Debate confirms Kitzhaber as the only environmental candidate for governor

Tonight’s debate made it perfectly clear that John Kitzhaber is the only candidate for governor ready and willing to protect Oregon’s natural legacy for future generations. Once again, he demonstrated his commitment to leadership and innovation in protecting Oregon's land, water and wildlife, and talked about the environment throughout the debate whether the question prompted it or not.

Oregonians can count on John Kitzhaber to promote a balanced approach that creates good paying jobs, strengthens the economy and makes Oregon a healthier place to live and work.

Tonight, we also saw clearly that Chris Dudley will take us backward on the environment.  Instead of protecting Oregon’s natural legacy Dudley will be beholden to the big corporate special interests. He drew a complete blank when Jeff Mapes asked him about land use and development. Kitzhaber, on the other hand, showed his astute understanding of Oregon land-use policy and the challenges we face, and pushed for balanced growth. (The Oregonian's Steve Duin called out Dudley's difficulty with the question in his post-debate write-up.)

But the environmental whopper of the night was Jeff Mapes' direct question to Chris Dudley about whether he believes that global warming is caused by humans (adding that Oregonians have a right to an answer to this question). It's no surprise, yet incredibly concerning, that Dudely remained ambivalent. Watch the exchange here--it starts at -6:03.

Jeff Mapes: Isn't it really important for Oregonians to know whether you think global warming is a real threat or not... to help us evaluate how you would deal with these kinds of environmental issues in the future? So, what is global warming? A man-made threat or not?

Chris Dudley: "...I don't know how much is man-made and how much is natural..."

Really? So, despite the years of consensus among top climate scientists around the world that the climate change we are now experiencing is caused by human behavior, Chris Dudley still isn't sure? And how will that, um, confusion about global warming translate into policy? Well, Dudley opposes a limit on greenhouse gas pollution in the state, giving the green light to Oregon's largest polluters to do whatever they want, while shunning the largest growing job sector in the state right now.

It's clear that Dudley will put Oregon’s clean water, clean air and growing renewable energy economy at great risk. We’ve already seen that despite the BP disaster in the gulf coast that Dudley is willing to put Oregon’s coastal economy at risk with offshore drilling. It is clear that Dudley will side with the big corporations.

Meanwhile, Kitzhaber said twice during tonight's debate that he supports a ban on offshore drilling off Oregon's coast, and that he does believe that "global climate change is human-caused... and poses an enormous threat..."

Dudley on the record about the environment: 

  • Despite the disaster in the Gulf,  Dudley is open to offshore oil drilling. 
  • Dudley wants to cut funding for water quality protection.  This is why he has taken thousands in campaign contributions from big polluters.
  • Dudley opposes a plan to protect clean air by cracking down on big polluters.
  • Dudley opposes Measure 76, which will continue voter-approved funding for Oregon’s water, parks and wildlife.
  • Dudley does not believe the unprecedented climate change the planet is now experiencing can be attributed to human behavior, and opposes limits on greenhouse gas pollution.

Kitzhaber’s record of protecting Oregon’s environmental legacy:

  • Kitzhaber led efforts to pass the Oregon Salmon Plan, the Oregon Recycling Act, and created Oregon’s network of watershed councils which protect clean drinking water
  • Kitzhaber helped kick off the green economy by recruiting Oregon's first renewable energy company. 
  • Kitzhaber stood up to polluters and corporate special interests and stopped dozens of bills that would have damaged Oregon’s forests, rivers and oceans. 
  • Kitzhaber supports a ban on offshore drilling off Oregon's coast. 

Could the choice be any clearer?

This election is all about voter turnout, and it takes volunteers like you to help get the job done. Take OLCV's Pledge to Volunteer (the committment is TINY--one volunteer shift between now and Election Day) and then sign up for one of our "Enviro Calls for Kitz" nights.

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