Many green-minded donors who backed the president during his last race in 2008 say they’re thrilled with the White House’s decision to reject the pipeline. But they remain unconvinced that Obama is committed to their issues.
Samuelsohn’s findings jibe with an Environment & Energy Daily report about a David-and-Goliath relationship with industry taking shape as “greens weigh their election-year matchup.” It’s unsure how much Obama can count on the “conservationist cavalry” to ride to his aid, explained Elana Schor:
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) appears to maintain environmentalists’ only super PAC at this point in the election cycle, as well as a tax-exempt 527 group that reported a $195,000 donation in May from Lynde Uihlein, an heir to the Schlitz beer fortune who sits on LCV’s board of directors. The Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) maintain political action committees. Many environmental groups are subsidized by wealthy donors.
Obama’s re-election race, however, is one arena that may lack for green dollars ahead of Election Day. LCV spent nearly $1 million to elect him in 2008, but in an interview, its campaigns director Navin Nayak called the Senate the “top priority” for 2012.
Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, told E&E Daily that it “can’t compete with Big Oil in terms of campaign cash ” Indeed, Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group with strong ties to the oil and gas industry, recently launched a $6 million ad campaign. The ad attempted to fault Obama for the failure of Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer that received a $535 million loan guarantee under the government stimulus package only to go belly up last August.
As ABC News’s Jake Tapper explained, “The ad contains claims that are not tethered to facts” and served only to “muddy the waters.” The Obama re-election campaign pushed back with its own ad, “foreshadowing an energy-centric campaign,” according to InsideClimate News. But the president’s State-of-the-Union plea for a clean energy standard and other tax incentives to promote renewables faces an uphill battle. Despite the fact that the cost of wind and solar has fallen in recent years, “there is little enthusiasm for alternative-energy subsidies in Washington,” an article on the front-page of The New York Times’s Business section reported Friday.
Obama’s GOP rivals criticized his decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, but since then they’ve been more preoccupied with arguing among themselves about moon colonies than challenging the president’s energy proposals. But rest assured, there’s a lot more debate about the president’s energy policy proposals to come—and a lot more spin. National and local reporters did a fairly good job this week covering the play-by-play. Let’s hope that continues.