The New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club and the New Jersey Environmental Federation added their voices to a number of groups’ criticism of state Senate candidate Seema Singh’s campaign for comparing her opponent, Assemblyman Bill Baroni, to President Bush.
Singh had compared Baroni to Bush on a number of issues, including voting against banning the gasoline additive MTBE, an oxygenate intended to improve air quality but which can contaminate water supplies.
But the groups said that Baroni’s vote on the additive was in line with their stance on the issue. The legislature, they said, should have tried to ban oxygenates all together, not just MTBE. Banning only MTBE would force ethanol, which has a host of its own environmental problems, to be mandated as the only oxygenate alternative.
“Knowledgeable sources know this vote was about pork not the environment. Ethanol’s bad for the environment, produces smog, and takes 8 times more energy to produce it than you get from it,” said Sierra Club New Jersey Chapter Director Jeff Tittel.
Singh responded that Baroni lobbied for the Lyondell Chemical Company on issues relating to MBTE and accepted campaign contributions from oil giant Conoco Phillips shortly before the vote.
“Not only should he not have supported the legislation but he should have admitted publicly to the conflict of interest from his lobbying days,” said Singh.
The New Jersey Environmental Federation has endorsed Bill Baroni for state Senate, while the Sierra Club has not endorsed either candidate.