Unsustainable campaign platforms make GOP candidates worst choice for environment

Lauren J. Mapp, Editor-in-Chief

With 2012’s presidential election rapidly approaching, the Republican Party is trying to narrow down their front running candidate to take on President Barack Obama in November, but there’s not one GOP candidate worthy of the title when it comes to keeping America’s environmental future in mind.

Republican primaries thus far have been a four-ring circus starring former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Ron Paul, former Sen. Rick Santorum and former Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Campaigning has often come down to letting the dirty laundry of fellow candidates air out in the past, but with this winter there seems to be far more mudslinging than ever before in the modern political era.

Whether discussing Romney’s Cayman Island accounts or Gingrich’s alleged extracurricular relations outside his marriages, the campaign trail has been somewhat skewed in what is truly important.

Outlandish assertions, such as Gingrich’s plan to build a moon colony, have also altered views of the candidates from their would-be constituents. Perhaps Gingrich wanted to be an astronaut before falling into the political battlefield, but his failed ploy to lure in a Floridian following made him sound like a madman at best.

All rumors, absurd statements and closeted demons aside, the real reasons of whether or not to vote for a candidate should ultimately come down to their views on certain key issues.

In today’s society, one of the biggest issues that people support across political party lines is working toward a more sustainable future. Unfortunately, the conservative Republican views that these candidates represent are antiquated, unsustainable and would set back America instead of helping the nation to progress for a better future.

If elected president, Paul would fight for offshore drilling, nuclear energy and coal-based fuel with detrimental side effects for the environment. As if it isn’t bad enough that he encourages increasing pollution in lieu of decreasing unsustainable practices, he also wants to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, according to RonPaul2012.com.

Romney, on a similar note, supports increasing the nuclear energy industry as well as domestic sources of oil and natural gas, as stated on MittRomney.com. He also wishes to eliminate carbon dioxide emission regulations from the Clean Air Act, even though such pollutants are major culprits in ozone depletion.

Through another route toward increasing domestic energy sources, Gingrich would give revenue incentives to coastal states so that they will be enticed to support offshore drilling, according to Newt.org.

Financing for cleaner energy sources is also part of Gingrich’s energy platform, but like Paul, he also supports eliminating the EPA. If elected, he would replace it with an “Environmental Solutions Agency” that would ultimately make its decisions based on how it would affect jobs and energy costs, not of the effects from such decisions on the environment.

Santorum, like his Republican colleagues, supports seeking and extracting domestic fuel sources, such as the natural gas research in his home state of Pennsylvania. He views environmentally-friendly regulations and legislation on fossil fuels as an attack against job creation, and wants to remove bans on offshore drilling according to RickSantorum.com

President Barack Obama – a reelection hopeful – continues to be the presidential candidate with the platform most strongly associated with resolving the nation’s energy crisis through sustainable measures.

After 2010’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Obama’s administration established heavier regulations on offshore drilling, according to BarackObama.com.

Air quality improvement is another one of his top priorities, and at his beckoning the EPA has recently established a groundbreaking emissions regulation proposal for coal and oil-based energy plants.

Increased utilization of renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines as well as research for technological advances in the automobile industry to increase gas mileage rates positively affect air quality also.

Regardless of one’s political affiliation, the increased use of fossil fuels and their pollution affect all citizens, and Obama’s measures in his first term make him the most apt choice for working toward a cleaner, safer planet.

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of contributing artist Jackie Williams