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Environmental Deadbeats

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 9/03/2016 Edward Flattau
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Don't be too sympathetic towards the Republican presidential candidates when they complain bitterly of being slandered by accusations they favor dirty air and water.
Of course they don't revel at the sight of pollution, but talk is cheap. Look at their priorities. Those are what incriminate them. Economics take precedence over (not instead of) human and environmental health. From a practical standpoint, dirty air and water get a leg up by default.
Despite the insistence of the candidates--and the GOP in general-- that they value a healthy environment as much as the next fellow, all espouse a policy to cut federally environmental regulations to the bone. They don't distinguish between the red tape that plagues daily routines and most everyone despises, and environmental regulations. The latter are supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans because of the associated public health benefits.
While the Republican candidates adamantly defend their environmental credentials, you have Donald Trump touting wild conspiracy theories. He asserts that climate change is a fabrication of the Chinese government designed to dupe us into squandering our resources and undermining our economy.
Texas Senator and presidential aspirant Ted Cruz charges that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by scientists looking for a funding spigot.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio takes the spineless, ideologically expedient position that climate change exists, but the degree of human responsibility, if any, is unclear. Hence the case for any costly, economically disruptive (and meaningful) remedial action at this juncture is unjustified.
Ohio Governor John Kasich advocates approximately the same position, cautioning that we shouldn't let our concern for the environment evolve into a worship of it. Indeed, Kasich, who is regarded as the most "moderate" of the remaining four Republican candidates, is also no environmental bargain. He has opposed sorely needed stricter regulation of the coal industry.
Despite a professed desire to tap all sources of energy, Kasich has delayed government implementation of a mandated renewable energy standard for his state. A toxic bloom in Lake Erie besieged the city of Toledo, Ohio, under his watch, and nothing of any consequence has been done to prevent a repeat performance.
In short, when accused of environmental insensitivity, the Republicans "doth protest" too loudly. Their platitudes should not conceal their true stance.
Whomever ends up the Democratic presidential nominee will presumably take the opposite tack on a broad range of environmental issues. If he or she then fails to exploit the stark differences of the parties to the fullest, the opportunity for a likely pivotal Election Day advantage will be lost.

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