President Obama's betrayal of the environmental protection movement could cause him to lose his activist base and ruin his bid for re-election next year. That's the editorial opinion of "The Nation" magazine in its October 3rd issue and there's a lot to it.
"Obama has 13 months to persuade voters that they should blame not him but the GOP for his presidency's shortcomings. He has much less time to convince the thousands of activists nationwide---who do the grunt work of getting out the vote---that he's worth their sweat and sacrifices one more time," the editorial said.
While noting that Obama "has done some good things on the environment," including the fuel efficiency standards he pushed through this year, "he has done bad things as well, including opening vast tracts of the West to coal mining and providing much more funding to nuclear and fossil fuel than to green alternatives," "The Nation" said.
One of those "bad things," the liberal magazine charged, was his decision September 2nd "ordering the EPA to delay new regulations on ozone emissions because the rules pose undue 'burdens' on corporate polluters." Environmental activists want Obama to live up to the pledge he made when running for office that during his watch the global warming trend would slow.
Environmentalists want Obama to block the "climate-killing tar sands pipeline projected to run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico," "The Nation" said. That's the 1,700-mile-long Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to be built at a cost of $13 billion from Alberta and which would, in the words of activist Bill McKibben, "transport the dirtiest fossil fuel on earth" across the American heartland, including over the Ogallala aquifer.
Citing EPA's estimate the Alberta, Canada, tar sands, if burned, would emit 82% more greenhouse gases than conventional fossil fuels, one environmental activist called the pipeline "a fuse to the second-largest pool of carbon on the planet," after Saudi Arabia.
"If Obama approves the pipeline, explains Courtney Hight, his Florida youth-vote director in 2008 who was arrested in the protest outside the White House, 'it is just human nature that the resulting disappointment will sap the enthusiasm that drove us to work so hard last time." Hight was one of 1,253 arrested outside the White House in the two weeks ending September 3rd demonstrating against environmental degradation. It was the largest such pro-environmental non-violent protest in U.S. history.
By delaying his promised action against ozone emissions, the magazine said, Obama "repudiated science," as the independent panel of experts advising EPA were unanimous in recommending tougher regulations "which would reduce the incidence of child asthma and avoid 12,000 deaths a year."
"Obama blatantly double-cross environmentalists," the magazine said, "who were suing the EPA over these regulations when Obama took office. His aides persuaded them to drop the suit because Obama's EPA would soon strengthen the regulations."
"Overriding the EPA in this manner," the magazine continued, "sets an ominous precedent for the tar sands decision which Obama is scheduled to make by year's end."
Obama's action also undercut EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, raising questions about whether she will resign. If she does, the liberal weekly said, it will cost the administration "its strongest environmental voice."
The president has already turned off countless supporters by launching wars without first seeking the approval of Congress; by expanding the illegal use of drone assassinations; by taking it upon himself to assassinate American citizens without a court order; by failing to close Guantanamo prison; by compromising on universal health care; and by following the pro-Big Oil /CIA policy line, which calls for building a pipeline across Afghanistan.
There's some suspense as to whether Obama will decide for or against the Keystone XL pipeline route from Canada, until, of course, one looks at his war in Afghanistan and all the blood he is spilling there to secure control of that pipeline route. Any wagers? #
(Sherwood Ross is an American public relations consultant who also writes on military and political topics.)