U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy won the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters in his race for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat Tuesday and vowed to focus on Everglades restoration and stopping the related algae blooms fouling Florida’s coasts.
Murphy and LCV Action Fund Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld spent much of the announcement, made in Palm Beach Gardens Tuesday, attacking Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio‘s environmental record on issues ranging from climate change to water quality.
They said nothing about his Democratic primary opponents, notably U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, or Pam Keith, whom he’ll have to beat first in the Aug. 30 primary.
“The contrast to Sen. Rubio’s corporate polluter agenda could not be more stark,” Sittenfeld said, charging Rubio has denied the basic science of climate change and advocating for big polluters, and noting he has gotten a 6 percent score on LCV Action Fund’s scorecard.
“Florida is already suffering the impact of climate change and we simply cannot afford to give Rubio another four years in the Senate before he decides to run for president again,” she said.
She called Murphy a “true friend of the environment.”
Murphy turned first to climate change, but then gave a long discourse on restoring the Everglades and addressing the algae blooms. He also called for diversifying Florida’s energy production portfolio with solar, wind and thermal, and opposing offshore drilling and fracking.
“The truth is, we don’t have 10, 15 years to get this right,” Murphy said. “Climate change is a real threat and Florida is directly impacted. Almost every study shows that South Florida in particular and Miami specifically will be the most impacted city in the entire world. Floridians area already feeling this impact firsthand.”
Murphy declared a “moral obligation” to restore and preserve Florida’s environment and added, “Unlike Marco Rubio, I’m committing to showing up and fighting every day to protect our environment in the U.S. Senate.”
For the algae bloom and the Everglades, Murphy talked about continuing to funnel billions of money into long-term plans to redirect water through Florida into the Everglades, as it was naturally 150 years ago.
“It is going to take a long time to get it back the way Mother Nature intended, but we have to keep looking into each of these solutions looking for funding and working with local, state and federal governments to get that done,” he said.
Rubio’s campaign responded by declaring Murphy supports the “carbon tax” aimed at coal and oil, and blamed for running up electric bills. Environmentalists and Democrats pushed the tax to reduce the use of traditional fossil fuels and make renewable energy alternatives more price competitive, while Republicans opposed because it is driving away coal jobs and increasing energy costs.
“Patrick Murphy wants Florida families and small businesses to pay for costly environmental regulations and policies like a carbon tax. At a time when many Floridians are struggling to get by, Marco will continue to support policies that improve the environment without hurting the economy and stifling job creation,” said Rubio campaign spokesman Michael Ahrens.
Meanwhile, Grayson’s campaign charged Murphy has missed the mark on a few key environmental policies pushed by progressive Democrats, including claiming that Murphy had supported expansions of fracking and Gulf oil drilling.
“Patrick Murphy constantly teamed up with Republicans to force President Obama to approve Keystone XL, all while voting to expand fracking and Gulf oil drilling. Alan Grayson vocally opposed all three,” Grayson Campaign Manager Michael Ceraso stated in a news release Tuesday.