The Iowa Senate Race and the Environment

The environmental stakes are high in the Hawkeye State.

Iowa is a state where the Republican and Democratic candidates have starkly different views about the environment. Joni Ernst, the Republican Senatorial candidate in Iowa, is staunchly anti-environmental.  In one of the Republican debates, she had this to say:

Another area that we need to look at is the Environmental Protection Agency. When we talk about the rules and regulations that are burdening business owners, whether it is in ag, whether it is in industry here in the state of Iowa, let’s shut down the federal EPA and focus on those issues here in the state where the state knows best how to protect resources.

She’s also got the Tea Party obsession with Agenda 21, which is actually a vaguely written, non-binding document. But she views it as an ominous power grab by foreign countries: “The United Nations has imposed this upon us, and as a U.S. Senator, I would say no more. . . . No more Agenda 21.”  I gather that she’s unaware that the document has no binding legal force, is full of loopholes, and was signed on behalf of the Untied States by George H.W. Bush.  You won’t be surprised to learn that she’s not convinced that humans are causing climate change.  Could just be “cyclical.”

So yes, she’s one of those Republicans.

Her Democratic opponent, Bruce Braley, has scores in the high 80s from the League of Conservation Voters, which is why national environmental groups have lined up to support him over Ernst. Nate Silver is currently scoring this race as a dead tie, so this one is likely to go down to the wire.  At stake is whether Iowa will be represented by an anti-regulatory zealot or by an advocate of environmental protection.

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