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The Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate on the Environment - Part 2

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

SENATOR KERRY: Well, it's not what it does for me. It's what it does for us. It's what it does for our nation. I believe that, and I'm sure my colleagues here share this. This is part of a series of choices this administration is offering that are completely contrary to the needs, interests, concerns and future of our country. 

I respectfully suggest everybody here that on every single choice in front of this nation there is a better choice than this administration is offering us with respect to healthcare, with respect to the environment, with respect to children, with respect to education, housing, infrastructure, our relationship in the world. And this issue is part of that vision. 

This issue, the environment, number one, it's not just about the environment. It's about our role in the world. It's about our legacy to our children. It's about the jobs that we will create for the future and whether or not they will be high value added jobs based on technology that raise our standard of living. 

God only gave us 3 percent of the world's oil.  I'm proud that I led the fight to stop the arctic wildlife drilling. And I'm proud that John McCain and I led a fight to raise the emissions standards which we lost. 

WARREN OLNEY: That's your minute. Steve, you have a follow-up. 

STEVE CURWOOD: Yes, I do have a follow-up. Senator, perhaps the biggest issue, though, in this election and these times is national security. You mentioned national security as something that the environment is related to. 

How does the issue of national security and the environment help you win this election? 

SENATOR KERRY: Well, I believe that I am particularly well suited to take on President Bush with respect to national security because I look forward to reminding Americans that I know something about aircraft carriers because I've worked with them for real. 

And I intend to point out to the President that landing on an aircraft carrier at the hands of a skilled Navy pilot does not make up for rolling back every single environmental choice in this nation. 

And in addition to that, I will point out to Americans that, look, we're taking 20 billion dollars a year and dumping it into the pockets of some of the most uncooperative and repressive regimes in the world. 

And that money finds its way to those who hate Israel and those who hate the United States. And we need to begin, for the sake of our own future, to liberate any young serviceman from ever being held hostage to our dependency on Middle East oil. 

WARREN OLNEY: You're out of time. 

SENATOR KERRY: We do that by striking out for independence.  That's the national security issue. I'm sorry this President doesn't see it, but everybody here does, and at the end of this campaign, America will see it.

WARREN OLNEY: Paul Rogers, question for Governor Dean.

PAUL ROGERS: Governor Dean, at least half of America's current corn crop and large percentages of other crops are genetically modified. As the only physician on the panel today, do you think genetically modified foods are safe to eat? 

GOVERNOR DEAN: Yes.  But I believe that we ought to have a national labeling law because people we have the right to know what they eat. We went through this with BST.  I signed a labeling law on bovine somatotrophin, which is a hormone that stimulates milk production.  I've been through all the studies. There's no indication—Here's the problems with GMO's.  It's not whether they're safe to eat or not. It's, one, genetic drift, which is incredibly unfair to organic farmers, and two, it's do people have aright to know what's in their food? And I think they do. 

So we signed a labeling law. So in our state you can tell in your milk product has BST init, and avoid it if you choose. And I think that's not only the same choice that we ought to get here; Europeans are entitled to that choice.

PAUL ROGERS: Follow-up on agriculture policy. Similarly, the Governor of California, Gray Davis, has filed a lawsuit against the federal government to block President Bush from forcing California motorists to put ethanol in their gasoline. 
Corn farmers in the Midwest oppose that. Many New England leaders, such as Senator Chuck Shum, are opposed to the ethanol mandate.What's your view of the ethanol mandate? 

GOVERNOR DEAN: We want an ethanol mandate. If you'd put 10 percent ethanol in everybody's fuel in this country, you would reduce the total world demand for oil by 2 percent. 

Now, I understand we don't want subsidies for So so's Midland, but you can make ethanol out of anything that grows. And if you're talking about biological fuels, then you need to include ethanol. 

Furthermore, if you use ethanol you also eliminate the need to use MTBE, which is a carcinogenic oxygenate which is getting into our  water. So we're getting rid of the subsidies of Archer Daniels Midland. And we'll use sugar cane as well as corn and other things. We need ethanol.

WARREN OLNEY: John North, question for Reverend Sharpton.

JOHN NORTH: Reverend Sharpton, critics says the Bush Administration plans would shrink the scope and the protection
of the Clean Water Act.

Do you support maintaining the Clean Water Act as it currently is to protect all of the nation's waters, not just some of
them? 

REVEREND SHARPTON: Well, I think not only—I think the Clean Water Act clearly is not only correct.  I would even strengthen it. I think what the President has done is come with an alternative Clear Skies Act, which is nothing but a gift to his friends in big business. 

I think that clearly we must mobilize. And again, I think if the American people understood what's at stake with the Clean Water Act, why Mr. Bush's opposition is a very threat to us, and understood in a language that common people, everyday people understand, that they would be rebelling at the polls next year because we are talking about our very lives. 

I think one of the things we must rally this nation around is what Mr. Bush and his administration is trying to dilute the Clean Water Act and the impact that it will have.

JOHN NORTH: What is the threat? Specifically what's he trying to do? 

REVEREND SHARPTON: Well, I think what he has tried to limit what we can do in terms of what states and clearly limit the regulations that we would put on big business, in terms of where they would have to reach certain levels of clean water or cleaning of water.

I think where he has tried to have the Justice Department slide back in enforcement. What they are really doing is taking the teeth out of enforcing clean water provisions on a state level. 

What he has tried to take out, would in effect mean the Clean Water Act would be nothing more than a commentary, rather an enforceable law. And the results will not clean our water. And the results will not be healthy for Americans. 

WARREN OLNEY: Pilar Marrero, question for Carol Moseley-Braun.

PILAR MARRERO: Ambassador, school construction is a very critical issue, especially in urban areas like Los Angeles that have the highest need, but also the less availability of land, especially land that is clean enough to build a school.

A recent study found over 600,000 students in the country attending schools built on sites that contain toxic wastes or near them.  Most states and school districts lack environmental standards, and the federal government doesn't monitor the situation. 

You worked, I think, in this area in the Department of Education. What did you do and what would you do as President? 

SENATOR MOSELEY-BRAUN: As President I would first off start helping local—state and local governments fund education and by providing for school construction. 

Right now the federal government only contributes 6 percent of the cost of elementary and secondary education. So the cost winds up being pushed to the local level.

We tried and I passed the school—the education infrastructure act as Senator, and it has been defunded.  So funding that would be a first place to start. 

As far as the architectural issues that you raise, you're exactly right. Making certain that the criteria for selection of where the new schools will be built, and asbestos removal and the like from older schools, make sure that those processes take place is something that the administration and national administration certainly can do again in collaboration and cooperation with local governments. 

There are laws on the books. The problem we have here is that there are laws already on the books for many of these things.
But there is neither the will, nor the intention to enforce those laws, to make certain that the children receive the protections—the environment protections that are already on the books. So school construction is another place where that happens.  

PILAR MARRERO: How do you do that in the moment of economic crisis where a lot of things are getting defunding like you said? 

SENATOR MOSELEY-BRAUN: Well, part of the economic crisis is this backward attitude that says that you just hunker down and create these false conflicts between environment and job creation or construction, as the case may be. 

If we invest—if we invest in infrastructure development, that's a way to jumpstart this economy, to create jobs for working people.  It's a way to—environmental protection, as my colleagues have mentioned, whether it's in regards to air quality and new technologies for cars, these are places where we can create jobs and inspire the kind of economic development from the bottom up that this economy needs. 

Trickle down economics clearly does not work.  You can cut interest rates to negative 5, and it's not going to work. You have to begin to put the money where it belongs, among the masses of the people. 

WARREN OLNEY: Steve Curwood, question for Senator Lieberman.  

STEVE CURWOOD: Thanks, Warren. Senator Lieberman, I've seen you at the climate changes talks in Kyoto and Buenos Aires. The Kyoto process has run into a brick wall known as the Bush Administration right now. But the law of the land does include the UN framework convention on climate change.  This is something that was signed by the United States, ratified by the United States Senate. Perhaps you voted to ratify it, in fact. 

My question is this: This law, which requires the United States to implement programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to report them and to attempt—to make the effort to get to a reduction.

How well do you think this law is being implemented by the Bush Administration? And if you were President of the United States, how would you implement the law of the land, otherwise known as UN framework convention on climate change? 

SENATOR LIEBERMAN: Like most every other environmental laws, this one is not being at all implemented by the Bush Administration. I mean this is the most anti-environment administration in our history; much worse than Reagan, and incredibly worse than the first President Bush. 

There's a disregard for the law and for the reality of the threat that environmental pollutants frame our future and our health. People are hurting from what's happening now. 

The problem with the UN framework of course is that it had no teeth. That's why we went to Kyoto. That's why the nations of the world came together and said, "We've got a problem here and if we don't deal with it, people are going to get hurt. Low-lying lands are going to disappear.  And that includes in the United States.  Diseases will travel to places they haven't been before.

This requires leadership.  That's why Kyoto was negotiated. I was there; vice President Gore was there. We were moving towards something. And then the Bush Administration just came in and said, "Forgot about it." An act of colossal irresponsibility for which history will hold this administration accountable. I will be committed to doing something about this from the first day I get into the oval office and that will begin with the McCain Lieberman climate change control bill.  Standards, caps—

WARREN OLNEY: Senator, you're out of time. 

SENATOR LIEBERMAN: -- and market-based mechanisms to make it happen. We've got to lead here.

STEVE CURWOOD: Well, but with all due respect, I don't think you really responded to my question directly. The Kyoto—

SENATOR LIEBERMAN:I certainly responded to your question.

STEVE CURWOOD: The UN—that's true.  Thank you.  The UN framework convention may not have any teeth, but by golly, it's got gums and a bite to it.  And what it does is it requires the United States government to implement a program of greenhouse gas reductions. We're required under this.  

SENATOR LIEBERMAN: Right.  

WARREN OLNEY: 30 seconds. 

SENATOR LIEBERMAN: Well, we are in violation of it. It has no teeth. 

STEVE CURWOOD: Well, what would you do? 

SENATOR LIEBERMAN: Oh, I'd continue to do all the other things I've done. My energy independence program would
require much more greater fuel efficiency, 40 miles a gallon. 

The Clean Power Act that I've cosponsored with Jim Jeffords would clean up the power plants, close down the old ones there wasn't as much junk in the air, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Look, the important thing about greenhouse gas and climate change responses is, as somebody said to me, it's a win-win. Not only do you prevent the most catastrophic economics of global warming in the future, but today you clean up the air.  So—

WARREN OLNEY: That's it.

SENATOR LIEBERMAN: -- people are not dying. And , kids in Los Angeles have asthma aggravated by dirty air. If we took some of the steps I've talked about, they'd be healthier. 

WARREN OLNEY: Senator your 30 seconds is up. 

Paul Rogers, question for Senator Kerry. 

PAUL ROGERS: Senator Kerry, one of the other democratic candidates, Dennis Cucinich, isn't here today.  He's at a rally with Ralph Nader on the East Coast and the Green Party.  Some environmentally minded voters have joined the Green
Party. Supporters say that the Green Party is not as beholden to special interests as the Democratic Party is, while opponents say that Ralph Nader's candidacy in 2000 cost Al Gore the election by siphoning away critical votes in Florida and New Hampshire. What's your view of that?

SENATOR KERRY: Well, I think it did obviously siphon away some votes. And clearly Al Gore had to spend a significant amount of money in a number of states, Washington, Oregon, elsewhere in order to pull back from where it was.

I know Ralph raider—Ralph Nader—that's probably appropriate.

I've sat with him and talked to him already in the course of the last months.  Look, we have to talk to those people. To a degree, it is the fault of the democratic party for not having stood up and been clear about our agenda. 

And I believe we have to make it crystal-clear.  I see no reason. I went through and read the Green Party platform. I don't agree with every single part of it, but I certainly agree with the components on the environment and raising the standards of our trade negotiations and things we need to do to bring people up.

I'm going to talk to those people. And I am going to provide a series of clear choices on water, on air, on environmental justice, on global warming.  We cannot drill our way out of this problem.  We have to invent our way out of this problem.  And we need to get about the business of doing it now. I think we can attract the voters.

WARREN OLNEY: Want to ask a follow-up?

PAUL ROGERS: Specifically, which sections of the platform of the Green Party or Green Party issues do you disagree with?

SENATOR KERRY: Well, it's a long platform and I don't have time in 30 seconds to go through it all, but I—

PAUL ROGERS: Is there that one you can name? 

SENATOR KERRY: They were specifically opposed to any of the trade agreements in the 1990s.  And I thought Bill Clinton led us to a place where we created 43 million new jobs. We had the lowest inflation, the lowest unemployment. We not only balanced the budget, but we paid down the debt of our nation for two successive years, and we did it trading.

I want to lead us to a place where we not only create that kind of economy, but where we have a smarter set of trade alternatives now that raise the standards on labor and environment.  No goods should ever enter this country that have touched the hands of children. And we need a President who begins to enforce those standards. 

WARREN OLNEY: John North, question for Governor Dean.

JOHN NORTH: Governor, you've had reservations, I understand, about the Kyoto protocol.  Can you give us our problems with the Kyoto protocol, and what would it take for you to support it?

GOVERNOR DEAN: First, let me say that I think we need to find a way to sign the Kyoto protocol. The biggest problem with the Kyoto protocol is it doesn't ask the developing nations to do anything. And that's an enormous problem. We don't wanted to move our smoke stack industries to avoid the things they're going to have to do comply with Kyoto. 

So what I want to do is when the window comes up in 2006, we need to get back into the negotiations.  And here's my proposal: Allow the developing nations—require them to comply, reduce greenhouse gases, give them a 20-year run-in, instead of the 5 run-in that we ought to have.  And then have the GA pay between 25 and 30 percent of their costs. 

We have to got to get all—I've been—spent some significant amount of time in both China and Brazil. I know what they're are doing to the environment there. That is not acceptable. And Kyoto has to apply to all of us. But we need to be a mode in where we negotiate it successfully, so we can sign it.

JOHN NORTH: Connected to that, do you believe in the United States in a hard cap on pollution from power plants?

GOVERNOR DEAN: Pardon me?

JOHN NORTH:A cap on pollution from power plants.  

GOVERNOR DEAN: Yeah, we should but—and I'm going to use my remaining 25 seconds to put forth a proposal that I haven't been able to do because of this format. 

I'm the only guy here who's ever had to deal on the ground with brown fields and with Superfund.  My proposal for that is that let the federal government take over the liability and let them sue the corporations, because I can tell you I've had super funds sites in my state that it's taken years and years and years to clean up.  We will do the cleanup first, and then let the Feds sue to let the polluters pay. We need those the brown fields. We need the Superfund sites cleaned up first. Let the Feds go after the corporations, get the cleanup done first.

WARREN OLNEY:I just have to point out that the format was negotiated between the campaigns and the sponsors of the event.

GOVERNOR DEAN:I got my 25 seconds.

WARREN OLNEY: Pilar Marrero, question for Reverend Sharpton.

PILAR MARRERO: Reverend Sharpton, among the top spenders in campaign contributions and lobbying in Washington are some of the biggest oil, energy and automakers who have thrown tens of millions of dollars to politicians seeking to influence policy on issues such as global warming, fuel economy standards and the Kyoto protocol. 

Don't you believe there is something wrong with the system that allows this and what would you do to fix it. 

REVEREND SHARPTON:I not only think there's something wrong with it, I think the results are what we see. They've been able to, in effect, buy their way into situations that have rendered the American people in an environmental precarious position.I think that we need to expose that. 

One of the things I think we must do in is have a theme in the democratic race of follow the money. And we need to show where the money went and where clean water went. Where the money went and where clear air went. Where the money went and where regulations of some of these big oil companies. 

I mean the Bush Administration has been sopro oil at a time that we need the world to get off of this hostage situation we are in, in terms of dependence on Middle East oil, it is so oily in Washington now, it's down right greasy.

And we need to make that case to the American people to get the greasy people out of Washington and bring the right
people in.  

PILAR MARRERO: Now, should high-level officials, like presidents and vice presidents and Congress people, that have or have had some friends in the oil industry or have been in the oil industry, should they excuse themselves from making those decisions? 

REVEREND SHARPTON: Well, I clearly think where there's a conflict of interest in any area, and especially this one, people should excuse themselves.I don't think they will. So I think that the American public is going to have to do it for them. 

This administration has clearly had more conflicts of interest in two years than we probably see in a lifetime. And I think we've clearly got to expose it. We have got to stop being timid about things. 

They went after the Democrats with a vengeance on non-issues.  We have real things to go off Bush and Cheney about in their conflicts. We're not being defeated as much as we're surrendering.  We need to take the fight to them on behalf of the American people. 

WARREN OLNEY: Steve Curwood, you are up with a question for Senator Moseley-Braun. 

STEVE CURWOOD: Senator, you come from a state that has substantial agricultural production, downstate you call it I guess out there in Illinois. What I want to ask you about are subsidies. 

At the World Summit on sustainable development, which I believe you attended—you did not. I'm sorry—there was much discussion that the United States agricultural subsidy practices as well as European subsidy practices are a major cause of environmental degradation in the Third World because big, rich corporations import food that can't be grown at an effective level in these Third World countries, and they must turn to growing things and certain behaviors that are highly destructive to the environment.

So my question is this: What would you do about agricultural subsidies that are—that the world sees as fairly destructive to the environment?

SENATOR MOSELEY-BRAUN: Well, at the outset everybody subsidizes agriculture. Every country does.  And the question is whether or not the subsidies will be used to improve air and water and wildlife quality. 

We have a conservation security program which was a start to get farmers to invest in low input, high yield kinds of agriculture that did not require so much on the front end, in terms of pesticides and inputs, and at the same time that would drive—that caused the driving of family farmers off of the farm. So we need to find balance again so that we balance the inputs in terms of our own agricultural policy, but then make sure that our subsidies do go to providing for security—for conservation security and the like.

We should reward farmers to produce for specific markets and increase exports in those markets.  We are not doing that right now.  In fact, if anything we are rewarding agri-business to the extent—to the detriment very often of, again, the small and medium-sized farmers which really do a better job. 

WARREN OLNEY: That's your time. Steve, ask a follow-up.

STEVE CURWOOD: Let me try again. 

What I was trying to ask you is: The Third World, poor parts of this planet, complain that our subsidized exports kill their local agricultural production, and force poor people, subsistence farmers there to engage in environmentally destructive practices.

What would you do to reduce or eliminate those US subsidies that hurt poor and Third World farmers and the environment? 

SENATOR MOSELEY BRAUN: Well, certainly where we are found guilty—where we have encouraged dumping into Third World markets, that absolutely ought to be stopped. That's part of the working well with others, to work through international forestry to see to it that our exports go where needed and we are not just dumping excess products in other areas, in Third World areas. That's one thing. 

Helping, as we do, Third World countries with development with getting water, with irrigation policies, with modern or appropriate farming techniques for their area is something that we are doing and can do more of.  So those are the kinds of things that we can and should be doing. 

WARREN OLNEY: Thank you, Senator. Paul Rogers, question for Senator Lieberman.  

PAUL ROGERS: Senator Lieberman, I have a similar question for you as Senator Kerry.  As you well know, better than maybe anybody else in this room, Ralph Nader got 95,000 votes in Florida in 2000.  Al Gore lost by 500. Ralph Nader got more than 20,000 votes in New Hampshire. You and Al Gore came about 7,000 short of beating Bush in that state, either of which would have given you the White House.

Do you resent Nader running right to the end and not dropping out, or do you think he had every right to be there? What are your thoughts about his role in that election?

SENATOR LIEBERMAN: Yeah.  Well, first, let me say if all the votes had still been voted in Florida, I'd still be in the White House and so would Al Gore. 

And incidentally, just for a moment let us give ourselves the pleasure of thinking how much better off our environment would have been if Al Gore had been our President for the last2 ½ years.

Do I resent Ralph Nader?  No.  He had a right to run. But I think his running created exactly the negative, destructive situation that we predicted. We said that a vote for Ralph Nader was a vote for George Bush. 

If we are worried about the quality of our environment, protecting our national resources, protecting our health from environmental pollutants, then you better think about how this is going to be under George W. Bush. And now we've got 2 ½  years to say unfortunately I was right. 

We've got to be aggressive about the environment.  We have got to distinguish ourselves from this President and offer a clear alternative not to hesitate to be the pro environment party because, believe me, that embraces the best values of the American people and speaks to where they want to be. 

This is not a partisan matter. As far as I've seen in Connecticut and around the country, Democrats, Republicans, Independents all want a pro environment President. And George Bush in that regard has been a disaster.

WARREN OLNEY: Paul, follow-up. 

PAUL ROGERS: Quick follow-up touching on President Bush. President Bush has occasionally in the last couple years won praise from environmentalists, such as his EPA decision to lower diesel emissions from millions of trucks, buses and off road equipment, and a few wilderness bills that he has signed. Which environmental decisions from President Bush do you agree with? 

SENATOR LIEBERMAN: Frankly, I can't think of one.  I mean the truth is that—

PAUL ROGERS: Not even the diesel standards? 

SENATOR LIEBERMAN: Well, the diesel was okay, you know. But it's such a rare exception.  This man has turned the
Environmental Protection Agency into the environmental destruction agency. 

I've talked before about Soviet policies of mistruth. Look at his Clear Skies initiative. It makes the skies dirtier. Look at his Healthy Forest initiative. It makes the forest sicker. Look at his freedom car plan. It keeps our cars chained to foreign oil. 

This has been the worst environmental President in our history, compromised the great natural gifts that God has given America, open spaces, wildlife refuges and negatively impacted—made us sicker as a result of the failure—the yielding to special interests and the failure to enforce the law. 

WARREN OLNEY: You're out of time Senator.  John North, question for Senator Kerry. 

JOHN NORTH: Senator, you said in Anaheim that you would buy back the offshore oil leases in California.  I assume that includes other offshore areas as well.  How much would it cost? Where would you get the money? The oil companies say it would be billions of dollars. 

SENATOR KERRY: It is in the billions if you have to do that. I don't think we have to do that. I think if you have a thoughtful, engaged President who recognizes the need to push this country to energy independence, which I have laid out a very clear path to, we can avoid the need to-do that because we can begin to transition our economy. 

I mean Norbeck Minister in 1973 said that the stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones.  And the oil age is not going to end because we've run out of oil.

Now, we need to push the curve. If we create the energy that I'm talking about from, number one, the raising of the fuel standards, save million barrels of oil a day, completely obviate what we take from the Middle East.  Number two, create the energy institute/hydrogen institute, push for the creation of the new energy sources.  Number 3, ethanol and biomass and alternatives, we can reduce our dependency so we don't need to drill offshore because we are moving and transitioning to the next wave of our energy source for this country.  And that by doing so—sorry. 

WARREN OLNEY: Go ahead, John. 

JOHN NORTH: Until we make that transition, would you buy back the oil leases off California?

SENATOR KERRY: You don't have to because again you don't have to move to that point.  Would I be willing to do it if it was a choice between their continuing to drill and that's the only source we have, yes, I'd do that because absent having another brother be governor of California, it's clear we're not going to get the choice of not having him prohibit it. So we have to take the steps ourselves. 

But I think if we had a President—look, the 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that could come from the 95 percent of the Alaska oil shelf that's open for drilling. John Brown of BP tells us that the greatest unexplored oil field in the world is the Deep Sea in the Gulf of Mexico. 

If we begin this transitioning now, while I know it will take us 25, 30, 40 years to completely wean ourselves, we can completely preclude this administration's drive to drill in national monuments and offshore. And that's the leadership we need. 

WARREN OLNEY: Pilar, question for Governor Dean.  

PILAR MARRERO: Governor, water quality is becoming a bigger issue for populations in the inner city when old plumbing and treatment plants are decaying in rural areas and small communities there needs to be investment in infrastructure, but in the last 20 years the federal government hasn't lived up to that. Do you have plans to address this?

GOVERNOR DEAN: I do. I think the President's been incredibly foolish to have these enormous tax cuts which really haven't helped Americans with jobs at all. Here's what I'd to for jobs: First, stimulate small business because they create more jobs than large businesses do, and they don't move their jobs to Indonesia. And secondly, invest in infrastructure. 

Now, in our state we're very careful about what we do. We invest in sewer and water, but we don't invest in sewer and water if it leads to urban sprawl. 

We don't want certain infrastructure, because we know if we build it, then the development that we don't want follows. But we need to fix the old infrastructure now. It will create jobs and build an infrastructure for the new economy, and it will reduce the pollution that's going to our waters.  And that's a much better investment than giving tax credits to people like Ken Lay.

PILAR MARRERO: Another issue with water is the levels of toxics in the water and specifically mercury.  If you go to the supermarket here in California, you'll see notices that children and pregnant woman shouldn't eat certain cans of fish because they contain high levels of mercury.What would you specifically advocate in terms of reduction in mercury and other emissions? 

GOVERNOR DEAN: This is actually one of the things I did when I was chairman of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadien Premiers. We passed a mercury program that's far in excess of what anybody in the United States does. 

This is one of the ways you can win on environment.  You've got to connect people with the consequences. You can't just talk about coal pollution, which is the way to reduce mercury pollution is to reduce what's going on in the Midwest.  You've got to say just what you said," That you can't eat the fish in my part of the country because there is a mercury advisory in almost every freshwater lake in New England and the East." 

So you've got to win by connecting what happens in the environment to average American voters, not talking about greenhouse gases and TMDL's and all these things. Connect it to their everyday lives.

What you do with mercury is what we need to do with mercury. We need to deal with the emissions from coal-burning plants in the Midwest, and we need to fundamentally go off all the sources of mercury, but most of that is air pollution.  
WARREN OLNEY: We have some questions that have been submitted by people in the audience, people on the Internet, and I want to take the few remaining moments we have to ask those.

And let me put the next one to Reverend Sharpton.  I'll just go down the list in order as we would have gone otherwise.
Brian Holland of Atlanta, Georgia asks this: "Globalization has provided economic growth, but also has had significant environment impacts, such as deforestation and over fishing.  How would you hold multinational  organizations accountable and address environment degradation associated with trade?"

REVEREND SHARPTON: First of all, I'm opposed to many of the trade agreements, including NAFTA and others in the 90's.  I think that for any trade agreement, though, that I would support as President or advocate in this campaign you must have a strong environmental part of the trade agreement that is enforceable. 

We cannot in the name of trade go against the best interests of the people of the world.  We have too long allowed government to say we must sacrifice environment, sacrifice health in order to stimulate the economy, either globally or domestically.  And I don't think that's a fair exchange. 

I think we need a President that says clearly some things are nonnegotiable, and that in my judgment should be nonnegotiable. 

WARREN OLNEY: Next question to Senator Moseley-Braun.  This comes from Dan Skolls of Rosalie, Illinois, or excuse me, Rosel, Illinois. Beg your pardon.  What do you feel is the most significant challenge to protecting our remaining wilderness area and how would you address it?

SENATOR MOSELEY-BRAUN: Well, the most significant challenge is this administration, it seems to me.  I think that we have to be very clear about wildlife conservation, funding fish and wildlife, to make certain that we actually enforce and don't let them continue to gut Endangered Species Act. 

I think we have to deal with the issue of urban sprawl that's endangering our wilderness areas.  And we have to again go back and look at the whole issue of enforcement, which I think really is the biggest issue we have with this administration and where we are right now. 

And in that regard, I want to point out that one of the most insidious things that they're doing has to do with packing the courts. They are packing the courts with jurists who have an anti environmental agenda. This is something I think we really have to be very concerned about.

We also have to be concerned about breaking up the kind of revolving door Cabal that this administration has put in place—"stop" is upside down—the Cabal that they put in place, of people who really have no problem at all with allowing for development to run a mock and destroy wilderness areas, without concern for protecting our heritage.

WARREN OLNEY: I'm going to go a bit out of order because according to our timers, Governor Dean hasn't had quite as much time as the other guests have. So Governor Dean, I'll put this one to you.  Now, this comes from Phil Landrigan.  It doesn't say where Phil Landrigan is located.

"Children are especially vulnerable to environmental contaminants because of their developing immune systems.  What steps would you take to protect children from environment threats?" 

GOVERNOR DEAN: We talked about environmental racism.  I think the key to environmental racism is raise the bar for all pollution. And if more pollution's in minority communities, that stops, too.  That applies to all—we talked about lead. That's absolutely critical. We talked about mercury. That's absolutely critical. 

The bottom line is if we want to win this election based on environmental issues, we have got to connect the environment, as I was saying, to mercury directly through families, talk about what happens to your child when they go to the emergency room with an asthma attack. Those are the kinds of things that we can do. Talk directly about children, and then connect to the environment, just as we connect national security to the environment by not having a renewable energy policy of any kind. WARREN OLNEY: That's all the time we have for questions and answers, once again, according to the format negotiated by the campaigns and the sponsors. 

Thanks very much to Pilar Marrero, Steve Curwood, Paul Rogers and John North for joining us. 

It is time now for closing statements. And each candidate will have one minute and 30 seconds to make a closing statement;
and we're going to start with Senator Lieberman.  

SENATOR LIEBERMAN: Thank you very much, and thanks to the California LCV for sponsoring this forum.  This has been a very important discussion. I draw from it one overriding conclusion, that the most important goal we in the environmental movement in America must have today is to replace George W. Bush as the President of the of the United States. And in that we are all united. That of course means that we must nominate democratic candidate who can defeat him. I'm hereto tell you, not surprisingly, I believe I'm that candidate. 

I am that candidate because I can take this President on where he's supposed to be strong, on security and values, and defeat him where he has been weak and irresponsible, on the economy and the environment. 

I'm a different kind of Democrat.  George W. Bush is an indifferent kind of Republican. Environmental protection has been a passion and priority of my public life. Needless to say, that is not so for this President. 

He has called in the special interests to write his administration's environmental policy. When I was Attorney General of Connecticut I hauled those special interests into court. And that's exactly the attitude I would bring to the oval office.

I have been in my time in the Senate of the United States as strong in defending our nation's environment as I have been strong in defending our nation's security. That balance, that mixture makes me unique among the candidates for President of the United States this year, particularly George W. Bush. That's why I know I can defeat him. So I ask you, imagine—

WARREN OLNEY: Thank you, Senator. 

SENATOR LIEBERMAN:I ask you finally—I'll say in a sentence—stand with me and we can, on election day, put the polluters out of the Whitehouse and reclaim our nation's environment for the generations to come.

Thank you very, very much. 

WARREN OLNEY: Closing statement from Governor Dean. 

GOVERNOR DEAN: Whoever thought we would long for the days of James Watt. 

Let me tell you first what I did when I was governor. We had a five-year plan.  That's all the things governors have deal with. Balancing the budgets. Education formula that's a 20-year plan. That's what we did with investing in kids and making sure every kid in the state had health insurance under 18. 

Then we had a 100-year plan, and that's all environmental. We set aside hundreds of thousands of acres that would never be developed. We put in lead paint restrictions, improved water quality.  I closed 75 local landfills, which was incredibly politically difficult. 

The way I'm going to win this election is the way I need to win this election, and the only way the Democrats can within this election is why I think that I'm the only candidate that can beat George Bush. 

I've brought hundreds of thousands of new people into this process already. I was at a meeting in Seattle a couple weeks ago. 1200 people came to hear what I said. 600 had never been involved in politics before. 

We can't win this election by trying to belike George Bush. The only way we can win is to put our stake in the middle of an electorate the way it should be and expand the electorate.  And that's what this campaign's doing. We are bringing new people in that have given up, and I'm going to allow them not to give up and vote Democratic and beat George Bush. 

WARREN OLNEY: Senator Moseley-Braun.

SENATOR MOSELEY-BRAUN: Howard, I just couldn't help but take this chance to laugh at the fact that if there is a candidate that's the least like George Bush at this table, it's me. 

My candidacy springs from a passionate patriotism and a desire to free our country from the clutches of the extreme Right Wing that is knowing power. 

As President, I will rebuild America, both physically and spiritually. Our economy can come out of this recession when we return to the economic policies of the Clinton era and invest in working people, invest in rebuilding infrastructure, reforming healthcare and restoring our environment.

This administration's hypocrisy frankly has been breathtaking. They have done everything from gutting laws that we thought we had in place, protections we thought we had, to coming up with new things to take even more of our civil liberties away from us. 

In addition to what they've done to the courts, in addition to Patriot 1 and all the pandering to fear and division that they've resorted to, the newest announcement that came just yesterday is they have something now called an Integrated Earth Observation System, which is the replacement for Total Information Awareness that will, quote, take the pulse of the planet, using satellite and ground-based weather, climate and vegetation observation. 

Well, what do these people need to look at anything for when they're destroying what we already know we have.

I believe that we have—my candidacy does honor to our ancestors who fought for social justice and for the environment, and gives hope to our children who deserve to get no less liberty, no less freedom, no less opportunity, no less optimism—

WARREN OLNEY: Thank you, Senator. 

SENATOR MOSELEY BRAUN:-- than we inherited from the last generation. 

WARREN OLNEY: Reverend Sharpton.  

REVEREND SHARPTON:I think that all of us can state why we are unique and why we are different, and I don't need to use any part of my minute to confirm my uniqueness on this panel. 

But my honest opinion is that a candidate cannot be beat George Bush. A movement must beat George Bush. If we fight George Bush using clubhouse politics and slick commercials, we will be defeated. But if we stand for what is right and if we connect to every American what their interests are, George Bush cannot get away with what he got away with in 2000.

What I bring to this campaign is the ability to communicate to those areas of this country that have been disenfranchised and marginalized, that is the margin of Victory in 2004. 

George Bush can be defeated. He didn't win last time. But he cannot win this time if the people come out in unprecedented numbers and understand that air is our air, that water is our water.  We must get rid of Bush not for the Democrats, but for our ourselves. 

WARREN OLNEY: Senator Kerry. 

SENATOR KERRY:I think it's clear that the one thing we don't need is as we approach this race is a second Republican party. And as President Clinton said a little while ago, the 2002 election showed that strong and wrong beats weak and right. 

I believe that the record I bring to this raise proves I can be strong and right and provide strong leadership to lead us in the right direction. 

I am proud of the fact that I have the strongest lifetime 19-year voting record of LCV of those who've been measured, 96.5 percent, and the road traveled is prologue to the road to be traveled. 

I led the fight against Gale Norton, led the fight with John McCain to raise campaign standards, led the fight against Arctic drilling, led the fight against Gingrich to stop him attacking the Clean Air and Clean Water Act.

I've written our fishery laws, flood insurance laws, marine mammal protection. And I am going to be a President in the best
tradition of Teddy Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, President Eisenhower and Bill Clinton who put away 350 million acres. 

We are going to lead this country of ours to a better place, and we are going to prove to the world that the real definition of patriotism is not going to be stolen by those who believe the flag or patriotism belongs to them.

The real definition of patriotism is how we make our country stronger for our children. The environment—

WARREN OLNEY: We're out of time, Senator.

SENATOR KERRY:-- is a national security issue.

WARREN OLNEY: Thank you very much. I'm sorry to interrupt you, but we are simply out of time. It is over with. 

Thank you for being with us. Thanks to our reporters as well. 

(Whereupon, at 6:00 P.M., 

the debate was concluded.)

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