With the November elections nearing and tensions heating up in the New York gubernatorial race, the Sierra Club’s 40,000-member Atlantic Chapter voted last weekend to endorse Democratic candidate Carl McCall over Republican incumbent George Pataki. But not everyone’s happy about the vote: Chapter Chair Aaron Mair is arguing that the vote was informed more by party politics than by a close examination of Pataki’s environmental record. (Mair recused himself from the vote because he sits on the board of other environmental NGOs, including the state League of Conservation Voters, which has thrown its weight behind Pataki.) The governor has built a relatively strong environmental record, supporting land preservation initiatives, backing dredging of PCBs in the Hudson River, and, most recently, establishing a climate change task force to set goals for reducing the state’s carbon dioxide emissions. But most members of the Sierra Club chapter’s executive board say that McCall would make a more impressive governor. Unlike Pataki, they say, McCall would not misdirect state money set aside for the environment and would campaign for the federal government to refinance Superfund.

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