Enviros Shame Colleagues Who Dared Give Climate-Crusading Republicans A Chance

Chris White | Energy Reporter

Many of the wealthy liberal activists who helped finance Democratic candidates during the election are getting blowback from environmentalists for not doing enough to support Republicans who champion climate policies.

EDF Action President Joe Bonfiglio complained Wednesday that one of the candidates his group supported, Republican Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo, lost despite being a co-founder of the House’s Climate Solutions Caucus. He made his comments during a post-election briefing at the National Press Club.

The League of Conservation Voters and Democratic financier Tom Steyer were among a handful of activists at the press junket who spent big on various anti-fossil fuel measures and House candidates.

LCV President Gene Karpinski said his group spent roughly $80 million on the midterms, but apparently some of that cash went to Democrats challenging pro-environment Republicans like Curbelo.

Bonfiglio’s complaint apparently irked Steyer, whose groups spent nearly $120 million during the midterms, E&E News reported Thursday.

Political and climate activist Tom Steyer speaks while taking part in a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump and Republican congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) outside Issa's office in Vista

Political and climate activist Tom Steyer speaks while taking part in a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump and Republican congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) outside Issa’s office in Vista, California, U.S., October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The former hedge fund manager told the other participants that Republicans are not reliable. Ending fossil fuel production is needed now, not later, said Steyer, so hoping for comprise from Republicans is silly.

The GOP rejects policies to combat climate change, while siding with oil companies, he said. Steyer’s hedge fund, Farallon Capital Management, owned several stakes in oil companies before the California billionaire left to pursue philanthropy full-time.

“It is completely unclear to me that there are Republicans who want to compromise with us,” Steyer said. “If you actually look at where we are and the wins we’ve had, what we’ve seen is a party that’s decided there is no cost politically to lying about climate.”

Sierra Club Director Michael Brune echoed Steyer’s condemnation and said his group wants the caucus disbanded and reformed.

“We can’t have these people call themselves climate leaders,” he said.

Both Brune and Steyer are noted for their anti-oil position and less for forging partnerships across party lines. (RELATED: Steyer’s Impeach Trump Campaign Scrounges For Support On Long Road Trip)

Steyer is responsible for directing $110 million toward building out Need to Impeach, a project designed to prompt Democrats into impeaching President Donald Trump. He doubled his initial $20 million investment in Need to Impeach to $40 million.

The impeachment campaign made him a toxic figure in moderate Democratic circles. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, for instance, suggested in March that an impeachment campaign distracts from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and could jeopardize Democratic efforts to take back Congress.

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