Environmental Issues May Matter After All, Via Swing States

Conventional wisdom has it that environmental issues are low priorities for most voters, and thus for most presidential campaigns. However, this year’s squeaker of a presidential election will be decided by voters in a small handful of swing states — and in many of those states, top local issues are environmental. In Nevada, Kerry trumpets his opposition to the Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste repository. In Oregon, Bush touts his support for Columbia River dredging. In Michigan, Bush bashes Kerry for supporting higher fuel-economy standards. In New Mexico, Kerry blasts Bush for opening the Otero Mesa to oil and gas drilling. In Washington and Oregon it’s logging; in West Virginia it’s coal mining; in Maine it’s polluted seafood. While environmental issues stay below the radar on a national scene dominated by Iraq and the economy, all politics, as they say, is local, and it may just be that the election is won or lost on issues close to enviros’ hearts.