Responding to the outcome of the United States congressional elections, Kyle Ash, Senior Legislative Representative for Greenpeace USA, writes:
WASHINGTON — American voters today made it crystal clear that they have had enough of politicians — all politicians. And who can blame them when it’s the politicians who have failed to come together to find solutions for, or punish the real culprits of the greatest environmental catastrophe this country has ever seen in the Gulf oil spill, and the burgeoning threat of global climate change? When added to a massive financial crisis, which the people will feel for years to come no matter what the bankers say, it is clear that the cash from big business is dictating American politics.
Industry dollars have made a mockery of democracy in America, polluting not only our air, water and communities, but nearly every political campaign. Dirty energy magnates like the Koch brothers spent more of their fortunes, earned on the backs of American communities, to elect congressional candidates who will support their destructive profit motives. The defeat of Proposition 23 is a win for California’s efforts to address the urgency of global warming, but it is the first in a salvo of assaults we can now expect nationwide on existing laws that were passed to ensure that Americans have clean air and clean water.
Although many Senators- and Representatives-elect have professed horrifying positions on the protection of endangered species, our national parks, and even basic rights of Americans to live in a clean environment, they have also maintained a commitment to fiscal responsibility. If these positions are genuine, the newly elected should slash the billions of taxpayer dollars wasted every year in subsidies for wealthy coal and oil companies like BP.
We should also be able to work with the presumed Speaker-to-be John Boehner to ensure that modern technology requirements to eliminate pollution from outmoded coal-fired power plants are implemented and that minimum federal standards are established to prevent another toxic coal ash disaster like the one that occurred in Kingston, Tennessee, in 2008. The EPA has identified forty-nine high hazard sites like the one in Kingston nationwide and six are in Representative Boehner’s own state of Ohio.
In this election, we have repeatedly heard damaging rhetoric about fundamental environmental protections. Now is not the time for knee-jerk reactions on matters of such import and urgency to the health of our nation. No matter where it comes from, we need leadership to defend our environment from what are sure to be vicious industry attacks in the coming years.”