Some Reflections on the Elections

by Robert Gardner

November 3, 2010

Last night was an interesting night.

I’d like to weigh in a little bit about the election, who really won, and the impact of dirty money on this election cycle.

Clearly, Big Oil and King Coal won last night. Pure and simple.

Voters have made it crystal clear that they have had enough of politicians — all politicians. We can’t blame them for not trusting the people who have consistently failed to find solutions for, or punish the real culprits of environmental crimes like the Gulf oil spill — let alone adequately address global climate change.
Koch Brothers Climate Criminals Wanted Poster
It’s clear we needed a change away from politicians that take record amounts of money from the coal and oil industry – but that didn’t happen last night.

Polluting industry has a new set of their friends in positions of power to play with.

Industry dollars have made a mockery of democracy in America. Industry pollutes our air, water and communities – now they’ve gone ahead and reached their tentacles into every political campaign. Dirty energy magnates like the Koch brothers spent more of their fortunes to elect congressional candidates who will support their destructive profit motives.

We know that the fight over Proposition 23 is an indication of the future. We can expect an assault on time-tested, demonstrably effective laws that were passed to ensure that Americans have clean air and clean water. They’ve targeted the Clean Air Act and there is already discussion about attempts to derail critically needed upcoming EPA rules – rules designed to protect human and environmental health.

That said, the future is bright. The fight over Proposition 23 is an example of how people can see right through industry attacks. Environmentalists, the clean technologies sector, IT companies, and local organizations saw this as a threat to their economic future and job creation ability – they fought back and won.

We challenge our new representatives to swear off corporate dollars and be truly independent. Show that you are a true representative of the people – not industry. Greenpeace has.

Although many Senators- and Representatives-elect have professed horrifying positions on the protection of endangered species, our national parks, and even basic rights of Americans to live in a clean environment, they have also maintained a commitment to fiscal responsibility. If these positions are genuine, the newly elected should slash the billions of taxpayer dollars wasted every year in subsidies for wealthy coal and oil companies like BP.

Speaker-to-be John Boehner is among many incumbent Republicans who have focused strict attention on effect use of taxpayer dollars. This is why he should help ensure that modern and cost-effective technology requirements to eliminate pollution from outmoded coal-fired power plants are implemented and that minimum federal standards are established to prevent another toxic coal ash disaster like the one that occurred in Kingston, Tennessee, in 2008. The EPA has identified forty-nine high hazard sites like the one in Kingston nationwide and six are in Representative Boehner’s own state of Ohio.

These new representatives need to get serious about standing up to polluting industry and protecting the people in their own state…otherwise it is clear that they are just politicians out to serve corporate interests. In that case, doesn’t seem like it was much an eventful night.

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