Among environmentalists, Michael Dukakis rates a B and an endorsement. George Bush gets a D-plus and some thanks for bringing environmental issues onto the campaign stage. It is ironic, even humorous, says Peter Shelley of the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), that candidate Bush would try to tar Dukakis's record by cruising Boston harbor.
Bush was vice-president to ``the single greatest offender in the eyes of the environmental community,'' says James Maddy, executive director of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). One of Bush's jobs was ``getting the EPA off the backs of the biggest polluters.''
Back in February, the LCV ranked each presidential candidate on environmental issues based on a questionnaire, interviews, and an extensive review of statements and actions. The League met late last week to vote on a candidate to endorse. According to an authoritative source, ``it was not a close vote.'' They chose Dukakis. The official announcement will come at the governor's convenience.
Environmentalists do not easily forgive Mr. Dukakis for Boston Harbor, calling it his ``major blunder.'' Nor do they see him as a dyed-in-the-wool environmentalist otherwise.
``He doesn't wake up in the morning and say, `What can I do for the environment today?''' says Mr. Maddy. But Dukakis has made some ``outstanding appointments,'' and his rhetoric is well supported by his actions, Maddy says.
The Sierra Club, in a report comparing the candidates, singled out Dukakis's record on energy. The report cites strong opposition to oil exploration on the Georges Bank fishing grounds and to the Seabrook nuclear power plant. It notes Massachusetts' leadership in energy efficiency programs, and the fact that Dukakis has repeatedly sued the Reagan administration for action on acid rain. On the minus side: spotty implementation of some programs.