Friday, November 16, 2012

The 500 pound issue in the election

Since I drove around for six months with a Stewart-Colbert 2012 sticker on my car, it probably goes without saying that I'm pleased with last week's election results. But as yet another oil platform in the Gulf goes up in flames and the cost estimates from Hurricane Sandy keep rolling in, I can't help but think the environment was the big loser in this year's race.

I watched all four debates, and I was disappointed with how rarely environmental issues came up. I think Vice President Biden mentioned global warming, but President Obama was too busy touting America's oil production to even temper his speech with some we-shouldn't-suck-all-the-oil-out-of-the-Earth-without-some-stringent-safeguards-in-place caveats. He also professed his love for coal, and I assume all the mountaintop shearing off and pollution that comes with it. Considering the environment is my number-one voting priority, his ardor for energy production without so much as lip service to conservation was truly a letdown. When it takes a Republican to bring global warming to the forefront of the political debate, you know we're in trouble.

Now that Obama has won another term, I'm holding my breath to see whether he will do right by Mother Nature. How many more Hurricane Sandys does the United States have to endure before we take the lead on climate change? How many more oceans polluted before we demand as much technology goes into preventing oil spills as does in extracting that oil from the Earth? And how can the Environmental Protection Agency do its job when the Obama Administration and Democrats in general won't enact or enforce laws that protect our air, land and water?

Today's environmental issues are massive and at times overwhelming. But that's no excuse for inaction. It's high time this President acknowledged the helping hand environment-conscious organizations and voters have given him and show this constituency that its calls for a greener shade of governing haven't gone unheeded.

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