Democrats seem much less willing to tout “green,” or environmentally-friendly policies, as we get close to Election Day. Walter Russell Mead, a well-respected conservative-leaning blogger, notices how the Obama campaign’s rhetoric is much less “green” than it was four years ago. (All emphasis in quotes is added).
Despite the fact that both [Presidential] candidates believe in anthropogenic climate change, neither one has discussed plans to address the issue using green policies. Instead, both are attempting to portray themselves as traditional energy’s best friend.
That’s not a surprise for Governor Romney—but it IS for President Obama. Remember when the president said, during his 2008 campaign, that his cap-and-trade proposals would force prices for coal-fueled energy to “necessarily skyrocket?” Well, YouTube remembers.
Fast-forward to 2012. Key battleground states—Pennsylvania, Ohio—benefit from coal production. Moreover, the natural-gas boom, enabled by fracking technology, is helping the economy throughout the Rust Belt.
Mr. Obama has supported broad climate change legislation, financed extensive clean energy projects and pushed new regulations to reduce global warming emissions from cars and power plants.
But neither he nor Mr. Romney has laid out during the campaign a legislative or regulatory program to address the fundamental questions arising from one of the most vexing economic, environmental, political and humanitarian issues to face the planet.
When the New York Times points out, before the election, that a Democratic Party candidate for national office doesn’t have much of a green program…well, it’s safe to say that you don’t have much of a green program.
Why the change? Why was the Obama campaign so bold in 2008 but not now? Walter Mead offers some thoughts:
The closer we come to the election, the less we hear about green and the more we hear about brown, about oil and gas drilling. Obama wants to win in November, and he’s clearly made the (correct) choice that he can’t do it if he continues to be the green candidate.
Nearly four years after the greenest president ever entered the Oval Office, the green movement has suffered a series of major defeats—many of them self-inflicted.
I’ve given up counting the number of green-energy firms that took millions of dollars in Porkulus—excuse me, stimulus—money, and then went out of business. (E.g., Solyndra). Millions and millions of money, funded through deficit spending, gone.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has shown itself to be way too hostile to business. Granted, businesses have not always been good to our environment. But, business drives our economy. If business fails, we all fail.
The EPA we currently have seems more intent on punishing entrepreneurs and economic risk takers, than working with the business community to develop a reasoned, balanced approach between economic development and safeguarding the environment. In fact, it appears that the EPA is eager to let the environmental activist foxes run the chicken coop that WE know as the US economy. Have you heard of “sue and settle” before? Well…
Environmental and consumer advocacy groups have found a new way to use the federal regulatory process to force overly burdensome regulations onto business.
It works like this: Environmental and consumer advocacy groups file a lawsuit claiming that the federal government has failed to meet a deadline or has not satisfied some regulatory requirement. The agency can then either choose to defend itself against the lawsuit or settle it. Often times, it settles by putting in place a “court-ordered” regulation desired by the advocacy group, thus circumventing the proper rulemaking channels and basic transparency and accountability standards. This tactic is called “sue and settle,” a name coined by Rep. Colin Peterson (D-MN).
Those most often targeted by this type of litigation are the Environmental Protection Agency; the departments of the Interior, Transportation, Agriculture, and Defense: the Fish & Wildlife Service; and the Army Corps of Engineers. Citizen suit provisions in most major environmental statutes make EPA, Interior, and others that administer environmental laws easy targets.
Through sue and settle, agencies have instituted dozens of large, burdensome rules in recent years, including such controversial regulations as new standards for greenhouse gas emissions from electric utilities and refineries; revisions to the definition of solid waste; and Clean Air Act regulations on oil and gas drilling operations.
To make matters worse, many of the legal fees arising from these cases are paid by U.S. taxpayers. Attorneys’ fees can be paid for out of the Equal Access to Justice Act and the Treasury Department’s Judgment Fund, both of which are set up in such a way that information on whom and how much money is paid in the settlement process is undisclosed.
“There seems to be a pattern of activist lawsuits followed by EPA settlements resulting in new regulations to comply with the settlement, and impacted industries are kept in the dark,” says Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ).
(FYI, the Center for Biological Diversity, America’s most zealous environmental litigators, are based right here in Tucson. So, don’t look for any major, job-producing and benefit-providing companies to come to Tucson anytime soon).
This has been going on for nearly four years now. Solar power, wind power and other green energy technologies are going bust not only in America, but overseas. The Europeans, for example, have seen that wind power is often unreliable and can wreak havoc on bird populations.
Here in the southwest USA, we’ve had a devil of a time making solar power profitable. (Cough cough Solyndra cough cough). Most people won’t outfit their homes with solar panels without hefty government subsidies. Energy from fossil fuels is still way cheaper. AND, when we try to build the large solar farms necessary to make solar more viable, the extreme environmentalists find some snail, dust mite or Mojave Desert tortoise that might be impacted and sue the projects into paralysis.
Voters have had enough. They don’t want to spend years paying high energy costs to fund cap-and-trade schemes and buy carbon credits, while waiting for green energy to finally make economic sense, some day, somewhere way way in the future.
Voters are also starting to figure out that extreme environmentalists aren’t all that concerned if people lose their jobs or can’t pay their energy bills. For many environmentalists, Gaia and Mother Earth takes precedence over you, me and our families and friends. To be clear, most of them are not mean people. They don’t want to see people suffer.
But, they’re willing to let people suffer, in order to (hopefully) reach their bigger environmental goals. If you’re going to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs, right?
Well, dear reader, how does it feel to be one of the eggs? Not too good, right? Gosh, what can we do about it? Well…what a coinky-dink, there’s an election coming up!
Rational Democrats know that. THAT’s why the “green shoots” are being trampled underfoot by Democratic candidates this election season.