Former New Jersey Senator Bradley said he would work to cut benefits to mining companies that drill on public lands, to end subsidies for ranchers who graze their livestock on public lands, and to cut the deductions awarded to oil and gas companies for exploration and development costs.

Bradley’s proposal contrasts with recent congressional proposals aimed at increasing subsidies for large oil companies. In 1999, Congress proposed new tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, for the timber industry, and nuclear power. Government subsidies to environmentally damaging industrial practices amounted to more than $50 billion, according to Friends of the Earth’s annual Green Scissors report.

“Bill Bradley wants the preferential tax treatment for massive polluters like oil drillers and chemical companies to stop,” said Dr. Brent Blackwelder, president of Friends of the Earth. “Taking up the notion that ‘The Polluter Pays’ proves once again that Bill Bradley is a forward-thinking leader who is ready to take on tough problems by proposing sound solutions.”

In September last year, the Friends of the Earth Political Action Committee (FoE PAC) endorsed Bradley as the Democratic Presidential candidate, signalling the Committee’s disenchantment with Vice President Gore’s environmental performance and recognition of Bradley’s commitment to environmental protection.

FoE PAC praised Bradley for supporting stronger clean water programmes, introducing a reform bill on wasteful western water development and introducing a measure reducing subsidies for timber cutting. “Bill Bradley has proven himself an effective legislator, not afraid to take on tough issues and savvy enough to create coalitions to get results,” said Blackwelder at the time of FoE’s endorsement.

The FoE PAC believes Vice President Gore has weakened ozone layer protections and failed to protect forests. Comparing the voting records of Bradley and Gore when they served together in the Senate, the FoE PAC found that Bradley better served the environment and outstripped Gore in environmental legislative achievements( see related story). Recent polls have shown that Bradley’s candidacy is a distinct threat to Gore’s bid to win the presidential candidacy race.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie