Self-Proclaimed ‘Green Republican’ Has One Climate Policy: Build Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline

Massachusetts Senate Candidate Gabriel Gomez. Credit: Politico

Cohasset, MA — In Tuesday evening’s U.S. Senate debate in Springfield, Massachusetts between Rep. Ed Markey (D) and venture capitalist Gabriel Gomez, the Republican nominee uttered a sentence rarely heard from the mouth of a conservative politician.

“I’m a green Republican,” he said. “I believe in climate change, and I believe that humans have had something to do with climate change.”

But that is about as far as Gomez seems willing to go when discussing environmental policy.

While Gomez and his staff are quick to note that he trusts the scientific community and acknowledges that humans are at least partially to blame for the planet’s warming, he is light on any specifics about what he would do to mitigate the worsening effects of worldwide climate change.

On his campaign website, Gomez outlines his desire for “rational” solutions to climate change, and hits “politicians in Washington” for their support of solutions that are, in his estimation, “not rational.” Nowhere is a list of the legislation that he would pursue as a Senator to combat climate change, or even an outline of broader policy recommendations.

Instead, in almost every instance in which Gomez discusses the environment, it is immediately followed by an equally unwavering endorsement of the Keystone XL pipeline as a job creator, a pathway to lower energy costs, and, alarmingly, environmentally friendly.

In reality, it is none of those things. As few as 35 permanent jobs will be created by the KXL pipeline, recent reports suggest it could actually increase U.S. fuel costs, and the detrimental environmental impacts of its construction have been well-documented.

In a follow-up response, Gomez went on to suggest that if the pipeline was not completed, connecting the Canadian tar sands with ports in eastern Texas, the unrefined oil would instead somehow find its way to China. Opponents of KXL are quick to note, however, that there is nothing to stop TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, from selling their oil overseas even after transporting it across the length of the United States. Even the consortium of companies investing in the pipeline admit that much of the oil will find its way to the gulf coast’s export markets.

Beyond that, and broad proclamations of support for alternative energy, Gomez has refused to take a position on any substantial climate legislation.

ThinkProgress spent three days following the Gomez campaign last month, and at half a dozen different campaign stops refused to answer a single question on his environmental policy, or anything else.

Will Ritter, the campaign’s communications director, did take a few minutes to discuss Gomez’s environmental policies during a campaign stop in Cohasset, MA, but was equally noncommittal. When asked if the campaign could provide any specific policy positions related to climate change, he responded by asking us to list specific proposals.

Cap and trade? “We can take a look at that, sure.”

A carbon tax? “We don’t currently don’t have a policy on the matter, not that I’m aware of.”

Higher fuel emissions standards? “It honestly has not been asked yet. It’s not an issue we’ve come across in any interview.”

“You can email me, and we’ll sit down with him when we do our policy to find out where he is and we can get you some answers back,” he said.

ThinkProgress reached out to Ritter via email multiple times with the same requests for Gomez’s positions on any number of climate-related issues, and despite the promise to provide some answers on Gomez’s climate policy, we have yet to receive any response.

Gomez’s reluctance to embrace any substantive environmental policies is perhaps explained by his own financial interests. As ThinkProgress reported last month, Gomez has thousands of dollars invested in nearly a dozen different energy companies.

17 Responses to Self-Proclaimed ‘Green Republican’ Has One Climate Policy: Build Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline

  1. D. R. Tucker says:

    The group Climate Parents is applauding this week’s decision by the Kansas state school board to green light new standards for K-12 that will teach climate change and evolution as key scientific concepts. Climate Parents’ Director, Lisa Hoyas, talks about the group’s efforts to organize American families around awareness and action on global warming. Next, central Texas radio personality, Bill Paige, joins me for some local perspective on the people and politics of Bastrop County, scene of one of the worst wildfires in U.S. history.

    Read more:
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

  2. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Probably part of the Republican push to recover lost ground. Read the polls, say ‘green’ and hope that nobody looks any further, ME

  3. David Smith says:

    Massachusetts is one of the few places in America where Republicans have to act like moderate Democrats in order to get elected.

  4. Jeff Huggins says:

    Think Progress, Time Spent

    I find several things about this article interesting, aside from the main point it explicitly makes.

    First, (although I appreciate the information in the article), I think we — progressives or Democrats, and people deeply concerned about climate change — should begin to place much more focus on understanding the positions of our own leaders and would-be leaders IN CLEAR AND CONCRETE TERMS. For example, here the focus is placed on Gabriel Gomez, a Republican candidate for the Senate, and his position regarding climate change, including his specific position regarding Keystone XL. Well, do we know — in clear and concrete terms — how President Obama will rule on Keystone XL? And, importantly, do we know how Hillary Clinton would rule regarding Keystone XL if she were president today? Given the fact that she is already the presumed frontrunner, by many, to be the next Democratic nominee for president, shouldn’t we try to find out ASAP what her position is regarding climate change, and what sorts of decisions she would make, and (as a concrete example) how she would rule regarding Keystone XL if the decision were hers to make? The sooner we find out, the better.

    Some people might object, saying that it’s too early to worry about that. Really? Don’t we want to avoid getting into a situation in which the nomination is already decided, in effect, before we have a clear, credible, fact-based understanding of what sort of leader Hillary would be in relation to facing and addressing climate change? And, is it really too early to press Hillary with such questions? After all, she was in the White House long ago, when Al Gore was beginning to express deep concerns about climate change; she’s been around long enough to have developed an understanding and position; let’s find out what it is!

    Along the same lines, I find it interesting that ThinkProgress “spent three days following the Gomez campaign” and was, apparently, admirably persistent in peppering him with clear questions about climate change and Keystone XL. Bravo — I think — although could that time have been better spent trying to gain a concrete understanding of Hillary’s position?! In any case, maybe ThinkProgress has enough time and person-power to find out every candidate’s positions, but if so, we should AT LEAST find out Hillary’s, ASAP.

    May I ask, can ThinkProgress please spend some time “following the [Hillary Clinton] campaign” — in effect, it has already started — before that train is too far down the track to change trains if warranted? Can ThinkProgress persistently pose the vital concrete questions to Hillary, sooner rather than later? How would Hillary rule regarding Keystone XL if she were president today? Would she approve it or deny approval? Why? Can ThinkProgress PLEASE find out, or at least try hard to do so? CAP’s president has extensive experience working for and with Hillary — and (I assume) a good relationship with her — so it ought to be possible and not all that hard to ask Hillary to clarify her concrete stance on climate change, and to ask her the sorts of questions you are asking of others, in this case, Gabriel Gomez.

    Thanks and Be Well,


  5. prokaryotes says: Climate change is real, it’s caused largely by human activities, and it poses significant risks for our health. Some members of Congress disagree with this simple, scientifically proven fact. We need to work to curb climate change, and a big step is to raise our voices to change the conversation in Washington. Call these deniers out. Hold them accountable. Ask them if they will admit climate change is a problem.

  6. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Abbott’s plan, also. The lies are so utterly transparent, yet the MSM regurgitates them without qualm or hesitation. Bad, bad, people and worse policy and intentions are everywhere.

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The End Times are upon us. The ease, the absolute lack of qualms or the pangs of conscience in lying in not just an impudent fashion, but illogically, inanely and stupidly, and getting away with it thanks to MSM complicity in looking the other way (or actively joining in the fun)signal societies rotting from within, morally, intellectually and spiritually. And the rot sets in from the head, as our elected ‘leaders’ demonstrate with aplomb.

  8. BBHY says:

    I voted for Jill Stein. She was very specific about her positions on a wide variety of issues, environmental and otherwise.

    Obama said he supported “clean coal” as part of an “all of the above” energy policy. I authorized drilling in the Arctic Ocean. (I guess cleaning up oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico was too easy.)

    That was enough specifics for me, so I could not in good conscience give him my vote.

  9. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Agreed. But our culture has taken a dive since we embraced economic rationalism and corporatism with all the inequality, and the racism, sexism etc it provokes, as we have seen writ large. When the basic assumption of fight/flight (Bion) takes hold of a culture, all the energy goes into winnning rather than the task, ME

  10. Dirk McQuigley says:

    Gomez is a younger version of Willard Romney. He’s an elitist who has made a career out of “creative destruction” of our economy. Like Romney, he feels that the rules don’t apply to him.

    Regarding voting for Jill Stein, IMO it is a wasted vote that might swing the election to an ass-hat like Gomez. Remember Nadar in 2000.

  11. WrenchMonkey says:

    Jeff, certainly you must realise that these “politicians” are pathological liars. They will say whatever they believe is necessary to secure the vote of whomever they’re addressing at any given time.

    There doesn’t seem to be any “political” solution to our problems at this point. The system is irreparably compromised by the fact that all its elements are owned and controlled by the ruling class.

    I don’t think there’s any way we can “vote” ourselves out of this mess.

    “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”John F. Kennedy

  12. Superman1 says:

    Irrespective of Gomez’ own beliefs, do you really believe he would cast a climate change vote in opposition to his Party leadership that would support the majority Democrat position? Completely absurd!

  13. Superman1 says:

    And what is the correlation between campaign statements and actual votes cast?

  14. SecularAnimist says:

    One more day, one more pack of blatant lies from one more bought-and-paid-for stooge of the fossil fuel corporations.

  15. Jeff Huggins says:

    Calling Adam

    I would like us to hear from Adam Peck, who wrote this post.

    Adam, please refer to my earlier comment, titled ‘Think Progress, Time Spent’, presently numbered 4 on the list as it appears to me. Then, please consider these questions:

    Will you folks (ThinkProgress) begin finding out, with the same energy and persistence you spoke of in your post, what Hillary Clinton’s positions are with respect to climate change and concrete related matters, in particular Keystone XL?

    When will you start? Do you agree that it’s vitally important to find these things out asap, given the fact that Hillary is already running, in effect, for the next presidential nomination, and given the fact that many Democratic/progressive pundits are already speaking of her as if she is the clear front-runner and the most likely nominee? (Indeed, it is being reported that other potential Democratic candidates are waiting to see what Hillary will do before they decide to jump into the race. In other words, some folks who might otherwise make strong candidates are deferring to Hillary, supposedly.)

    It seems to me that even before, or even as, we try to understand the positions of the “other side” as clearly as possible, and try to pin them down to be as concrete and non-evasive as we can, we should also AND ESPECIALLY try to understand the positions of our own would-be leaders — those people we will either have to vote for, or not vote for, in upcoming primaries and general elections. Right? Do you agree? Do you also agree that it is odd, and unfortunate, that we don’t even really understand what Hillary Clinton would do regarding Keystone XL if it were her decision to make? Indeed, judging from the outward signs — as opposed to the vague rhetorical flourishes — one would have to guess that indications are that she would approve Keystone XL if it were up to her. So, we (progressives and Democrats and ThinkProgress) find ourselves in the position of being deeply critical of candidates on the other side, for being supportive of Keystone XL, when (as far as we can tell) our own leaders and would-be leaders are also supportive of Keystone XL, or — perhaps even worse — are so political and “chicken” that they won’t tell us one way or another what they really think or will really do. I find that unacceptable, and I urge ThinkProgress and Climate Progress to help us (progressives, Democrats, readers of CP, etc.) get the straight and clear scoop from these folks ASAP, and I mean ASAP.

    It would be helpful if you (Adam) would address the questions I’ve raised here, for you.

    Thanks in advance,


  16. Partygnome says:

    You keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  17. Michelle M says:

    People need to know what happened in Canada. The two-tongued two-faced politicians in both parties can only lie to the people so long, and the MSM cannot hide the truth forever.