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Congressional Candidates’ Views on Clean Energy, Climate Change: OH-13

Northern Ohio has transformed over the past 50 years. In the 1960s, much of Cleveland consisted of tightly-packed homes around steel mills on the Cuyahoga River, with miles of farmland between the city and other industrial towns like Akron – rubber capital of the world – and Lorain. Today, the steel mills and rubber factories have been shut down or refurbished for other uses and the farm land has been developed, leaving continuous suburbs connecting the three cities. Ohio’s 13th District consists of much of the metro area surrounding Cleveland, Akron and its western suburbs, and Lorain. Senator Sherrod Brown represented the 13th District in the U.S. House for fourteen years, until 2006, when he became a senator. He was succeeded by former state legislator and labor lawyer Betty Sutton. Sutton faces Republican Tom Ganley for re-election this November.

Sutton has established a strong record on clean energy and environmental issues, earning a 92% rating from the League of Conversation Voters (LCV). Her signature policy to date was the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Act – better known as Cash for Clunkers, which achieved environmental and economic benefits by encouraging consumers to replace the oldest, most polluting cars on the road with more efficient models. As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Sutton helped shape the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) (the first global warming bill to ever pass a chamber of Congress), sponsoring an amendment to ensure that green jobs are good-paying jobs by the enforcement of prevailing wage laws. After ACES passed, Sutton said in a statement

“The incentives in this legislation for clean energy technologies and energy efficiency will create new industries and jobs. This bill will help revitalize American manufacturing, strengthen our national security through greater energy independence, and secure a cleaner environment worthy of our children and grandchildren…. 

This bill will lead to good-paying jobs that can’t be shipped overseas. In Northeast Ohio, long established and new companies alike are advancing opportunities in clean energy technologies and jobs. To realize the full potential of the jobs that can be generated, these businesses, both small and large, need the critical incentives and market signals provided in this bill.

We have also worked to secure safeguards in this bill in the form of guaranteed allowances for our energy intensive, trade sensitive industries to protect existing U.S. jobs and manufacturing production. And, this bill provides incentives to help our automakers transition to production of cleaner, electric and advanced technology vehicles. This will shore up thousands of jobs that Ohio families depend upon for their livelihoods.”

Ganley doesn’t have much to say about clean energy or environmental issues – in fact, his campaign website doesn’t mention either. But if you dig around on his Facebook page, you’ll find some cringe-worthy statements such as claiming that “third world countries [are]… trying to seize money from wealthier countries under the guise of climate control.” Later in the post he quotes Lord Christopher Monckton as someone who “President Obama would do well to listen to” on international climate negotiations. Who is Christopher Monckton? Monckton is touted as one of the most prominent climate deniers by leading right-wing think tanks like the Heartland Institute and Science and Public Policy Institute. He is a journalist by training who has no relevant qualifications Monckton has gained notoriety recently by calling for leading climate scientists to be put on trial for genocide (after they were accused, and later cleared, of misrepresenting their research) and for saying that the “misplaced belief in climate change” is killing more people than Hitler. To boot, Monkton has lied about being both a British Lord and a Nobel laureate.

Until Ganley says more about energy and environmental issues we will have to judge him by who he’s listening to, and when that person is Christopher Monckton, there is plenty of reason to be skeptical.

The NRDC Action Fund believes that it is important for the public in general, and the voters of specific Congressional districts, be aware of this information as they weigh their choices for November.

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