60-Second Earth

Who Were the Greenest Presidents?

A survey of environmental groups finds that Teddy Roosevelt was the president with the highest environmental cred, followed by Richard Nixon. David Biello reports

Who was the greenest President? A recent survey of green groups aimed to find out which presidents had the most environmentally friendly policies.

The top two spots, naturally, went to Republicans: Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon. Roosevelt dominated the survey for his championing of the nascent idea of conservation more than a century ago. Nixon garnered support for his passage of landmark legislation like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts as well as the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Rounding out the top three was Jimmy Carter, who gained points for actions like putting solar panels on the White House.

Who came in fourth? Barack Obama, thanks to often overlooked steps like raising car fuel efficiency standards and making alternative energy projects a big part of the federal stimulus package.

Of course, the modern Republican party, including candidate Mitt Romney, has turned against conservation. If Romney likes coal, then he must love air pollution and global warming. The original Republican president, Lincoln, may have created the first national park, but his heirs today are more interested in opening such public lands for fossil fuel exploitation.

—David Biello

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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