Earth Day Prompts Flurry of Electoral Rhetoric; Public Yawns

Earth Day during a big election year inevitably prompts a flurry of earnest talk about the environment and which candidate is better for it, and today is no exception. President Bush touted his love of wetlands in Maine; John Kerry blasted Bush’s environmental record in Houston, Texas. A coalition of three national enviro groups — the League of Conservation Voters, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, and Friends of the Earth Action — unveiled a new Environmental Victory Project, which will try to use environmental issues to sway voters in swing states against Bush. Bush campaign spokesfolks denounced the groups as “special interests.” And much of the public, it seems, doesn’t care: A recent Gallup poll found concern for the environment at a record low, coming in eighth place — behind terrorism, the economy, unemployment, illegal immigration, and the kitchen sink — among issues the public cares a “great deal” about.