Two Republicans Lead List of Greenest Presidents
How does a Republican wind up being voted the “greenest” president in U.S. history? By preserving more of the country’s natural treasures than any other president.
That was one of the significant achievements of the nation’s 26th president, Republican Teddy Roosevelt, who finished first in Corporate Knights’ survey asking environmentalists to name the greenest U.S. president in history. Corporate Knights, which bills itself as “The Magazine of Clean Capitalism,” polled the leaders of twelve environmental organizations to rank their three top presidents and then assigned three points for a first place vote, two for a second and one for a third.
By the time he left office in 1908, Roosevelt had set aside 230 million acres, or 10% of the entire United States, for preservation. He established 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reservations, 18 national monuments and five national parks.
Given his record and love for the outdoors, it wasn’t surprising to see Roosevelt finish first in the survey. What was surprising was the runner-up: another Republican—Richard Nixon.
What Nixon lacked in affinity for nature, he made up for in practical deal-making that put him in a position to compromise with Democrats, who controlled both houses of Congress during the president’s two (technically, one and a half) terms.
Under his watch, the government created the Environmental Protection Agency and adopted numerous landmark pieces of legislation, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act, and the Endangered Species Act. He also signed an extension of the Clean Air Act.
In the survey, Teddy Roosevelt gained 28 points (including eight of twelve first place votes), Richard Nixon 15, Jimmy Carter 13 and Barack Obama 7.
To Learn More:
Greenest POTUS (by David Roberts, Corporate Knights)
Ranking (Corporate Knights)
America’s Greenest Presidents: Exploring an Environmental Legacy (Corporate Knights)
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