Until he took office as New York governor in January 2007 for a little over a year, Eliot Laurence Spitzer’s pet peeves were environment’s worst enemies.
The 48-year-old politician portrayed himself as Mr. Clean. He was the stalwart defender of pure capitalism, transparent business practice and environmental protection – good enough to trash the Environmental Protection Agency not once, but thrice.
But he had skeletons in his closet as well. The one-time New York governor has an ugly secret—he really, really adores prostitutes. Mr. Clean was also one great lover of Mother Earth – and not only of exotic, high-priced call girls.
Last June, he joined a coalition of 15 other state governments who went after the environmental agency multiple times. Their goal: to stop electric companies from producing 48 tons of mercury that poison waterways and fish, as well as sicken as many as 600,000 children each year.
He signed in August, a legislation designed to increase consumer awareness about greenhouse gas emissions. The law required car manufacturers to affix a “global warming index” sticker to new cars and passenger trucks beginning in the 2010 model year, detailing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. New York is the second state to pass such innovative environmental legislation.
Global warming was at the top of the eco-friendly Spitzer’s agenda. He summoned every level of government, business and consumer to play a role in reducing emissions. The requirement takes effect beginning with 2010 models, and applies to passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks with a gross weight of 8,500 pounds or less. His sticker includes an index that compares the emissions of global warming gases from the vehicle with the average projected emissions from all vehicles of the same model year, and identifies the vehicle model within its class with the lowest emissions of that model year. The index would be based on emissions of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to warming temperatures worldwide, in addition to methane, nitrous oxide, hydro-fluorocarbons, per-fluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.
Much earlier, governor Spitzer (of Austrian descent like California’s Gov. Schwarzenegger) shared his “15 by 15” plan to reduce electricity use by 15 percent from forecast levels by the year 2015 through new energy efficiency programs intended to reduce energy bills, and greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollution. Brilliant! Harvard made a genius out of Spitzer.
With his love-hate relationship with the EPA, as the state’s attorney general in 2000, he however backed up the EPA’s proposal to remove PCB hot spots from the upper Hudson River. Spitzer’s deal in protecting the health of future generations of New Yorkers and restoring the vitality of the river and its ecosystem gained wide public approval. “An entire generation of New Yorkers has never known a Hudson River free from PCB contamination. PCBs suspended in the river’s water and deposited in its sediment pose a health risk that has denied us full use of the river for too long. Beyond their negative impact on humans, PCBs also harm animals living in and along the Hudson River,” he said, in his address through which he beefed up support for the EPA administrator Carol Browner. Spitzer called on New Yorkers to support the EPA in its effort to restore the river’s health.
In the same year, Spitzer was behind forcing Virginia Electric Power Company to cut by about 70 percent production of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, infamous toxins that float hundreds of miles north and cause acid rain. Spitzer won this case and made the facility pay hefty fines to the tune of $1.2 billion, said Outside’s Tim Neville.
Neville added Spitzer busted in 2003 Dow AgroSciences for claiming its pesticide line Dursban was safe despite repeated warnings from the EPA (again) that an ingredient called Chlorpyrifos caused brain defects in children. He sued Dow who was penalized for $2 million in fine.
Throughout his career, environmental polluters have been Spitzer’s favorite targets. They’re rarely punished by the market, and under President Bush, are rarely punished by regulators, which means that society at large pays the price for pollution, said NNDB which added Spitzer has demanded that the EPA turn over files of 50 power plants it had investigated, but never prosecuted. He wanted to prosecute the power plants for violations of the Clean Air Act if found guilty. Not surprisingly, there are few fans of Spitzer in leadership positions at the EPA, noted NNDB online.
It’s a pity that such a man with much passion for this planet had much greater desire (and spent $80,000) seeking pleasure from tramps, the likes of his sex kitten Kristen.