Update of 2012 Presidential Candidates on Environmental Issues

Not everyone is an expert at everything, which is why we listen to the people who devote their life to the study of a particular subject, like doctors. If a doctor told me, ‘Yep, your leg is broken. Don’t walk on it for 4 months.” I would be inclined to take his word for it. Now, not everyone is perfect and doctors make mistakes too. Not only am I listening to what he says, but most likely I would look at the research that led him to this conclusion: swelling, x-rays, and immense pain (although when I broke my hand there wasn’t any pain, so it was quite the leap of faith).

I’m a big supporter of independent thinking, but there’s a difference between trying to not be a blind follower and blatantly ignoring evidence. So, one of the problems I have with people who say “climate change is a hoax,” is, ok, where’s your degree, where’s your years of research and devotion to the answer, and where’s your evidence? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so let’s put the reality of climate change aside. My next question is, were you the kid who ran through my sand castle when I was seven? What’s the point of being destructive and shouldn’t we be striving to achieve a healthy relationship with the environment and ecosystem?

We depend on the environment for so many things, and in fact there are so many benefits (including money!). I don’t want to get into it but I’d also like to point out our water crisis. Investing in the environment is worth that alone, in addition to everything else.

There are too many factors and no one will have all the same opinions as mine, so the main thing I take away from all this banter is not so much if their environmental opinions are the same as mine, but how they came to their own conclusions and opinions. If someone’s response to carbon dioxide danger is, “Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is,” (Santorum) then I know he definitely hasn’t given it serious thought. Even simple reasoning is that too much of anything is dangerous (i.e. water intoxication). But even worse, he isn’t capable of comprehending complex issues, which is probably important for someone running a country.

Travis had previously written article of some of the candidate’s position on environmental issues, so below is an update. Most of the information is based on their statements and some on how they voted. You can click through the sources to find full statements.


Gingrich (R, Georgia – Speaker of the House)

  • EPA should not regulate dust storms in Iowa. (Jan 2012)
  • Let oil and natural gas industries drill offshore reserves now blocked from development, end restrictions on Western oil shale development.
  • In 2007 and 2009, made statements supportive of forms of cap-and-trade. On Dec 11, 2011 said, “I’ve never favored cap-and-trade.
  • Critical Katrina recovery by energetic church volunteers. (Jun 2011)
  • Replace EPA with new Environmental Solutions Agency, devoted to scientific research and “more energy, more jobs, and a better environment simultaneously. (Feb 2011)
  • Katrina’s collapse of New Orleans was avoidable. (Dec 2007)
  • Boston’s Big Dig was a classic pork barrel project. (Dec 2007)
  • Made an ad with Dem. Pelosi in 2008 urging steps to address human contribution to climate change – soon after “I don’t think that we have conclusive proof of global warming. And I don’t think we have conclusive proof that humans are at the center of it.”
  • Reject apocalyptic warnings; they only lead to higher taxes. (Dec 2007)
  • Greatest environment dangers are poverty & command bureaucracy. (Sep 2007)
  • Combine healthy environment and a healthy economy. (Dec 2006)
  • Early 1980s: co-sponsored Endangered Species Act. (Jun 1995)
  • Regulating 15 more contaminants under Clean Water Act. (Oct 1993)

Paul (R, Texas)

  • Stop considering manure as pollutant or hazardous. (Sep 2011)
  • Remove restrictions on drilling, coal and nuclear power.
  • Recycling consumes more energy than it saves. (Apr 2011)
  • Repeal requirements for compact fluorescent bulbs. (Jan 2011)
  • Voted NO on $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers program. (Jul 2009)
  • Voted NO on protecting free-roaming horses and burros. (Jul 2009)
  • In 2008, said “human activity probably does play a role” in global warming and part of the solution should be to stop subsidizing the oil industry and let prices rise until the free market turns to alternate energy sources. Now calls the science on manmade global warming a “hoax.”
  • Make tax deduction permanent for conservation easements. (Mar 2009)
  • Voted NO on environmental education grants for outdoor experiences. (Sep 2008)
  • Voted NO on $9.7B for Amtrak improvements and operation thru 2013. (Jun 2008)
  • Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation. (May 2008)
  • Voted NO on tax incentives for renewable energy. (Feb 2008)
  • Give tax breaks for start-up farms for 10-year commitment. (Jan 2008)
  • Neglected property rights during the industrial revolution. (Jan 2008)
  • Property rights are the foundation of all rights. (Sep 2007)
  • Scored 14% on Humane Society Scorecard on animal protection. (Jan 2007)
  • Voted NO on increasing AMTRAK funding by adding $214M to $900M. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted YES on barring website promoting Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump. (May 2006)
  • Voted NO on speeding up approval of forest thinning projects. (Nov 2003)
  • Rated 5% by the LCV, indicating anti-environment votes. (Dec 2003)

 Romney (R, Massachusetts)

  • Cross-border pollution matters; so build natural gas system. (Jan 2012)
  • Accelerate drilling permits in areas where exploration has already been approved for developers with good safety records.
  • Says cap-and-trade would “rocket energy prices.”
  • Supports exploitation of shale oil deposits. Wants to reduce obstacles to coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy development.
  • “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.” (As of Dec 2011)
  • “I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that.” (June 2011)
  • Proposes to remove carbon dioxide from the list of pollutants controlled by Clean Air Act.
  • Supported cap-and-trade program as Mass. Governor, but now has reversed position
  • States should be able to have their own emissions standards. (Jan 2008)
  • Response to Big Dig death shows how Romney handles crises. (Mar 2007)
  • Clean environment will be a campaign theme. (Mar 2002)

Santorum (R, Pennsylvania)

  • Favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Wants to scale back “oppressive regulation” hindering drilling elsewhere.
  • Nature is a subtle web of intricate connections. (Apr 2006)
  • Voted NO on including oil & gas smokestacks in mercury regulations. (Sep 2005)
  • Voted NO on reducing oil usage by 40% by 2025 (instead of 5%). (Jun 2005)
  • Voted NO on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Mar 2005)
  • Rated 0% by the LCV, indicating anti-environment votes. (Dec 2003)
  • Voted YES on confirming Gale Norton as Secretary of Interior. (Jan 2001)
  • Voted YES on more funding for forest roads and fish habitat. (Sep 1999)
  • Voted NO on transportation demo projects. (Mar 1998)
  • Voted NO on reducing funds for road-building in National Forests. (Sep 1997)

Obama (D, Illinois – POTUS)

  • Promised that anyone losing job in spill would get BP check. (Nov 2010)
  • Government should invest in clean energy & green jobs. (Oct 2008)
  • $150B over next 10 years for green energy sector. (Aug 2008)
  • Support reforestation as carbon sequestration issue. (Jul 2008)
  • Inter-state compact for Great Lakes water resources. (Jul 2008)
  • Willing to suspend ethanol subsidy to keep food prices down. (May 2008)
  • Genesis teaches stewardship of earth: sacrifice for future. (Apr 2008)
  • Regulate animal feeding operations for pollution. (Feb 2008)
  • Will end the notion of Yucca Mountain nuclear storage. (Jan 2008)
  • Promote green technologies and fuel efficiency standards. (Dec 2007)
  • Organized inner-city recycling; fought environmental racism. (Oct 2007)
  • Reduce mercury and lead to protect community health. (Aug 2007)
  • Protect the Great Lakes & our National Parks and Forests. (Aug 2007)
  • Passed lead abatement & 24 other laws in IL Senate. (Aug 2007)
  • Sponsored health impact bill for environmental health. (Apr 2006)
  • Health Care for Hybrids proposal for fuel efficiency. (Mar 2007)
  • Strengthen prohibitions against animal fighting. (Jan 2007)
  • Scored 60% on Humane Society Scorecard on animal protection. (Jan 2007)
  • Tax credit to remove lead-based house paint. (Nov 2005)
  • Voted YES on including oil & gas smokestacks in mercury regulations. (Sep 2005)

sources: the environmental blogtotal buzz – environmenttotal buzz – energyontheissue – environmentontheissues – energy


One comment

  1. Thanks for providing information about presidential candidates on environmental issues for me, will try to bookmark it and share it to my entire network. Thank you.

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