The New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club endorsed Christopher Daggett, an independent who has a deep resume as an environmental agency official under Republican administrations, for governor today.
It was the first time that the group has endorsed a candidate for governor who was not affiliated with one of the two major political parties.
The Sierra Club justified its decision by recounting Daggett’s accomplishments as a regional EPA administrator and DEP commissioner in the 1980s. As EPA administrator, they said, he ended ocean sludge dumping off Sandy Hook, brokered a large polluter-funded Superfund cleanup and fought against projects that were supported by his political superiors. As DEP commissioner, he implemented the Wetlands Law and started the Skylands Task Force, denied a permit for a sewage treatment plant in Chatham to protect the Great Swamp from “harmful development” and “worked to stop medical waste, garbage and other debris that was polluting the ocean and washing up on our shores.”
“By endorsing Chris Daggett for governor, the Sierra Club not only made the principled choice but the right choice,” said Sierra Club New Jersey Director Jeff Tittel. “Chris Daggett has shown leadership and a real commitment to protecting our environment. He has demonstrated his willingness to stand up to special interests and politicians to do what’s right for the environment. It’s very rare when you have the opportunity to endorse someone of such principle and integrity with a broad background in environmental issues.”
Daggett served as regional EPA administrator during the Reagan Administration, from 1984 to 1988. In 1988 he was tapped by then-Gov. Thomas Kean to head the state Department of Environmental Protection – a position he held until the end of 1989.
The group’s political chair, Rich Isaac, said that those who think an independent candidate can not win in November should “think again.”
“The Club will bring all its resources to bear on this race, and do whatever we can to help Chris Daggett become the next governor of New Jersey,” he said.
Daggett polled at 7% in a three-way match with Gov. Jon Corzine and Repubilcan gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie in an August 11 Quinnipiac University poll.