Florida Environmentalists hail Pombo loss by Mitch E. Perry

11/09/06

The Democratic takeover of Congress includes the loss of several high profile Republican Congressmen, such as Arizona’s J.D. Hayworth, and Iowa’s Jim Leach, considered one of the last of the liberal Republicans.

And an upset in Northern California has thrilled environmentalists, particularly in Florida.

That would be the stunning defeat of 7 term Republican Congressman Richard Pombo,The chairman of the powerful House Resources Committee. Environmental groups throughout the country had targeted the 46 year old legislator. Among his actions that have irked people, include his attempt to revamp the federal Endangered Species Act to give property owners more rights, and has favored opening up the Artic National Wildlife Refuge and the nation’s coastal waters – including Florida- to oil exploration.

It was that last proposal that has made him a household name amongst Floridians who fear off shore drilling. Mark Furlllo is director of Environment Florida (roll tape#1 o.q.�Representative Pombo�)

Because of his moves as House Resources Committee Chair, Pombo was targeted nationally by 3 major environmental groups - the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters and Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund all embarked on a joint campaign against Pombo, and combined spent more than a million dollars in support of the Democrat in the race, Jerry McNerney. McNerney himself spent more than a million dollars, while independent groups spent more than $3 million dollars in the race, and Pombo spent nearly $4 million dollars.

With the Democrats taking over the House and Senate, and the chairmanships of key environmental committees, it is a positive sign for environmentalists, Mark Ferullo says. But he’s only cautiously optimistic (roll tape#2 o.q.�sustainable sources�)

The head of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope, said Richard Pombo's defeat sends a clear message to those who might share his ideology that when it comes to the elections, the environment is now a giant killer,''

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