Is Gov. Douglas Green or Greenwashed? | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Is Gov. Douglas Green or Greenwashed?


Published July 3, 2009 at 12:11 p.m.

A national green directory has named Gov. Jim Douglas one of the top 10 "greenest" governors, an honor some in Vermont claim verges on "greenwashing."

Greenopia recently ranked all 50 governors. Topping thelist is Gov. Bill Ritter of Colorado, followed closely by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California.

The entire ranking results are available at 50 Greenest Governors.

Douglas is ranked eighth, just ahead of Govs. Jon Corzine of New Jersey and Jodi Rell of Connecticut.

“We looked at all 50 governors in the U.S. and compared their policies,transparency, and interest group ratings and ranked them. It was amonumental task," says Doug Mazeffa, Greenopia's director of research."People want to know which governors are the eco-leaders or laggards,and especially identify those making repeated eco-gaffes.”

However, Greenopia notes in its profile of Douglas that "we were unable to find any scores from environmental interest groups."

I guess a phone call to any one of the state's handful of environmental groups was not in the budget.

Comments posted to both Douglas' individual profile and the main article are less than flattering. Several readers question the group's methodology — and sanity — citing Douglas' opposition to renewable energy development, permission of ATVs on state land, and lack of progress on cleaning up Lake Champlain as examples of his environmentally unfriendly policies.

Greenopia recognized Douglas for undertaking “severalprograms to make Vermont greener. These include the Clean and ClearWater Action Plan, Biofuel initiatives, and programs aimed at makingthe state government greener. Vermont also has tax incentives in placeto help consumers and businesses go green."

The site also says, "Vermont has always been on the forefront of environmentallegislation and its governor, Jim Douglas, is no exception."

While it may make his detractors green with envy, Douglas is happy to accept the honor.

“As the greenest state in the country, Vermont is leading the nationwhen it comes to setting environmental standards. I believe it isimportant that we do all we can to keep the Green Mountains green," says Douglas in a statement. “As governor, I will continue to do all I can to advance our efforts toclean up impaired waterways, reduce our carbon footprint with toughautomobile emissions standards and encourage green jobs in our state."