The Issue of the Environment


Although the American government has taken initiative to help our environment, there are always additional processes and plans that can be put into action to make our country a better place to live. Topics of environment that are main concerns to the American government include:
  • climate change and global warming
  • energy conservation and efficient energy use
  • genetic engineering
  • ozone depletion
  • pollution of air and water
  • resource depletion
  • waste disposal.
Below are the parties’ overall views concerning environmental issues and the specific candidates’ opinions and plans for our Mother Earth. Check it out!


The Democrats
Democrats have long been defenders of the world’s delicate environment. In the 1930s Franklin Delano Roosevelt aided the environment with the Soil Conservation Service and other programs part of the New Deal. In 2007, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Al Gore for his efforts to enlighten the world about the causes and effects of global warming. As a whole, Democrats have believed that many things, such as a strong economy, a healthy family and an efficient national security are heavily dependent on a clean environment.
At first, both Democrats and Republican supported the environment and deigned it necessary to protect it. However, in the 1980s, Ronald Regan began the theory that supporting the environment was taking a toll on the economy making some Republicans anti-environmental. This put the two parties at odds given that Democrats believed the economy went hand-in-hand with the environment. With that thought in mind, Democrats support laws that will produce cleaner air and water. They promote traveling by railways to reduce emissions from cars and also to lessen traffic congestion. Hunters and fishers will greatly benefit from the cleaner air and water, and the extension of conservation lands. Also, Democrats encourage the pursuit of affordable renewable energy by refusing tax cuts to oil companies.
The main goal of the Democratic Party is to benefit the world in the long run. They are creating a cleaner and healthier world for the future generations.

Barack Obama
> Hopes to provide short term relief for families who need gasoline:
· Enact a Windfall Profits Tax to Provide a $1,000 Emergency Energy Rebate to American Families.
· Crack Down on Excessive Energy Speculation.
· Swap Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to Cut Prices.

> Help create five million new jobs by investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future:
· Ensure 10 percent of Our Electricity Comes from Renewable Sources by 2012, and 25% by 2025.
· Deploy the Cheapest, Cleanest, Fastest Energy Source – Energy Efficiency.
· Weatherize One Million Homes Annually.
· Develop and Deploy Clean Coal Technology.
· Prioritize the Construction of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline.

> Within 10 years save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined.
· Increase Fuel Economy Standards.
· Get 1 Million Plug-In Hybrid Cars on the Road by 2015.
· Create a New $7,000 Tax Credit for Purchasing Advanced Vehicles.
· Establish a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
· A “Use it or Lose It” Approach to Existing Oil and Gas Leases.
· Promote the Responsible Domestic Production of Oil and Natural Gas.

> Put 1 million Plug-In Hybrid cars:
· cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon (used by 2015)
· cars that we will work to make sure are built in America.

> Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.

> Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.


> Global Warming:
· Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, and try to limit the sources that supposedly cause global warming.
· Make the U.S. a Leader on Climate Change.

> Protection:
· Wants to protect the Great Lakes and national parks and forests






The Republicans
Abraham Lincoln was the first president in history to set aside land for conservation and public enjoyment. The land in which he decided to conserve is now what is known as Yosemite National Park. President Lincoln was the first Republican president, and he gave pride to his party by protecting one of our nation’s most prized natural reserves.
Nowadays, the Republicans are trying to make the environmental issue one of their top priorities. Current president, George W. Bush, has started a program that will reduce 70% of emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury. This program, Clear Skies, also encourages technologies that will be useful for the environment.
Although Sarah Palin is John McCain’s running mate, she has a mind of her own. An example of this is her support to drilling oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. McCain’s view on drilling, advocating for offshore drilling, has distressed many of his Republican supporters. Palin has also made the state’s knowledge expand upon the issue of climate change so they will understand what is going on. This plan she established is called the Climate Change Sub-Cabinet, signed September 14, 2007. Sarah Palin encourages timber, mining, drilling, and fishing. Palin also plans to provide stability in regulations for developers.

John McCain
·
John McCain supported tougher regulations on emission requirements in January 2008.
· He supported putting 3.5 billion acres of land into wilderness protection in January 2004.
· McCain wants to preserve and help our national parks. He supports using visitor fees in parks for development bonds.
· He wants to preserve natural resources for the future.

·
He voted no on continuing desert protection in California in October 1994.
· McCain opposes drilling in Alaska while Sarah Palin is for it.
· John McCain decided to make control of carbon dioxide emissions a signature issue after his failed 2000 election. He was the first Republican candidate to do that.
· The McCain campaign has taken $189,677 from oil and gas companies (the fourth highest total for any candidate and third highest Republican total)
· He says "We're one successful attack away from an economic crisis" [because of our dependence on foreign oii.
· He says, "The burning of oil and other fossil fuels is contributing to the dangerous accumulation of greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere, altering our climate with the potential for major social, economic and political upheaval"
· He supports building new nuclear power plants and would create guidelines for communities that host nuclear waste
· Wants to work with China to share clean coal technology which is using coal as an energy source
· He supports finding new fossil fuels and extracting them
· He supports different kinds of fuels: electric, etc.
· John McCain plans to use a lot of Theodore Roosevelt’s guidelines if he becomes president
· He voted against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and sponsored a wildlife protection bill (that protects whales and boosts fuel efficiency.



Republican sources:
http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/john-mccain-green-vote-47102501
http://www.greenpieceblog.com/2008/01/mccain-and-environment.html
http://www.johnmccain.com/informing/issues/65bd0fbe-737b-4851-a7e7-d9a37cb278db.htm
http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/2/15/10152/5591



Democratic Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/democratic_party_(united_states)#renewable_energy_and_oil
http://www.environmentmagazine.org/september-october%202008/dunlap-abstract.html
http://www.democrats.org/a/national/clean_environment/
http://www.barackobama.com/

This page was written by Allison Head, Mariko Thel, Mary Margaret Groves, Libby Givens, and Sarah Morgan from Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga.

-For ideas on what to contribute, visit the Immigration and Iraq War pages developed by students at the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham Massachusetts.