Both stories basically boil down to sweetheart deals supported by McCain that may have put the interests of developers he knew over the best interests of the public. Now, land swaps in and of themselves are common, often routine, and can in fact be a win-win for everyone when the public gets a fair price for the land it's exchanging. It’s unclear with this latest deal whether that was the case.
But more importantly, as the Washington Post put it this morning, "As McCain positions himself as a champion of environmental causes, observers of the Yavapai Ranch swap say it shows a paradox in the senator's positions. At times, he has fought to protect the delicate desert ecosystem. But when wildlife concerns have thwarted development, his loyalties have shifted."
As McCain outlines his overall environmental policies over the coming days, we'll be watching closely to see whether and how this paradox is revealed on other issues as well. We're urging Senator McCain to only support land swaps that benefit conservation -- not just developers.
And while Senator McCain deserves credit for his work on early global warming legislation in the Senate and for bringing attention to the need for urgent action, his efforts to date have been driven by yesterday's solutions and they won't solve tomorrow's problems. The science on global warming has changed dramatically over the last five years and the bill Senator McCain has previously championed is outdated and fails to provide the big changes Americans are demanding. Like President Bush, McCain's policies on global warming offer more of the same, by putting the interests of polluters over the people and failing to invest in building a clean energy economy that will create new jobs and opportunities at a time when an economic boost is sorely needed. Americans want real change -- investment in clean, renewable energy instead of Big Oil, Nuclear power and other polluting industries.
We need more windmills not windfalls.