Congressional Candidates' Views on Clean Energy, Climate Change: MD-01

09/21/2010 10:37 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Originally posted on The MarkUp.

This is the seventeenth article in a continuing series by the NRDC Action Fund on the environmental stances of candidates in key races around the country.

Maryland's eastern shore remained virtually unchanged from Revolutionary War times until the 1950s when the region began to grow vigorously, with second home buyers, retirees and commuters crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Maryland's first Congressional District comprises the eastern shore, plus part of Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Hartford counties, and has been represented by Democrat Frank Kratovil since 2009. Kratovil was the first Democrat elected to represent this Republican-leaning district (McCain won the district 59-40% in the 2008 election) in 18 years. This fall, Kratovil will face Republican State Senator Andy Harris, whom he narrowly defeated in 2008.

During his first term in Congress, Kratovil has voted as a moderate, joining the Blue Dog Coalition of conservative Democrats. On clean energy and environmental issues, he has earned a strong voting record. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) gave Kratovil a 79% rating, which means he voted the right way 4 out of 5 times on environmental issues during his first year in Congress. Most importantly, he supported the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), which is the first global warming bill to ever pass a chamber of Congress. In a release following the vote, Kratovil said, "When I ran for Congress, I promised that I would work hard to reduce our reliance on foreign oil, increase investments in renewable energy, and take real action to protect the Chesapeake Bay. [ACES] makes progress towards those goals, and the many amendments made to the agricultural provisions of this bill ensure that Maryland farmers will also be able to enjoy new revenue streams and economic opportunities."

Andy Harris, on the other hand, thinks the path toward energy independence is more drilling and dirty fuels. On his campaign website, Harris says the "answer is drilling at home... [from ANWR [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] to shale discoveries in the continental U.S., we should be developing our own sources of oil." And while he also claims to support solar, wind and other new energy technologies, his voting record in the Maryland State Senate tells another story. In just the past two years, he's voted against reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a renewable energy standard, solar energy, green buildings and advanced biofuels. That's just cherry-picking some of Harris' most egregious anti-environmental votes.

The NRDC Action Fund believes that it is important for the public in general, and the voters of specific Congressional districts, be aware of this information as they weigh their choices for November.