“There’s basically a mass extinction in the making. I think amphibians are just the first wave,” says J. Alan Pounds, an ecologist who has studied Costa Rica and the cloud forest’s wildlife for 25 years. — From Newsweek International‘s “Why the Frogs Are Dying,” linked by Colorado Bob.
We know that pollution kills and harms vastly more people (and species) than terrorism. We know that every time we buy gasoline, we hand money to those who financially support terrorists. We also know that there’s zero leadership, and ongoing decimation of existing environmental laws, in Washington, D.C. But, asserts today’s Salon article, “Green governance,” there’s hope that we can effect change state by state: “With the likes of Jeb Bush on their way out, the environment may get a boost from a crop of progressive new governors.” Example No. 1 is Democrat Eliot Spitzer, sure to be the next governor of New York state (he’s ahead by 46 points):
“George Bush is, hands down, the worst president on environmental and energy issues that this country has ever seen,” the pugnacious Spitzer spouted during the first big environmental speech of his campaign. As New York’s attorney general, he has sued the Bush administration numerous times over environmental issues, including greenhouse-gas emissions, mercury pollution from power plants, pesticide use in public housing and efficiency standards for appliances.
Spitzer has taken plenty of polluters to court, too. Among his many victories, he forced six New York power plants to radically cut emissions that cause acid rain and smog, achieving reductions equivalent to removing 2.5 million cars from the road. He was also the first A.G. to sue operators of coal-fired power plants in other states, arguing that their pollution blows into New York and contaminates the air breathed by his constituents.
[Spitzer has a] 46-point lead [over] John Faso … Spitzer [is seen] as one of the strongest environmental champions politics has produced in decades. … “Combating global warming, cleaning up the Hudson River, and closing Indian Point [nuclear plant] are all issues that I know he will effectively address,” [Robert] Kennedy said in a statement. “If anyone can solve these issues, it’s Eliot Spitzer.”
I can’t find video of Montana governor Brian Schweitzer’s speech on energy independence last Friday to the National Press Club. He outlined how the United States can end dependence on the Middle East for oil with numerous creative, scientific, forward-thinking proposals that are proven, practical, and profitable. Here’s a blurb on him from The Guardian:
Described by the New York Times as a “gunloving, pick-up truck-driving, church-going, jeans-wearing governor”, Schweitzer is a huntin’, shootin’, fishin’ man. When he returns from trips to Washington, he is apt to remark that he feels like bathing in the disinfectant he uses when his dog tangles with a skunk. But it is not Schweitzer’s political future that is drawing important visitors to Montana’s capital, Helena, in its ring of snow-capped mountains. The governor has a plan to reduce the US’s dependence on oil, one that may gain momentum after George Bush’s state of the union speech earlier this week when the president pledged to cut US imports of oil from the Middle East by 75% over the next two decades, and to break the cycle of an America, in Bush’s words,”addicted to oil”.
Simply put, the governor’s grand plan is to convert Montana’s vast coal reserves into clean, almost emission-free liquid fuel, thus ushering his state, and the US itself, into an era of energy self-sufficiency. Schweitzer, a soil scientist who spent much of his professional life, pre-politics, as a specialist on irrigation development in Saudi Arabia, believes the Rocky Mountain front has an unexpected future. “Montana could be the new energy centre of the world,” he says with a swagger. “Not only will we create the energy, but we will create the technology so places like China and India who want to join the middle class can do so without destroying the planet.” (Read all: “The green governor,” The Guardian)
IMAGE CAPTION: “Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer urged the Big Sky state to “think big” at the Montana Symposium: Energy Future of the West ending today at the MSU Fieldhouse. The symposium drew more than 600 attendees from throughout the country. MSU photo by Jay Thane.” — From report on the “inaugural Montana Symposium: Energy Future of the West,” Montana State University
From PoliticsTV’s post at YouTube, October 3, 2006:
“Schweitzer has emerged foremost among a number of state governors looking to set and enforce emission reductions,” reports The Guardian. Here are other gubernatorial races that the Salon article points to:
Massachusetts: Kerry Healey (R) vs. Deval Patrick (D)
Outgoing Republican Gov. Mitt Romney — who yanked his support from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative at the last minute — decided not to run for a second term, in part to clear the way for a potential presidential run in 2008 and in part because of low approval ratings [INTERESTING!] in his left-leaning state. … [L]ieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, whose environmental platform scarcely differs from Romney’s. [...]
Patrick is ahead 57 percent to 24 percent ….
Pennsylvania: Ed Rendell (D) vs. Lynn Swann (R)
Gov. Ed Rendell [is] heralded in environmental circles for his clean-energy policies …
[His] “record on clean-energy policy is one of the most ambitious in the nation,” says PLCV executive director Mike Fedor. In 2004, Rendell signed into law an RPS calling for the state to get 18 percent of its electricity from clean or alternative sources by 2020. Rendell lobbied hard to get Pennsylvania to adopt California’s clean-car regulations — which it did last month. … [He helped] persuade Spanish wind-turbine giant Gamesa to locate its North American headquarters in Pennsylvania, and is pushing to site biofuel plants and ethanol fueling stations throughout the state.
Rendell has also taken an aggressive stance against mercury pollution …
Rendell [leads] Swann 52 percent to 34 percent …
Maryland: Robert Ehrlich (R) vs. Martin O’Malley (D)
Gov. Robert Ehrlich … earned a D+ from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters … he got bad marks for enabling sprawl, failing to rein in air pollution, doing little to improve mass transit and diverting millions of dollars that had been dedicated to preserving open space, parks and wild lands.
O’Malley has a seven-point edge among likely voters …