A win for environmental groups in state attorney general races


Editor’s note: This is the fourth story in a series on environmental issues in the 2022 election

By Jake Christie and Abigail Comar

Attorney general candidates backed by environmental groups claimed the majority of seats in Great Lakes state elections.

Despite a projected red-wave, Democrats held their seats for attorney general in Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Image: Asher Freedman

Ohio is the only state in the region where a Republican won the attorney general election.

Attorney generals play an important role in litigation over environmental policy and regulations, climate and enforcement of state environmental laws.

The attorney general wins are important for environmental litigation moving forward, according to the League of Conservation Voters.

In Michigan, for example, incumbent Dana Nessel has filed lawsuits against Enbridge Energy to shut down the Line 5 pipeline which carries oil under the Straits of Mackinac.

Her office has also sued companies responsible for alleged PFAs contamination.

Many of the winning candidates were endorsed by environmental advocacy groups.

For example, Nessel and Keith Ellison in Minnesota were both endorsed by Clean Water Action.

Josh Kaul, who won Wisconsin’s attorney general race, was endorsed by Wisconsin Conservation Voters.

The Sierra Club endorsed Nessel, Ellison, Kwame Raoul in Illinois and Letitia James in New York.

The only candidate the Sierra Club endorsed in the Great Lakes region who did not win is Jeffrey Crossman, who lost to Republican Dave Yost in Ohio.

Ericka Copeland, the director of Sierra Club Ohio, said the group felt confident in its endorsement of Crossman.

“Our political committee was very impressed with Crossman’s commitment to pursuing environmental justice,” Copeland said. “Sierra stands strong behind its political endorsements and we would have rather had a different outcome of the race.”

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