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Environmentalists decry Nader's 'spoiler' candidacy

By Brent Israelsen
The Salt Lake Tribune

    To the Bush campaign, newly announced independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader is a slow, dark horse in the race for the White House.
    But to environmentalists, who generally back Democrats for president, Nader is unsafe at any speed.
    Regarded by Democrats as a spoiler in the 2000 race, Nader's candidacy is considered more troubling this time around because environmentalists consider President Bush a greater threat to the nation's air, land and water than they imagined possible four years ago.
    The official announcement of Nader's candidacy was barely an hour old Sunday when one environmental advocacy group condemned the move.
    "It is monumentally irresponsible for Ralph Nader, who professes a reverence for our natural environment, to take any step that aids [Bush's] re-election bid," said Rodger Schlickeisen, director of the newly formed Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.
    On Monday, the League of Conservation Voters chimed in with a similar attack.
    "Ralph Nader's sense of self-importance has again superseded his relevance to the presidential election," stated Deb Callahan, the league's president.
    Running on the Green Party ticket in 2000, Nader, a longtime consumer advocate, pulled 2.7 percent of the popular vote nationwide. By garnering 97,488 votes in Florida, Nader is believed to have taken the Sunshine State's much-coveted electoral votes away from Democratic candidate Al Gore, who lost to Bush there by a mere 537 votes.


    Nader has brushed off the "spoiler" criticism, saying he was an alternative to both Bush and Gore because there were no substantial policy differences between the two mainstream candidates.
    Bush's actions on the environment have proved Nader wrong, said Callahan.
    During the past three years, the Bush administration has taken the opposite road on dozens of environmental initiatives implemented during the Clinton-Gore administration. For example:
    * The United States disengaged from international talks on global warming.
    * The Environmental Protection Agency backed away from requirements that old power plants were scheduled to meet.
    * The National Park Service reversed a Clinton-era ban on snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park.
    * Interior Secretary Gale Norton, in a legal settlement with Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, took 6 million acres of public lands out of consideration for wilderness protection.
    The League of Conservation Voters has endorsed Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who has a lifetime environmental voting record of 96 percent.
    Said Callahan, "He [Kerry] is a genuine environmental champion."


How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?

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