Environmental Defense Fund will oppose Trump's candidacy as it aims to spend $20M before election


The Environmental Defense Fund will oppose Donald Trump’s bid to return to the White House, calling the former president’s positions on climate policy even worse than they were four years ago.

This is just the second time the group has waded into a presidential election, a source familiar with the decision noted, adding that it will put $20 million behind a campaign push to support candidates this fall who support its mission to tackle the climate crisis.

“Make no mistake about the stakes. Mr. Trump is worse on our core issues today than he was four years ago,” David Kieve, president of EDF Action, the group’s advocacy partner, said in a statement released Wednesday and shared in advance with NBC News. “Mr. Trump’s antipathy to electric cars and renewable energy has deepened, and he’s identified significantly expanding drilling for oil as one of his top day-one priorities, often coming even before his border wall.”

Trump frequently says in his campaign speeches that if he is elected he will “drill, baby, drill,” referring to oil production. He also criticizes electric vehicles and talks about how he pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, a move President Joe Biden reversed.

In 2020, EDF’s board broke with the group’s practice of not endorsing or opposing presidential candidates when it announced it was against Trump. In doing so, EDF touted previous bipartisan efforts to promote environmental policy while noting that Trump “is not a conservative in the mold of recent Republican presidents, with whom we had been able to advance important conservation policy.”

Kieve’s statement about the 2024 race does not explicitly endorse Biden, though a source familiar with the board’s process said it opens the door to the group’s working to re-elect him, adding that there will essentially be no difference between opposing Trump and supporting Biden.

The statement Wednesday cites the Biden administration’s climate work.

“All the progress we have made in the last four years is at risk. We have made historic investments in combatting the climate crisis, supercharging the clean energy transition, and addressing environmental injustice,” Kieve said. “We have gotten more done on climate than in any similar period in American history, and the contrast with Mr. Trump’s tenure in office could not be more dramatic.”

The Biden campaign praised the group’s decision.

“EDF Action played a critical role in helping pass President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act — the most ambitious climate legislation the world has ever seen,” said campaign co-chair Jen O’Malley Dillon in a statement. “As Donald Trump makes it his mission to roll back efforts to combat the climate crisis, EDF’s leadership, efforts and resources will be essential to defeating Trump and his destructive agenda once again.”

A number of environmental groups have already endorsed Biden, including the political arms of the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and NextGen America.

The Biden administration has made countering climate change a centerpiece of major pieces of legislation that were signed into law, specifically the clean energy and climate provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. Biden has regularly used his campaign speeches to highlight his climate agenda and accomplishments.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com



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