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Romney Vs. Santorum: Whoever Wins the Republican Race, The Environment Loses

Posted By Timon Singh On January 4, 2012 @ 7:45 pm In Green Transportation,News,Renewable Energy | 5 Comments

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The Iowa caucuses are over [1]and Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have emerged as the Republican front-runners. It is a race that has seen almost every candidate touted as a potential winner – before scandal (Herman Cain) or lack of support (Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann) has forced them to withdraw. Over the next few months, Romney and Santorum will be doing everything they can to convince the American people that they are the right person for the job. However there’s one major gap in each of their running platforms – neither of them really cares for the environment.

In the past, conservative candidates have often dismissed environmental concerns – opting instead to support big business and the concerns of their base supporters. In fact, back in August the Environmental Protection Agency was a major target [2] for many Republican candidates who clearly didn’t appreciate or understand the role the department plays in keeping their water clean and their air breathable.

At the time, Michele Bachmann wanted to “padlock the E.P.A.’s doors” saying the agency should be renamed the “job-killing organization of America.” She also called global warming science a hoax. Rick Perry wasn’t any kinder, saying he would impose an immediate moratorium on environmental regulation if he was president, and added that “E.P.A. regulations are killing jobs all across America.” He has also famously said in his book “Fed Up, Our Fight to Save America from Washington,” [3] that global-warming science is “one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight” and a “secular carbon cult” led by false prophets like Al Gore.

Luckily these two are now all but out of the race – but what about current front-runners Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum?

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Mitt Romney

Let’s take Romney first. The man has thus far been a steady ‘second place’ candidate for much of the race, with other candidates overtaking him in the polls before once again falling behind. When it comes to the environment, Romney was the only one back in August that did not get on the ‘Bashing the EPA’ bandwagon and instead stated that he favored the regulation of carbon dioxide and other gases that contributed to global warming. However, he has famously changed his mind numerous times over what he has said in public.

Global warming

In his book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness [4], he said: “I believe that climate change is occurring — the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. I am uncertain how much of the warming, however, is attributable to factors out of our control.”

Well, that’s pretty conclusive right? Wrong.

All through the summer and fall of 2011, Romney changed his tune [5] in order to keep pace with his more conservative counterparts. In October, he was quoted as saying: “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”

Fossil fuels

His policies aren’t exactly green either – in addition to hiring a number of anti-EPA campaign advisers, Romney has reversed his position on government support for renewable energy industries and criticized President Obama for supporting clean car companies.

He has also ignored the potential of green jobs, calling them ‘fake’ [6]. In October 2011, he said: “First, the good news: President Barack Obama has finally created some “green jobs.” Now for the bad news: They are not in the United States, but in Finland.”

What is most bizarre is that he completely ignored the 64,000 jobs that had been created in his home state of Massachusetts. [7] He also mocked the Chevy Volt, saying it was an “idea whose time has not come.” [8]

Worse of all, he’s not eager to cut America’s dependency on fossil fuels as he wants to maintain massive tax breaks for the oil industry [9] and backs the Keystone XL pipeline [9]. “I will ensure we utilize to the fullest extent our nation’s nuclear know-how and immense reserves in oil, gas and coal,” he wrote [10] in September 2011. “We are an energy-rich country that, thanks to environmental extremism, has chosen to live like an energy-poor country. That has to end.”

He has also stated he is all for drilling in the “Gulf of Mexico, both the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelves, Western lands, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and off the Alaska coast.” However NOT the Florida Everglades [11] – because they’re “a national treasure.” [11]

So that’s Mitt Romney – and if you thought he was a problem for the environment, Rick Santorum is worse.

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Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum has already voiced his questionable policies about gay rights and bombing Iran [12], but his views on the environment are equally as backwards.

Global warming

In June 2011, he told that bastion of biased reporting Glenn Beck that “there is no such thing as global warming.” He later told Rush Limbaugh [13]that the idea of mankind affecting the climate was “an excuse for more government control of your life.” He added that he’s “never been for any scheme or even accepted the junk science behind the whole narrative.”

Fossil fuels

As you’d expect, he is a big supporter of fossil fuels, even going so far as to announce his candidacy near the coalfields where his grandfather worked. As a senator from Pennsylvania, Santorum has always supported ‘Big Coal’ and in 2003 supported a senate rule that allowed dirty, old coal-fired power plants, refineries, and industrial facilities to modernize without adding new pollution controls. He has argued that such measures are good for the economy, but one wonders what his reasoning is for not supporting mercury emission reductions. [14]

As for oil – he, like Romney, is up for drilling anywhere America can, and he also supports the Keystone XL pipeline. He added anyone that opposed the project was just “pandering to radical environmentalists who don’t want energy production, who don’t want us to burn more carbon.” He added that global warming was “an ideology” that was being pushed on the American public.”

So there we go. Those are currently the Republican choices for president – even if you agree with them on their political, religious and social beliefs, you have to wonder if they’re really what is best for the environment.

Images: IowaPolitics.com [15]


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URLs in this post:

[1] The Iowa caucuses are over : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16404413

[2] Environmental Protection Agency was a major target: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/18/us/politics/18epa.html

[3] “Fed Up, Our Fight to Save America from Washington,”: http://www.amazon.com/Fed-Up-Fight-America-Washington/dp/0316132950

[4] No Apology: The Case for American Greatness: http://www.amazon.com/No-Apology-Case-American-Greatness/dp/B0045JK6EC/gristmagazine

[5] changed his tune: http://www.grist.org/election-2012/2012-01-04-mitt-romney-climate-change-energy

[6] calling them ‘fake’: http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/10/25/352549/romney-green-jobs/

[7] 64,000 jobs that had been created in his home state of Massachusetts.: http://masscec.com/masscec/file/MassCEC%20Industry-Rept_DesignFinal%281%29.pdf

[8] “idea whose time has not come.”: http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/transportation/blogs/mitt-romney-slams-the-chevy-volt

[9] maintain massive tax breaks for the oil industry: http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/10/26/353787/mitt-romneys-energy-plan-is-a-disaster-just-like-perrys/

[10] he wrote: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2011-09-05/Romney-My-10-point-plan-to-create-American-jobs/50265720/1

[11] Florida Everglades: http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/08/29/306803/bachmann-drill-everglades/

[12] about gay rights and bombing Iran: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15949571

[13] later told Rush Limbaugh : http://www.grist.org/list/2011-06-09-rick-santorum-froths-at-the-mouth-about-climate-change

[14] mercury emission reductions.: http://www.guardian.co.uk/fossil-fuels/2011-12-21-the-mercury-rules-announced-today-are-a-bona-fide-big-deal

[15] IowaPolitics.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/iowapolitics/

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