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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Political endorsements

John Kerry is the Sierra Club's choice for President of the United States

Senator John Kerry has stood up to polluters and been a champion of protecting human health and the environment during his entire career in public office.

He spoke at the first Earth Day in Massachusetts in 1970. As Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, Kerry chaired an Acid Rain Task Force and issued a "Call for Action" on the topic of air pollution. As a Senator he has championed the cause of conservation, been a leader in the fight against polluters, and blocked the Bush Administration's efforts to reverse 30 years of environmental progress.

John Kerry and John Edwards are the Sierra Club's choice for President and Vice President of the United States.
Kerry-Edwards 2004, Inc. from Sharon Farmer

From clean air to clean water to toxics to public lands to energy, we can count on John Kerry to provide leadership, vision, and solutions so that all Americans can have a clean, safe, healthy environment.

The League of Conservation Voters this year gave Kerry a 96.5% career rating.

John Kerry on clean air

John Kerry has been a leader in the fight for clean air since before his election to the U.S. Senate in 1984. In his first year as a Senator, John Kerry introduced the National Acid Rain Control Act to improve standards and create a fund for clean air. He has continued to work for cleaner air since then, defending the Clean Air Act against weakening in 1990 and more recently opposing the Bush Administration's attempts to weaken the Clean Air Act's New Source Review rules. John Kerry opposes President Bush's plans to increase the allowable toxic mercury pollution in our air, and as President would immediately reinstate Clean Air protections weakened under the Bush Administration.

John Kerry on clean water

John Kerry has consistently pushed for strengthening protections for our nation's waters and drinking water. In his first year in the Senate, John Kerry sponsored a bill to help states clean up water quality problems due to acid rain. He was a vocal opponent of the Bush Administration's attempt to weaken drinking water standards for arsenic, and he pushed for the Bush Administration to repeal a dangerous proposed rulemaking that would have removed 20 million acres of wetlands from Clean Water Act protections. He opposed federal funding for polluting factory farms that are a major source of water pollution. Kerry also opposed Bush's proposal to allow coal companies to shave off mountaintops and bury the rivers below under tons of mine waste in violation of the Clean Water Act.

John Kerry on energy and global warming

John Kerry advocates a responsible, forward-looking energy policy that would reduce our dependence on oil; increase the energy efficiency of our buildings, homes, and appliances; increase the amount of clean, renewable energy used to create electricity; and make our cars and trucks go further on a gallon of gas. He has championed and introduced legislation on a number of measures to improve fuel economy and to require the use of more clean renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Kerry has been a champion in leading the fight to defeat the Bush Administration's polluting energy bill, which was hatched in secret by the Cheney Energy Task Force in 2001. In addition, Kerry has been a leading voice for the need to take immediate significant steps to combat global warming. He was a participant in the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio and a delegate to the 1997 Kyoto and 2000 Hague climate talks.

John Kerry on protecting our public lands

John Kerry has been a leading advocate for protecting our wild places. He has been a key champion in the fight to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas drilling by designating the unprotected portion of the Refuge as wilderness. He is a vocal proponent of not only fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which enables local, state, and federal agencies to purchase land for parks and wildlife refuges, but hard-wiring funding so that adequate resources are available annually. He has consistently opposed extending subsidies for logging in national forests; defended the Roadless Rule to protect 58 million acres of undeveloped national forests, which the Bush Administration is aggressively attempting to dismantle; and committed to reinstating this rule as one of his first acts as President. In addition, Kerry has strongly opposed efforts to weaken or abandon drilling moratoria on the Outer Continental Shelf.

John Kerry on protecting wildlife

John Kerry has been the primary advocate for marine mammal protection, having authored the Marine Mammal Protection Act Amendments of 1994, which were later signed into law by President Clinton, and legislation to ban the use of drift nets, which threaten dolphins and other marine life. Senator Kerry opposes exempting the Department of Defense from the Endangered Species Act and has opposed attempts by the Bush Administration to weaken the Act. As President, Kerry would seek additional Congressional funding for ESA implementation, coordinate agency actions and develop cooperative agreements with property owners to protect endangered species.

John Kerry on international trade

John Kerry has led the way in demanding trade agreements that create jobs and spur the economy without opening the door to attacks on worker or environmental rights. In 2002, Senator Kerry sponsored legislation that would have prevented trade agreements from undermining environmental protections. As President, he said he would veto any trade agreement that does not include recognized labor and environmental rights with enforcement provisions in the core agreement.

John Kerry on urban sprawl

John Kerry has been a staunch supporter of proactively addressing urban sprawl, supporting initiatives to recover urban parks and recreation spaces, co-sponsoring legislation to clean up and reclaim brownfields, and supporting improved public transportation planning and funding.

John Kerry on cleaning up toxic wastes

John Kerry has been a steadfast supporter of Superfund, cosponsoring legislation and voting to reinstate the "polluter pays" tax on polluting industries that the Bush Administration has refused to support. Kerry favors reform of the 1872 mining law to provide stronger environmental protection and avoid future toxic mine waste sites.

John Kerry on family planning

John Kerry recognizes that global population growth threatens the environmental health of our planet. He believes that women worldwide should have the choices and resources necessary to plan the size of their families. That's why John Kerry opposes the "Gag Rule" imposed by President Bush that has reduced the United States' financial support to international family planning clinics worldwide. He also supports preserving a woman's right to choose the family planning option that she and her doctor believe is best.

Kerry's record

As a senator, Kerry has consistently supported the Sierra Club's agenda; the League of Conservation Voters this year gave Kerry a 96.5% career rating, the highest LCV rating of any presidential nominee ever from a major party.

Kerry's running mate, Senator John Edwards, has led congressional opposition to the Bush administration's plans to weaken the Clean Air Act, calling on the EPA to make power plants in 13 states reduce smokestack emissions. He has fought to protect North Carolina's beaches and waterways and spoken out forcefully against the administration's backward-thinking energy bill. Edwards has fought to secure funding for environmental projects such as new waste treatment technology to help hog farmers clean up waste lagoons, and he has introduced legislation to make the Blue Ridge Mountains a National Heritage Area, as well as legislation that would offer a tax credit for the use of environmentally-friendly technology.

Club selection procedure

The Sierra Club's Political Committee sent an environmental questionnaire to all of the presidential candidates earlier this year, and the Club's interview team interviewed the seven Democratic contenders who returned the questionnaires. (President Bush did not return his questionnaire.) "Senator Kerry had an amazing grasp of the issues," reported Sierra Club President, Larry Fahn. "This guy really gets it."