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The G.O.P. candidates on energy (and environment)

Dan Farber, professor of law | August 15, 2011

I’ve taken this information from the websites of some of the Republican contenders.  What they say about their policies and records may not be exactly objective, but it’s interesting to see how they’d like to be perceived on environment and energy.  Here are four takeaway points:

  1. Republican primary voters apparently don’t care very much about environment or energy issues — some candidates don’t even bother to address these issues on their website.
  2. Environment is seen as important only in the context of energy, which is where environmental issues get mentioned if they get mentioned at all.
  3. Republican voters want less environmental regulation (surprise!).
  4. But no one wants to say they’re in favor of pollution or trashing Nature (even if they are.)

Rick Perry:

Under Gov. Perry, Texas is moving aggressively to create a diverse portfolio of energy sources, including renewable, natural gas, coal and nuclear power to meet the needs of our growing population in an eco-sensitive manner. Texas is a national leader in reducing emissions and known pollutants and advancing renewable energy sources. Texas has done so while balancing the need for environmental improvements with fostering economic growth, new investment and job creation.

Michele Bachmann:

As President, I will work to lift the restraints that keep America from energy security. I will fight to increase access to the billions of barrels of oil and trillions of feet of natural gas on the Outer Continental Shelf and reverse the Administration’s “permatorium” in the Gulf of Mexico. I will stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s cap-and-trade rules in their tracks, and end this “Job Killing Agency’s” threats against our rapidly growing domestic shale gas industry and the energy and manufacturing bonanza it is offering.

Mitt Romney’s issues page doesn’t include anything about energy or environment.
Neither does Pawlenty’s. Nor Huntsman’s, for that matter.
Newt Gingrich has a “solutions” page rather than an “issues” page, which is sort of a cool variation.  His best-known “solution” is to abolish EPA:

Replace the Environmental Protection Agency, which has become a job-killing regulatory engine of higher energy prices, with an Environmental Solutions Agency that would use incentives and work cooperatively with local government and industry to achieve better environmental outcomes while considering the impact of federal environmental policies on job creation and the cost of energy.

And finally, Herman Cain:

America is a land blessed with abundant natural resources and the capability of the people to obtain them. From the oil-rich states of Louisiana and Alaska to the mighty dams along rivers across the states, the options for many forms of energy are real and plenty. Still, liberals continue to perpetuate the misunderstanding that the high energy consumption of a thriving nation and conservation of our precious planet are at odds with one another.

Cross-posted from the environmental law and policy blog Legal Planet.

Comments to “The G.O.P. candidates on energy (and environment)

  1. Awesome strawman arguments, everyone. I’m sure conservatives are horrified that you have exposed their desire to absolutely destroy the environment.

    Free market folks simply want supply to meet demand for the environment. They do not deny that the environment would be in worse shape at first until it deteroriates to the point that society’s demand for improved environmental conditions increase.

    We’re also not in favor of abolishing the legal remedies available to those harmed by environmental conditions. Our point is that we don’t need government regulating what can be better regulated by consumers and individuals protecting their property rights and rights to their own health and safety.

    Ultimately, your argument is simply that government should enforce a better environmental condition than society actually demands. Hello, big government.

    “But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?” – Animal Farm

  2. Prof. Farber, you have just proven beyond all doubt that America’s education system is a total disaster if these are the best leaders that we can produce, and the consequences shall most certainly be a totally unacceptable quality of life for our newest and all future generations.

    In fact, at this point all of our institutional leaders have failed to protect and preserve the future for humanity. All we have been getting for far too many decades of scientific papers that conclude “subject to further research” but never any results to make the right things happen with the required sense of urgency.

    As Royal Society president Martin Rees said recently “the human race is likely to become extinct at its own hand within the next 100 years as it exhausts resources through a population explosion and unbridled consumption.” He also questioned whether we are smart enough to use what we’ve learned to save ourselves.

    The answer to his question is documented in a grave conclusions by CALIFORNIA magazine editors in their Sept/Oct 2006 Global Warning issue:

    Global Warming: Can We Adapt in Time?

    Our legacy to future generations is our calamitous failure to protect and preserve an acceptable quality of life for the human race.

  3. Unfortunately many environmentalist are stuck on just global warming. Health issues concerning pathogens are not controversial when it comes to science.
    Water and air are both contaminated by shipping. Ships burn cheaply refined fuel which means more deadly emissions and ballast water includes invasive’s such as human bacteria and virus.
    Eliminating China’s need to import oil from South America with a dirty water trail and carbon footprint, using it in manufacturing while hiding emissions, before shipping foreign goods into America with another trail of pollution, would help slow global warming.
    Whether you believe in global warming or not, the moral issue is pollution with pathogenic material. Pathogenic materials cause disease and KILLS PEOPLE, both in water and air. Allowing foreign ships bringing foreign made goods into America, to discharge pathogenic material in both ballast water and air emissions is putting American health at risk and steals American jobs so foreign shipping can save money. The Federal government is not capable of addressing the problem because our leaders have created an America dependent on a communist country and their control of the global economy for both consumer goods and to finance of entitlements. This provides service jobs in the big box stores of foreign made goods, that have become our largest employers. We need a president who cares more about the future of our children’s health and providing quality jobs to create the American dream, rather than the building of a global economy to quickly increase job numbers with low paying service jobs. Strong environmental protection requiring mandatory environmental technology installation for foreign ships in American waters would keep Americans safe and help create cost competitive manufacturing jobs

  4. Wow, makes me pine for the likes of Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, and Gerald Ford. The current crop of neanderthals would take us back to the Dark Ages. Incredible to think that these are the standar-bearers for a party to which Theordore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln once belonged. Now it’s been utterly and totally hijacked by right-wing religious zealots, corporate interests, laizze-faire capitalism ideologues, and single-minided tea baggers.

    Before Reagan’s “Bigger is Better” simplemindedness and open hostility to environmentalists, a fair number of moderate Republicans were indeed environmentalists. And until the threatened vested interests began to attack climate change science with a vengeance and big bucks, even large numbers of Republican rank and file, if not a majority, believed in anthropogenic climate change. Now they’re just Ditto-heads following the mantra of uber-scientist and loudmouth Rush Limbaugh.

  5. Yes of course, we all miss those wonderfully polluted skys, they made such colorful sunsets. In 1968, I visited California for the first time and I remember driving along the LA coast for miles, the air was so blue it almost blocked the sun, and there were oil rigs every few miles. I didn’t even know you could see the mountains from the coast, until years later.
    Perhaps they are to young to remember how bad it was, but lets not give them the chance to eliminate the EPA.

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