Friday, May 4, 2012
In the current Republican presidential primary, environmental protection is not a value that Republican candidates have held out. In fact, we have seen just the opposite. To win over support in a debate, Michele Bachmann promised, “Elect me and I'll kill the EPA.” Others candidates have also called for elimination and scaling back of the Agency. Crowds surrounding the candidates have often begun chanting or caring signs that say, “Drill baby, drill.” Environmental scientists have been not only questioned but also have been demonized for the conclusions they have drawn about global climate change.
This morning, I reviewed the Republican platform of 1972. The contrasts between the Republican Party of 1972 and the GOP of today in many ways are even more pronounced than the contrasts between the current Republican and Democratic parties. In 1972, the Party highlighted the fact that President Nixon created not only the EPA but also the Council on Environmental Quality and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As for energy, the Party called for development of renewable energy sources, particularly solar and geothermal, and went on to say, “We recognize the serious problem of assuring adequate electric generating capacity in the Nation, and pledge to meet this need without doing violence to our environment.” As for science, the Party saw it as “indispensable to our national security, our international competitive position, and virtually every aspect of the domestic economy” and pledged to “place special emphasis” in pursing breakthroughs in developing “abundant, clean energy sources” and “safe, fast and pollution-free transportation.”
While times have changed, as have some of the challenges we face, it is hard to believe it is the same party. Perhaps it’s not.
-- Brigham Daniels