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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Terminating Pollution

Air Date: Week of

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For years, Arnold Schwarzengger has had a very public affair with his vehicle of choice, the gas-guzzling hummer. Now he’s taking the first step in his new environmental agenda, by promising to wean his hummer off gasoline. Living on Earth’s Ingrid Lobet reports.


CURWOOD: It’s a challenge to be the environmental candidate when for years you’ve championed wheels that guzzle gas. But, Arnold Schwarzenegger claims he is the environmental choice in the California governor’s race, at least for Republicans. To prove it, he’s unveiled an environmental agenda that starts with weaning his famous Hummer off gasoline. And he says that’s just the beginning. Living on Earth’s Ingrid Lobet reports.


SCHWARZENEGGER: So, let me tell you about my plan for our environment.

LOBET: Arnold Schwarzenegger chose the beachside town of Carpinteria on a Sunday to roll out his environmental plan. But protesters managed to find the event and nearly drowned him out with slogans like “Hummers Aren’t Green” as he described the need for more reliance on solar and hydrogen power.

SCHWARZENEGGER (PROTESTORS YELLING BEHIND HIM): As governor, I will create a network of hydrogen highways throughout California with a clean hydrogen fuel stations every twenty miles to help clean our air.

LOBET: Schwarzenegger says Detroit needs this kind of push to produce more fuel cell vehicles. Then, several times, he repeated his concern about California’s air quality.


SCHWARZENEGGER: The smog has gotten worse in the last few years. We must reverse this to protect the health of our people. We must replace the dirtiest, and oldest trucks and buses with clean alternative fuel vehicles.

LOBET: He promised to follow through on stream and beach water cleanup measures the Bush administration opposes.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I will also take action to clean up our drinking water and our ocean. That means treating sewage, attacking storm water runoff and preventing pollution at the source.


LOBET: Though it may come as a surprise to Americans who know him through his action films, Schwarzenegger’s environmental plan is thorough enough that in some other parts of the country it might win him environmental endorsements. That is, if he could explain his longtime, and very public affair, with the fuel-hungry Hummer. It was Schwarzenegger himself who helped persuade General Motors eleven years ago to produce the military Humvee as a civilian vehicle. Now, the candidate seeks to morph that potential liability into an indication of his initiative, as mechanics convert his Hummer to alternative fuel.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I want to show them my car when it is done and inspire Detroit, let them know this is what you can do. I guarantee you that will send the message very loud and clear and they will start building Hummers that will have hydrogen fuel.

LOBET: Asked why he didn’t do this earlier, Schwarzenegger said he’d only recently learned it was possible.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Let me tell you something. The things that I have learned in the last months since I am running for office are spectacular.

LOBET: Schwarzenegger does not claim to understand the environmental details. Instead, he’s relying on expert counsel, including high profile environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. – who’s also his wife’s cousin – and a team of less famous but longtime environmental Republicans.

For Living on Earth, I’m Ingrid Lobet



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