Happy Earth Day! In 1969, Senator Gaylord Nelson witnessed the ravages of an oil spill on the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Outraged, he went back to Washington, and in 1970, helped pass a bill designating April 22nd as our national day to celebrate our communal home – Mother Earth. Later that year, Congress authorized the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency as a way to mitigate the damage to our environment which was evident from sea to shining sea as a result of polluting corporations.
It may be difficult for some to remember that before 1970, American factories could vomit their toxic fumes into the air with abandon and dump toxic waste into waterways and streams without the fear of being legally responsible for the damage they were doing – because being a filthy, polluting, poisoning corporations was all perfectly legal.
Before 1970, we had no legal or regulatory systems in place to protect our environment. There was no Clean Air Act, no Clean Water Act and no EPA. The irony is, it was a Republican – Richard Nixon – who proposed the EPA– during a time when the ravages of corporate greed littered “America the (supposedly) Beautiful,” and though still the party of the wealthy, Republicans also agreed that Mother Earth should not just be exploited as a host for parasitic corporations to pillage – she was our home.
What changed? The influence of money in government has become even more pervasive and without restraint. As such, ALL Republicans and some Democrats are nothing but appendages to corporate affairs – especially the affairs of the oil companies who depend on America being wedded to their filthy energy system if they are to continue reaping their record profits.
Two years ago, BP celebrate Earth Day by killing 11 workers, spewing 4.9 million barrels of oil into the ocean, and destroying the Guld Coast in their epic disaster in which their poison flowed into the ecosystem for three solid months. The BP Oil Spill may be deemed technically “an accident,” but it was no accident – it was by design of the failure of our bought-by-the-oil-industry government and their decades long efforts to relax regulations. Thus, making environmental destruction an inevitability.
Corporate Takeover of Earth Day ™ 2012
In public, our politicians will make their obligatory nods to “Earth Day,” and turn around and continue to promote policies that continue the unavoidable effects of climate change – namely, an earth that is quickly melting, drying, flooding and burning in extraordinarily unprecedented ways.
Let’s face it, Earth Day has lost it’s relevancy by a corporate state that has absorbed it from within. Where we should be having mature, solution-based, initiatives to mitigate the damage that’s already been dine, the public at large will be bombarded with feckless corporate marketing appeals to “go green,” and “recycle” while true green initiatives that matter remain off the table.
Republicans: If We Can’t Drag America Back to When Rivers Caught On Fire, We Can’t Create Jobs
I often call Republicans “ghouls,” but truly, they are “ghosts” of times best left in the dung heap of history. Times like when the Cuyahoga River was so polluted, it went up in flames.
It may be hard to remember those times, but take it from one who was there. From Cleveland.com:
“…after so many years, it becomes difficult to really understand and feel the rampant water (and air) pollution of the industrial era that led to the Cuyahoga fire.
Unless you were there.
Richard Ellers was there.
And Ellers felt the Cuyahoga River pollution — literally.
“Back in the ’60s … I went on a news excursion on the river downtown to show how bad the pollution was,” Ellers recalled recently. “I remember we could see a layer of crud on the water but didn’t appreciate its thickness until the photog on the trip, Marv Greene, said, ‘Richard, dip your hand in there and pull it out.’ ”Plain Dealer fileFormer reporter Richard Ellers says he didn’t appreciate the thickness of the pollution on Cuyahoga River until he dipped his hand into it. The photo was taken in the 1960s.
The image of a black, gooey hand coming out of the Cuyahoga like a B-movie swamp monster defined the plight of the Cuyahoga. By association, it indicted all industrial American cities — and a culture that for a century had generally viewed natural waterways as a means to an end.”
Republicans Can’t Have Prosperity Without Pollution
Under the phony banner of “job creation,” Republicans are using the economic crisis to attack environmental protections that safeguarded our air and water more than 100 years. In the Republican vision of the world, Mother Earth is just another host from which to suck profit. It seems Republicans and their benefactors can’t conduct business if they actually have to be responsible stewards of the Earth and can’t leave filth in their wake like some sociopathic child, leaving the land they pretend to love as filthy and disease riddled as any third world nation.
In fact, Republicans so loathe a clean place to live and breathe, that they have pulled out some of their old stand-bys from leading a witch hunt against climate scientists, adding a plethora of ridiculous riders to the new budget eliminating environmental protections which included eliminating the EPA’s ability to enforce the Clean Air Act, prohibiting the EPA to control mercury and other pollutants from cement plants allowing oil companies to sidestep air quality standards in the Arctic and SO much more. The bill reads like an epilogue outlining the death of a third world nation. And, in their best “Freedom Fries” manoeuvre, the Republican party removed the biodegradable utensils and cups from their cafeteria, returning to the plastic-ware of old. Boasting, “The new majority – plasticware is back.”
Remember, though. The Republican assault on the environment has not a damn thing to do with prosperity. It has to do with orders from their filthy oil industry pay masters. Republicans don’t want prosperity, you see – at least not prosperity for all… as this trickle-down, serfs and lords economy is EXACTLY what the trickle down voodoo was designed to create. A small elite ruling over the large pool of exploitable, and compliant, working poor.
So, though they cry “job creation,” they really could care less if the majority of the country is out of work. Better for them if that is the case to manipulate an economically-insecure group of people to allow them to continue handing everything they want to the top 1% and the corporations that own government.
The Most Anti-Environment House in History
In just the year since the GOP took control of the House, there have been at least 159 votes held against environmental protections, to block action to address climate change, to halt efforts to reduce air and water pollution, to undermine protections for public lands and coastal areas, and to weaken the protection of the environment in other ways.
– including 83 targeting the Environmental Protection Agency — on the House floor alone, according to a list compiled by Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee….click here for the list
“Republicans have made an assault on all environmental issues,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee. “This is, without doubt, the most anti-environmental Congress in history.”
Some of the efforts are broad-based, like the TRAIN Act, which would install overseers for the EPA and require cost considerations to trump health and science concerns for new rules. Another such effort is the REINS Act, which essentially requires Congress to approve all new regulations, essentially granting each chamber the ability to veto the executive branch.
Both have passed the House and are pending in the Senate. Still another proposed measure that would have all-encompassing reach is the Regulatory Accountability Act, which would make cost the top consideration for all federal regulations.
Republicans want to take us back to the world before the EPA, where a factory could spew black clouds of toxic pollution into the air or dump tons of toxic waste into your local stream. So what if the surrounding communities suffer from the repercussions of sickness and disease. The rich bankster owners don’t live in THOSE communities – only the expendable human natural resources that were born to be exploited.
Republicans long for the “good old days” before environmental regulations… never mind the fact that environmental regulations actually CREATE jobs.
Environmental Regulations CREATE JOBS
“The phrase “Job killing regulations” has been a consistent battle cry for GOPCongressmembers in their war against workplace safety and environmental protections. True to form, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) echoed this sentiment on Monday with his reference to “job-destroying regulations” in a memo about theRepublican plan to further gut the Environmental Protection Agency.
While this talking point is used to berate a lot of different government protections, from checks and balances applied to Wall Street, to product safety laws, to measures safeguarding consumers from dangerous chemicals in food and pharmaceuticals, and so forth.
But most often, the perjorative “job-killing regulations” talking point is used to describe the actions of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.) And it has resonated extremely well among an American public that is currently suffering from a severe lack of jobs. As of July 2011, we have an unemployment rate of 9.1%, resulting in almost 14 million Americans looking, but unable to find, a job. For a populace that desperately wants to work but is unable to do so, scapegoating “regulations” has been a very powerful and effective narrative.
There is no empirical data to back up their claims, but there is a wealth of information available showing that regulations – all regulations – actually promote job growth and put Americans back to work. A new report by Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) delivers the latest blow to this popular talking point, demonstrating a direct correlation between environmental regulations and job growth. NESCAUM looked at the Northeast and found that by enacting stricter fuel economy standards and pursuing cleaner forms of energy, more Americans would be put back to work.”
According to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, however, the “job-killing” part of the phrase “job-killing regulation” is built largely on myth. Last year, EPI released a report that found that several of the EPA’s proposed environmental regulations would actually create jobs. Now that the EPA has finalized a rule regulating toxic waste, EPI has used that rule to analyze whether such regulations are, indeed, job-killers. Once again, it found the opposite to be true, and said the new rule will actually create more jobs than it previously estimated:
Previous studies (such as Bivens 2011) that have estimated the jobs impact of specific proposed regulatory changes have probably understated the gains to employment spurred by the rule, likely by roughly 50%. But even given these understatements, the effects of some specific regulatory changes—such as the toxics rule, the largest single air-quality rule currently being proposed by the EPA—are surely positive for job creation. […]
Even with multiplier effects, these estimates translate into job gains of roughly 117,000 to 135,000 in 2015, depending on whether one or both offsets to the job-depressing effects of price increases are used. … But what this reassessment does make clear is that it is near-inconceivable that adoption of the rule will cost any jobs at all in the near term. The effect will be unambiguously positive.
The study is hardly the first indication that the GOP’s “job-killing regulations” rhetoric is built on a myth. The EPA’s regulation of the coal industry helped boost industry employment to a15-year high, and EPA regulations aimed at cleaning up Chesapeake Bay would create 35 times more jobs than the GOP’s favorite pet project, the Keystone XL pipeline. The GOP’s spiel has even fallen flat with business leaders large and small, with one CEO saying there was “no question” the new regulations would create jobs.
It’s Not “Climate Change Denial,” it’s Corruption
Republicans are fond of saying that the “science is inconclusive” regarding climate change. It is not.
Former Utah Governor, one of the last reasonable Republicans, Joh Huntsman said, “When you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out 100 climate scientists have said, when you call to question evolution, all I’m saying is that in order for the Republican Party to win, we can’t run from science.”
But Huntsman fails to remember that this is the same GOP who claim they don’t believe in evolution.
The GOP is now the party of “drill baby drill” and “frack baby frack.” It is the party that sent Americans to die based on lies for a corporate oil war and is currently obstructing any investment in alternative reusable energy sources. It is no coincidence that since the 1990 election cycle, 75% of oil industry “political contributions” (bribes) have gone to Republicans.
Eventually, I hope to live to se the day when we reach a tipping point and the more Republicans dig their heels in and deny reality, they will reveal themselves more and more to be the minions of the filthy, archaic, energy interests – and marginalized and shunned as the harmful entities they are – not given leadership roles to shape government policy.
Watch David Packman: Three Quarters of Senate Republicans Don’t Believe in Science
Watch Bernie Sanders: Republicans Make Climate Change Science Political
Anyone Seen Candidate Obama, the Environmentalist?
As both parties live in the rot of a broken, corrupted-by-money, system. Democrats… though better in regard to environmental policy… are no stalwart champions of the Earth.
In fact, as President Obama panders to be all things to all people, and touts his “all of the above” energy solutions, boasting, “Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. Over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states. We’re opening up more than 75 per cent of our potential oil resources off shore. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipelines to encircle the earth and then some. So we are drilling all over the place.”
Well, that’s comforting. He wouldn’t want to appear like someone who actually cares about the environment if he wants those Republicans who would never vote for him anyway to not vote for him again.
Gone is the candiate Obama who said, “Let’s be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil. We can harness homegrown, alternative fuels like ethanol and spur the production of more fuel-efficient cars. We can set up a system for capping greenhouse gases. We can turn this crisis of global warming into a moment of opportunity for innovation, and job creation, and an incentive for businesses that will serve as a model for the world. Let’s be the generation that makes future generations proud of what we did here.”
Not surprisingly, any mention of Earth Day is conspicuously absent from the White House website.
Seems these days, Mother Earth is no match for corporate greed… But doesn’t she look cute on those eco-friendly shopping bags?
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