader in the Senate in the last session. He has received 100 percent lifetime scores from both the Human Society Legislative Fund, which tracks animal welfare votes; and Defenders of Wildlife, which tracks conservation votes.
- Senator Sanders has a stellar social justice voting record as well. He has earned a 100 percent voting record from the ACLU, as well as a 100 percent civil rights voting record from the NAACP. In addition, he has championed social justice issues such as closing the gender wage gap, and fighting voter suppression. Voter suppression not only fundamentally undermines our democracy, but it exacerbates racial injustice and results in harmful environmental policy outcomes.
- Senator Sanders has championed keeping fossil fuels in the ground. Along with Senator Merkley, Sanders introduced the Keep It In the Ground Act, which would prohibit new leases for coal, oil and natural gas on all federal lands and waters, preventing the emission of some 450 billion tons of carbon dioxide. In addition, he supports a ban on drilling in the Arctic, an end to offshore oil drilling and an end to fracking for natural gas and mountaintop removal for coal.
- Senate Sanders has a long and consistent record of voting against environmentally harmful trade deals that allow multinational corporations to undercut critical environmental and public health protections. While Secretary Clinton recently issued carefully-worded statements suggesting she does not support the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership, Sanders unequivocally opposes TPP; rightly pointing out that “…it was written by corporate America and the pharmaceutical industry and Wall Street.”
- Senator Sanders has been a stalwart champion in the fight to end fossil fuel subsidies. The culture of “who gives, gets” in Washington has allowed Big Oil to not only buy regulatory favors, but to reap handsome rewards in the form of tax breaks, subsidies and other handouts. Sanders has for years led efforts to reduce fossil fuel subsidies, including putting forth the http://www.foe.org/news/archives/2012-05-sanders-and-ellison-champion-elimination-of-fossil-f
- Senator Sanders opposes the expansion of nuclear power. Sanders knows that there is no more expensive, and dangerous, way to boil water than with nuclear power. He supports a moratorium on renewing licenses for nuclear power plants in the United States, instead favoring an expansion of solar, wind, geothermal and energy efficiency. By contrast, Secretary Clinton supports increased investments in nuclear power.
- Finally, Bernie is one of us. Sanders is not just a politician, he is part of the broad movement for climate action. He marched the streets of New York City with hundreds of thousands of people at the People’s Climate March. He was, “…the most consistent and proactive voice in the entire Keystone fight,” according to Bill McKibben. “Everything that’s been needed—from speeches on the floor to legislation to demands that the State Department change its absurd review process—he and his staff have done immediately and with a high degree of professionalism.” Senator Sanders is a bold and fearless voice for the environment, and Friends of the Earth Action is proud to endorse him for President.