Skip to main content

Why Environmentalists Aren’t Sold on Tim Kaine

The Virginia senator has a pretty good record on climate, but there’s a reason the fossil fuel industry still likes him.

Sen. Tim Kaine campaigns with Hillary Clinton in his home state of Virginia. Kaine is one of the finalists to be Clinton's running mate.Andrew Harnik/AP


This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, one of Hillary Clinton’s potential picks for vice president, appears to have an uncanny ability to appease special interests across party divides.

Kaine is no Elizabeth Warren on the environment, but he’s no Jim Webb either, getting good reviews from surprising quarters. As Politico reports, he opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, protected 400,000 acres of land from development as governor of Virginia, supports the Clean Power Plan, and has worked to make coastal communities prepare for climate change and sea-level rise. The League of Conservation Voters has given him a lifetime score of 91 percent.

Kaine, however, has also supported offshore drilling in the Atlantic—contradicting Clinton’s position—and supported a bill to fast-track the construction of natural gas terminals. Even fossil fuel interests have taken a liking to him. “We’re encouraged by the reasonable approach he’s taken on oil and natural gas, that he hasn’t been swayed by politics and ideology,” Miles Morin, executive director of the Virginia Petroleum Council, told Politico.

Of course, being on good terms with the fossil fuel industry is a cause for concern among some greens. “If Kaine is the pick, Hillary will need to stake out much clearer positions on drilling, fracking, and new fossil fuel infrastructure,” said 350.org policy director Jason Kowalski. R.L. Miller, Climate Hawks Vote co-founder and a chair of California Democrats’ environmental caucus, responded to Kaine’s record with a resounding, “meh,” citing his mixed record on fossil fuels as why he’s a bad pick to lure progressive Democrats to the polls.

Clinton is expected to announce her choice this week.

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.

We Noticed You Have An Ad Blocker On.

Can you pitch in a few bucks to help fund Mother Jones' investigative journalism? We're a nonprofit (so it's tax-deductible), and reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget.

We noticed you have an ad blocker on. Can you pitch in a few bucks to help fund Mother Jones' investigative journalism?