With Tim Pawlenty officially in the race for president, there is now a relatively green Republican candidate seeking the White House — though he used to be even more eco-friendly.
A green governor
In 2007, Greenopia ranked the Minnesota politician as the fifth greenest Republican governor in the country and the 19th greenest overall. At the time, Pawlenty was a proponent of a national cap-and-trade policy. He has since changed his stance on the issue, but in 2007, Pawlenty vocally supported the Minnesota legislature’s plans to reduce emissions by 15 percent by 2015 and 80 percent by 2050.
Cap-and-trade flip flop
In 2009, Pawlenty changed his tune on national climate regulation. He wrote letters to Washington calling the Democratic plan to curb climate change "overly bureaucratic, misguided" and "very burdensome on our economy." The letter made clear that Pawlenty and 20 other governors were molding a nuanced approach to climate legislation. “We believe that [the] EPA should offer input regarding complex energy and environmental policy initiatives, like reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but feel that these policies are best developed by elected representatives at the state and national level, not by a single federal agency.” If Pawlenty ever becomes president, it sounds like it's unlikely he'll be a big supporter of the EPA.
Ethanol subsidies are a tricky issue for presidential candidates because they are popular in the politically critical state of Iowa. When Pawlenty tries to court Iowa caucus voters, he'll have to explain why he's against ethanol. “The hard truth is that there are no longer any sacred programs," Pawlenty said during his announcement on Monday. "The truth about federal energy subsidies, including federal subsidies for ethanol, is that they have to be phased out. We need to do it gradually. We need to do it fairly. But we need to do it,” he said recently. This is a stark comparison to Newt Gingrich who, while on NBC’s "Meet the Press" had to defend previous comments that characterized anyone who was against extending ethanol credits, as “big city attackers.”
Drilling in ANWR
The newest official presidential contender has plenty of thoughts about other energy issues, too. On CNN’s “Late Edition” in 2008, Pawlenty was asked about this nation's addiction to foreign oil. His answer suggested he supports drilling in ANWR, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. “We have to diversify and Americanize our energy supply. President Bush made the case for going ahead and drilling in ANWR. Listen to the president,” Pawlenty said.
Also on MNN: Newt Gingrich's environmental report card