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GROUPS CRITICIZE MCCAIN ON HIS ENVIRONMENT RECORD

Some conservation groups are challenging Republican presidential contender John McCain's record on the environment, even as McCain says his party should tackle the environmental issues it has long neglected.

"McCain has been a leader on certain Arizona issues, but that hasn't translated to the national level," said Lisa Wade, spokeswoman for the League of Conservation Voters.

In the last two years, McCain scored 29 percent and 0 percent, respectively, on the league's National Environmental Score Card.

McCain has come under fire for trying to eliminate tax credits to ethanol and methanol producers. The tax credit program was designed two decades ago to promote a clean, homegrown alternative to imported oil.

But during a recent trip to New Hampshire, McCain emphasized his environmental accomplishments. He helped place 3.5 million acres of Arizona land into "pristine wilderness status," reduce the number of noisy flights over the Grand Canyon and regulate water flow from dams to protect the national treasure.

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