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Saving the Environment With Green Governors

“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:

EnergylowresDescribed 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 …

  • kim

    Carbon credits are a fossil.
    ================

  • http://gods4suckers.net raindogzilla

    Perhaps someone ought to look into real estate purchases along whatever the projected new coastlines figure to be- you know, after the ice sheets melt and all. Check for the names Cheney, Bush, and Rumsfeld on those deeds.

  • Patrick Henry

    Anyone who doesnt realize what an important Issue Global Enviromental Changes amount to.. Just are not Paying Attention to ALL the World Wide record Setting Disasters ..Storms..Draughts..Floods..Hurricanes..Tornados …Etc Etc..Being Reported DAILY in the NEWS..

    We Have just had Disasterous Events like Katrina..The Great lakes just had a Record Snow Storm..Houston is having heavy Flooding..and is under water today..We Have had extreme Heat waves…Draughts… Massive Forest Fires..Wheat production has
    been cut by 25 %..Crops and Food supplys are being impacted…People are starving around the World..

    Again..This entire Year is full of reports of Extreme Enviroment Disasters and Events..all Across the united States..Europe and around the world..

    The Rain Forests of Brazil and South america..which are known as the Lungs of the earth..are being Destroyed by Greedy developers every day…

    These are Catastrophic Disasters.. They MUST be Recognized and Addressed
    with Foresight..Planning and Preperation..through World Wide Organizations and leadership..Abroad and here at Home in the Un~ United States..

    it Seems like people like President Bush and the Republicans..would rather Protect Corporate Profits Today..and Ignore the Important issues and other Enviromental Accords..

    Its all about GREED..and Abuse of Power..and Wasting Peoples Money for Political reasons..

    there are Two types of Public servants…Those That GIVE and those that TAKE..

    Those who Care and those who dont give a Damn..

    Those who want the POWER to Serve themselfs..for Pwersonal and Political reasons..

    And those who Want the Power so they can Help and Serve thier Fellow Mankind..Thier Nieghbors…thier Communitys…Thier Nation and People..and Make LIFE Better..

    Not WORSE…

    What has the Bush administration done to MAKE LIFE BETTER…???

    What has the Bush administration done about KNOWN Catastrophic Enviromental Problems..??

    What has the Bush Administration done with OUR Tax Dollars to Improve Our Quality of Life..??

    WHO is getting all the TAX Breaks..??

    Who has the Bush administration Put ALL the Burden On..??

    Answewr…The Poor and Middle Class Americans…

    And let other People Worry about the Future.. and the Fate of the Human Race..

    Because the BUSH ADMINISTRATION got Thier FAT..

    And thier Piece of the PIE..

    And thats all they have Shown that they Care about..

  • Patrick Henry

    Anyone who doesnt realize what an important Issue Global Enviromental Changes amount to.. Just are not Paying Attention to ALL the World Wide record Setting Disasters ..Storms..Draughts..Floods..Hurricanes..Tornados …Etc Etc..Being Reported DAILY in the NEWS..

    We Have just had Disasterous Events like Katrina..The Great lakes just had a Record Snow Storm..Houston is having heavy Flooding..and is under water today..We Have had extreme Heat waves…Draughts… Massive Forest Fires..Wheat production has
    been cut by 25 %..Crops and Food supplys are being impacted…People are starving around the World..

    Again..This entire Year is full of reports of Extreme Enviroment Disasters and Events..all Across the united States..Europe and around the world..

    The Rain Forests of Brazil and South america..which are known as the Lungs of the earth..are being Destroyed by Greedy developers every day…

    These are Catastrophic Disasters.. They MUST be Recognized and Addressed
    with Foresight..Planning and Preperation..through World Wide Organizations and leadership..Abroad and here at Home in the Un~ United States..

    it Seems like people like President Bush and the Republicans..would rather Protect Corporate Profits Today..and Ignore the Important issues and other Enviromental Accords..

    Its all about GREED..and Abuse of Power..and Wasting Peoples Money for Political reasons..

    there are Two types of Public servants…Those That GIVE and those that TAKE..

    Those who Care and those who dont give a Damn..

    Those who want the POWER to Serve themselfs..for Pwersonal and Political reasons..

    And those who Want the Power so they can Help and Serve thier Fellow Mankind..Thier Nieghbors…thier Communitys…Thier Nation and People..and Make LIFE Better..

    Not WORSE…

    What has the Bush administration done to MAKE LIFE BETTER…???

    What has the Bush administration done about KNOWN Catastrophic Enviromental Problems..??

    What has the Bush Administration done with OUR Tax Dollars to Improve Our Quality of Life..??

    WHO is getting all the TAX Breaks..??

    Who has the Bush administration Put ALL the Burden On..??

    Answewr…The Poor and Middle Class Americans…

    And let other People Worry about the Future.. and the Fate of the Human Race..

    Because the BUSH ADMINISTRATION got Thier FAT..

    And thier Piece of the PIE..

    And thats all they have Shown that they Care about..

  • http://noquarter.typepad.com SusanUnPC

    I think you’re right about Vietnam. Back in 1965 I heard a Catholic priest talk (in Eastern Washington state, of all places) — he was an early person opposed to the Vietnam war — talk about Vietnam’s minerals, etc. as being the real reason behind the war. (Sadly, that’s all I remember of his talk.)

    The environment is the gorilla in the room, and we’re just not responding.

    One thing I noticed in that quote about Schweitzer from The Guardian was that he has his eye on India and China too. That’s good because, here in Washington state, we get the pollution from the Far East, and it’s harming our national parks…. there are many plant species that can’t bear the effects of that kind of heavy metal pollution.

    Do you think there’s any way we can get a dynamic duo to run for president in ’08 — perhaps with Schweitzer as VP? — to really begin to address this?

    I see that as our LAST — our LAST (!) — hope.

  • Leslie

    Global warming is the #1 threat facing us, next to nuclear proliferation. Global warming means rising sea levels inundating coastal areas, increased desertification, drought and fires, reduced snow cover leading to reduced water supply, more extreme weather, spreading disease and increased flora and fauna extinction.

    But we can do something about it, and it would be better to act sooner rather than later.

  • http://thank-you-keith-olbermann.blogspot.com colorado bob

    Sue … I spent Earth Day in 1976 at the gates of the Rocky Flats plant. What I learned back in those days was that EVERYTHING boils down to energy. I always believed that Vietnam was about drillin’ rights off the coast of Vietnam. The French are drilling there now.

    I’m always amazed that when gas was cheaper, no one ever included the cost of aircraft carrier battle groups sailing 24/7/365 in the Persian Gulf. Talk about off the books accounting.

    Here’s another story … This is on coral bleaching. This is from Madagascar. All over the world corals are dying from higher ocean temps.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15253155/

    Breaking …. US confirms N. Korea nuke test.

  • http://noquarter.typepad.com SusanUnPC

    I saw New Mexico governor Bill Richardson on TV last week. He’s head of the Democratic governors’ association, and he predicts that Democrats will pick up some gubernatorial seats — taking Democrats to leadership in 26-27 states.