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Lots of recent speculation is indicating that the pivotal environmental role of Secretary of Interior is a contest between blue dog Rep Mike Thompson and Rep Raul Grijalva.

Thompson is supported by a variety of hunting groups; Grijalva is supported by a variety of environmental groups.

On paper, both appear to be pretty green.  Thompson scored between 77% and 93% over the years at League of Conservation Voters.  Grijalva has scored between 85 and 100%.

But simplistic percentages can be deceiving...

Mike Thompson takes money from hunting lobbyists Safari Club International (whose members hunt rhinos, lions, and elephants) and won their Hunting Heritage and Legislator of the Year awards.  In fact, no other house member took more money than Mike Thompson from SCI... oh, apart from Alaska's Don Young.

Raul Grijalva published a 26-page report entitled "The Bush Years: A Legacy of Failure for Our Public Lands".

Mike Thompson, a vineyard owner (and therefore likely more sensitive to the needs of farming than of, say, endangered species), is pissing off local environmentalists:

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat said: "Thompson said the reduced river flow "wasn't about salmon or water, it was about electoral votes in Oregon."" The important political lesson to note here is that these farmers (and voters) were not in Mike Thompson's district.

A real test of Mr. Thompson's environmental credendials would be: is he willing to close down his vineyard and winery friends in his own district by no longer allowing them to suck water out of the rivers and aquifers? Ask the environmentalists who live on rivers like the Navarro about how much water is left for the Salmon once vineyards finish taking their sips. Ask environmentalists in Napa County about pesticides in ground water and runnoff.

Raul Grijalva has tried every which way to stop Bush policies, even invoking little-used provisions to try to stop uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.

Mike Thompson, on the other hand, voted AGAINST environmental exemptions for salvage logging (thus denying protections to roadless areas).  Mike Thompson voted AGAINST diverting money from harmful clear-cutting to fish and wildlife restoration.  Mike Thompson voted AGAINST limiting the mass killing of coyotes, bears, and cougars.  Mike Thompson voted AGAINST Farm Conservation.  Mike Thompson voted AGAINST protections for the Tongass National Forest.

As a blue dog Democrat, Mike Thompson favors "market forces" when it comes to environmentalism.  He favors giving money to farmers and others to preserve endangered species habitats (rather than requiring that they preserve such habitat).

Obama has indicated that one of his key determinants for picking the Secretary of the Interior is whether that individual is a "sportsman" or not.  Mike Thompson is indeed a sportsman, as indicated by the full-throated support of Safari Club International.

But Mike Thompson, on the issues, is NOT the right choice for Interior.

Raul Grijalva is the right choice.

Please go to change.gov, follow the links to contact them, and make your voice heard!  (Here is another guy who thinks the same way.)

(Alerted on DailyKos Environmentalists.)

Originally posted to Land Use Watch on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 05:41 PM PST.

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