Robert Redford in a HuffPost repost
One reason I supported President Obama is because he said we must protect clean air, water and lands. But what good is it to say the right thing unless you act on it?
Since early August, three administration decisions — on Arctic drilling, the Keystone XL pipeline and the ozone that causes smog — have all favored dirty industry over public health and a clean environment. Like so many others, I’m beginning to wonder just where the man stands.
For months, the Environmental Protection Agency has been poised to issue new ozone rules to reduce the smog that causes asthma attacks and other respiratory ills. We badly need these new standards, which the EPA estimates could prevent 12,000 premature deaths a year.
On Friday, though, the White House put the new rules on ice. The result: these vital protections will be delayed until at least 2013 – conveniently after next year’s presidential election.
The week before, the State Department gave a preliminary green light to the proposed Keystone XL, a pipeline that would carry crude oil from Canadian tar sands to Texas refineries.
If this pipeline wins final approval from the administration in the coming months, it will wed our energy future to the dirtiest oil on the planet. It will invest this country in one of the most destructive mining practices ever devised. And it will put farmers, ranchers and cropland at risk across the great plains of the American heartland. That’s why the Republican governor of Nebraska came out against it this week.
And just last month, the Interior Department gave conditional approval to Shell Oil’s plan to begin drilling four exploratory wells in the Arctic waters off of Alaska’s North Slope as early as next summer. Congress has yet to pass a single law strengthening offshore drilling safeguards in the wake of last year’s BP blowout, and we’re giving Shell the go-ahead to drill in some of the nation’s most fertile fishing grounds, in waters that are iced in eight months each year and in a location a five-day journey by ship from the nearest Coast Guard station.
What’s going on here?
In all three cases, the administration’s decisions have come in the face of a withering industry lobbying campaign based on the usual mix of fear mongering and lies.