Presidential Candidates Queried on Environmental
WASHINGTON, DC, August 17, 2007 (ENS) - New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a
Democrat, is the only presidential candidate of either party to sign a pledge to
adhere to principles of open government if elected, especially with respect to the
Developed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, PEER, the Public
Service Pledge calls upon candidates to commit their presidency to conduct the public
business in the open, keep vital documents in the public domain, protect scientists
"who report inconvenient truths," and protect whistleblowers.
Beginning in mid-June, PEER contacted all the campaigns by phone, fax, email and
letter asking whether the candidate would abide by policies that avoid suppression and
political manipulation of science, particularly on environmental issues - practices
that have become a hallmark of the Bush administration.
The organization, which represents government employees in natural resources agencies,
has followed up repeatedly with each campaign.
"We applaud Governor Richardson for being forthright and committing without hesitation
to protecting the values of public service," said PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.
"Frankly, it is disquieting that the other candidates need so much time to ponder
whether an unambiguous pledge of open and transparent government fits within their
campaign strategies," Ruch said.
Joining PEER in this effort is a group of prominent Americans, called the Leadership
Council, whose members include political activists such as environmental attorney
Robert Kennedy, Jr., former Congressman Pete McCloskey, and entertainer Al Franken.
In addition, the Leadership Council features public servants notable for being honest
at great cost, such as climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley,
and former U.S. Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers.
Former Senator John Edwards sent an equivocal letter offering "to discuss where I
stand on the issues that you have presented…"
Only one other candidate, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, gave a definitive
answer, rejecting the pledge "at this time" via a phone call from his campaign staff.
"We are mystified that these candidates seem unable to express a clear opinion on
these basic issues," Ruch said. "Presumably, voters want to know whether a
presidential aspirant values honesty over message control."