Election

11th District GOP candidates divided on humans’ climate impact

None of the candidates called climate change a hoax as some Republicans have done in other races

Top from left, Mark Carroll, Jerry Evans, Susan Hathaway Altman, and bottom from left, Andrea Heeg, Catalina Lauf and Cassandra Tanner Miller are GOP candidates for the Illinois 11th District in the June 28 primary election.

Three Republican candidates in Illinois’ 11th Congressional District believe the global climate is changing and that humanity contributes to the problem, but two others expressed doubts.

None, however, called climate change a hoax – as some GOP candidates for other congressional and Senate seats have done.

Six Republicans are running in the 11th District: Mark Carroll of North Aurora, Jerry Evans of Warrenville, Susan Hathaway-Altman of the Geneva area, Andrea Heeg of the Geneva area, Catalina Lauf of Woodstock and Cassandra Tanner Miller of Elgin.

The winner of the June 28 primary will face Democratic incumbent Bill Foster of Naperville in the Nov. 8 general election.

The Republican candidates were asked their opinions on climate change in a Daily Herald questionnaire. Some also participated in a group interview.

Heeg refused to return a candidate questionnaire or be interviewed.

Lauf and Tanner Miller didn’t participate in the interview.

Mentioning scientific studies on the subject, Hathaway-Altman said “of course” man-made climate change is real. The burning of certain fossil fuels especially is detrimental, she said.

Hathaway-Altman credited the Environmental Protection Agency for helping to dramatically reduce that type of pollution in the U.S. by regulating steel mills, energy plants and other industrial sources. Still, Hathaway-Altman criticized President Joe Biden’s decision to stop construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada into the U.S., and she opposes the Green New Deal proposals promoted by some Democratic lawmakers and activists.

“I believe in reasonable efforts toward sustainability,” she said.

Hathaway-Altman also questioned why China isn’t held to the same environmental standards as the U.S.

Evans thinks mankind plays a role in climate change, too, and like Hathaway-Altman he said scientific studies show it’s happening. Addressing climate change “should be a priority,” he said. Evans also opposes the Green New Deal initiatives. Human ingenuity and the free market can solve climate issues, he said, not government intervention.

“Despite what many so-called environmentalists will tell you, socialism is not the answer,” he said. “From carbon storage to being able to store power generated by wind and solar, climate change solutions depend on free market innovation.”

Tanner Miller acknowledged climate change is real but said it’s the result of “many factors.”

Americans need to set the global standard “for being clean, efficient and innovative in using the earth’s natural resources to provide energy,” she said. The continued importation of energy resources isn’t the solution, Tanner Miller said.

Carroll accepted that the environment is changing but said he didn’t know if mankind is the cause.

While voicing support for environmental conservation, Carroll criticized Democrats for pushing “a radical green agenda” and not caring about the economic impact on citizens.

“The actions of the Biden administration with regard to its green energy agenda [have] caused soaring inflation on grocery store shelves and at the gas pump,” he said.

Carroll supports the use of nuclear energy and asked why the U.S. should be held to stricter greenhouse gas restrictions than other nations. Additionally, he said the Bible directs people to protect wildlife.

Lauf questioned whether mankind has affected the global climate, too.

“I’d like to see more evidence and data to see human’s role in causing ‘climate change’ before betting our entire economy on ridiculous policies like the Green New Deal,” she wrote in her questionnaire. Like Carroll, Lauf said far-left environmental policies hurt American families.

“There has to be a way to address the complexity of the climate debate that doesn’t put the burden on American families or expand government overreach,” Lauf said.

Redrawn for the 2022 election, the 11th District encompasses parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, DeKalb and Boone counties.