Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Michigan LCV: Benishek booed for climate denial in Petoskey

From Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LCV)
Posted Oct. 22, 2012, on Michigan LCV's Political Week in Review

At a debate in Petoskey last week, Congressman Dan Benishek (R, 1st District) proudly and unapologetically spewed the same climate-denial rhetoric that landed him on the national League of Conservation Voters' "Flat Earth Five" list. In response, the audience booed him and then laughed at him for claiming he was a scientist (he is a doctor). He said: 

"Well, frankly, I’m not sure how significant global warming is…[audience boos]…well, I don’t know, I’m a scientist…[audience laughter]…Well I don’t know, I’ve studied medicine. I’ve written research papers, I’ve done peer review journals, I spent a lot of time in the sciences and you know I’m not exactly sure what’s happening with the climate."

Gary McDowell, Benishek's challenger to represent the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula in Congress, replied, "I think virtually every scientist who is not working for BP or the Koch brothers -- and Dr. Benishek -- agree that we have to do something." (Actually, even Koch-funded scientists admit climate change is real, as well as 97 percent of actual scientists who study the issue.)

McDowell had a 90 percent lifetime score on the Michigan LCV Scorecard as a state legislator and earned a 100 percent in his last term ending in 2010. Benishek, on the other hand, has only a 3 percent score from the national League of Conservation Voters for his one term in Congress, which named him to their "Flat Earth Five." He has voted to weaken Clean Water Act protections and consistently denied the existence of climate change, even as Great Lakes levels drop from a lack of ice cover and increased evaporation, cherry crops were decimated from erratic weather patterns, and Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is killing thousands of deer in southern Michigan because the midges which spread them are emerging earlier and living longer into the fall due to warmer weather.

Michigan LCV ran television ads last month highlighting Congressman Benishek's dismal voting record on clean water protections, which helped McDowell bump past Benishek in the polls.

Click here to watch the debate video!
Click here to read the Oct. 16, 2012, Michigan LCV article on the Petoskey debate, held on Oct. 15, 2012.

See the Michigan LCV's Political Week in Review for these stories as well:

Michiganders aren't buying big utilities' false claims, despite the $10 million being spent on statewide advertising (about Proposition 3).

The Conservation Voters of Michigan PAC launches northern Michigan radio campaign.

Some new anti-poaching bills offer a rare bright spot for a generally anti-conservation Legislature.

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