As we swing into the fall elections, we’re looking at the presidential nominees and their official stances on the environment. We began last week on the Republican side of the ticket and this week we’re covering the Democratic incumbent, Barack Obama. All the source material for today’s post came off the Official Barack Obama website.
To start, President Obama lists “Energy and the Environment” as an issue, which is an encouraging start. Let’s examine what he specifically lists there.
President Obama enacted the largest expansion of land and water conservation and protected wilderness in a generation. He also created the America’s Great Outdoors initiative to develop a community-led conservation and recreation agenda for the 21st century.
Protecting land from development is a great idea, as is water conservation. Our country currently faces water shortages in various regions.
The President made an agreement with auto manufacturers to improve the overall fuel economy of the nation’s passenger auto fleet to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025—nearly twice the 27.5 miles per gallon standard that was in place when he took office.
Obviously when you’re talking fuel independence, fuel efficiency is a huge part of the equation. Auto manufacturers have been prepared to go this route, they only required someone to force their hand on the issue.
Under President Obama’s direction, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued the first-ever national standards for mercury emissions and other dangerous toxins from coal- and oil-fired power plants.
The new regulations for clean air is something President Obama’s opponent seeks to undermine.
President Obama has set a 10-year goal to develop and deploy cost-effective clean coal technology, and to put online several commercial demonstration projects within four years
Enviro Girl doesn’t completely agree with coal mining. President Obama is committed to making coal mining safer and cleaner. Enviro Girl wishes he’d make coal mining less necessary.
One of the main points on President Obama’s website is the “All of the Above” approach to energy independence. President Obama wants the United States to provide for its own energy needs, and to that end he’s willing to continue to expand on nuclear, solar, wind, gas, oil, biofuels and coal. While Enviro Girl agrees that the solution to energy independence will require tapping a variety of sources, she bemoans the fact that energy conservation isn’t a bigger part of his plan. In short, President Obama’s plan is to develop more renewable and nonrenewable resources for us to burn. This includes continued support for ethanol production and more domestic drilling, which Enviro Girl thinks is a short-sighted solution to our fuel needs. The only conservation point President Obama makes is fuel economy in automobiles. In her view, the President should make conservation part of his plan.
In his most recent State of the Union address, President Obama reiterated his commitment to lessening America’s dependence on foreign oil and investing in clean energy to protect our environment and create jobs.
The President has announced the opening of public lands for investments in clean energy, and he has committed his administration to approve projects by the end of 2012 that will increase renewable generation capacity to power 3 million homes.
Much like his opponent, President Obama relies heavily on oil.
On one hand, at least President Obama includes the environment as one of his talking points, and he emphasizes clean air and some renewable energy sources. On the other hand, Enviro Girl does not think his agenda includes enough–there are many environmental issues at stake in America’s future, yet the candidates only address energy, the one issue most closely tied to economics. This strikes Enviro Girl as a real shame. Given the choice between the Republican and Democratic candidates for this office in November, the environmental scoresheet has a lot of blanks, but President Obama seems to fit the bill better than Mitt Romney.