America Votes Pombo Out, Greener Congress In

America's voters made it clear that they want change and new leadership that will move our nation in a dramatically different direction. A big part of that demand for change is about enacting smart energy solutions that will decrease our dependence on oil, clean up our environment, curb global warming, and create jobs. And candidates at all levels heard the people. Never before have so many candidates -- of both parties -- run on energy issues or shown such commitment to the development of new energy sources, policies, and practices.

Voters yesterday elected new local, state, and national leaders who are ready to take us forward.  America elected a greener U.S. House, a greener U.S. Senate, several greener Governors, and gave a green light to move in the direction of a new energy future. Green candidates were elected at every level of government and in every region in the country. With so many wonderful victories for the environment, it's hard to recognize them all. In the House, new greener Members of Congress were elected in every region of the country. We have gained at least 20 new seats where an anti-environment incumbent was replaced by a green challenger.

Our biggest victory obviously was the defeat of Richard Pombo in California. Sierra Club volunteers, myself included, were working right up to the last minute to turn out the vote for Jerry McNerney. Our ability to defeat an extreme anti-environmental incumbent, when no one else in the country believed the race to be in play, shows the power of these issues with voters and the power of the environmental movement in holding elected officials accountable. The Sacramento Bee reported yesterday  that even the ousted candidate recognized this fact: "Pombo ... has contended that whatever difficulties his reelection drive encountered had little to do with Iraq or Abramoff, and more to do with concerted efforts of environmental groups and other critics who targeted his race."   Looking at the election results, I can say unequivocally that the environment won a resounding victory.