Photo via Buffalo Geek
There have been few times in recent memory when Republicans have gotten as bad of a rap they do now--especially on the environmental front. It's easy to point fingers and blame the entire party for the US being late to the table on important green issues like climate change, and renewable energy. But that just wouldn't be accurate. True, attempting to address such issues has often meant breaking from party lines for Republican politicians--but that's all the more reason to give credit to those who do. So, in the interest of saluting Republican politicians who are doing good green work, here are 6 who've gone against the grain to fight for the environment.
6 Green Republicans: Greening the Old Party
Photo via the Sun Sentinel
Governor Charlie Crist
State governors have more power to make decisions independently of party alignment, and Florida's Charlie Crist is no exception. In a party where "global warming" has been something of a four letter word, Crist had the foresight to host a Global Summit on Climate Change --two years ago. He's also attempted to buy back Everglade land from corporations to create a giant national park--a move that's been downgraded by the economic recession. Furthermore, he's sought to impose a tax on bottled water companies, and is pushing for more solar power development in the state.
Photo via the Green Guy
Senator John McCain
Say what you will about his ill-fated presidential campaign, but Arizona Sen. John McCain deserves some credit for advancing green issues in the face of Republican recalcitrance. And one area where he truly earned his 'maverick' reputation (before it was eroded into a nonsensical slogan) was calling for his party to address global warming --a call that fell mostly on deaf ears. He's also called for stricter fuel efficiency standards and government incentives for cleaner car technology. Despite the fact that many of the positions he vocalized during his campaign--pro-offshore drilling, nuclear power development (sans safety precautions), and a gas tax holiday--were environmentally dubious at best, he still deserves a spot on this list for helping to move climate change into the Republican vocabulary. Even though John Boehner hasn't quite gotten the memo yet.
Photo via Daylife
Representative Mark Kirk
Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk gets the nod for his conservation work on the Great Lakes, being a vocal proponent for renewable energy technology, and seeking to curb air pollution from coal plants. He's opposed to drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, and has supported conservation efforts to keep roads out of forested areas. Kirk also participated in a bipartisan Stop Global Warming campaign (with Larry David, no less). Admittedly, he's got some dubious ideas--his idea to ship condoms to Mexico to help its ecosystems and economy while slowing immigration is certainly well-intentioned. But he does seem to have a firm dedication to conservation, and a forward thinking stance on energy issues. So, he might not be the most well known Republican face out there--but for the sake of green, and the future of the GOP, maybe a little more exposure is in order.