Battle for the Senate: The Lone Star State

Is Texas in play? The environmental stakes are high.

Texas is a late addition to my list of key Senate races. It’s still not clear how genuinely Texas is in play, but it’s surprising that we’re even asking the question. Here’s what we know about the candidates and the environment.

Ted Cruz (R). Cruz managed to get a 0% score from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) in 2017. His lifetime score is a whopping 3%.  You may recall that he made his name as a state attorney general suing Obama, just like Scott Pruitt did next door in Oklahoma. His campaign website doesn’t say anything about the environment, or at least not anything I could find — it’s very hard to navigate. For that reason, I took a look at his Senate website. That seemed equally uninformative.  I did, however, find something on Cruz’s Senate website that I actually liked: “S. 3370: A bill to designate the area between the intersections of 3rd Street, Southwest and E Street, Southwest and 4th Street, Southwest and E Street, Southwest in Washington, District of Columbia, as Hidden Figures Way’, and for other purposes” You may recall that “Hidden Figures” was about the gifted black women who did crucial calculations for NASA but got little or no credit at the time. Cruz is a big supporter of NASA, which is headquartered in Houston. (I’m pleased to the opportunity to say something nice about Cruz. It doesn’t happen often!) But I can’t say anything positive about his environmental views, which he doesn’t seem all that anxious to advertise right, by the way. I guess they don’t appeal to suburban Texas voters that much.

Beto O’Rourke (Dem.) 

Beto — that seems to be what he goes by rather than his last name–  seems to be the direct opposite of Cruz on the environment. His 2017 LCV score was 100% and his lifetime score is 97%, making him a very strong environmentalist as a House member. The Energy tab on his website has this to say:

“It is crucial now more than ever that the U.S. and world leaders act urgently to address the issue of climate change. We must ensure the funding and independence of organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) so that they can provide necessary climate science research.”

He also calls for some specific measures. He advocates rejoining the Paris Agreement and empowering EPA to “exercise oversight of those harming the environment, particularly drilling, fracking, and pipeline construction.” Pretty tough stand to take in Texas.

So there you have it. Cruz and Beto: They’re like day and night. Or oil and water. Or whatever your preferred metaphor is for “totally different.”

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