Cruz, Fischer and Mourdock: Three Tea Party Senate Candidates Versus the Environment.
Tea Party candidates defeated less extreme conservatives in three GOP Senate nominating contests. Their environmental views are ultra-Right Wing. These candidates should be right on your wavelength — if you think that there’s a plan for U.N. world domination, that EPA should be gutted or abolished, and that climate change is a deliberate hoax by scientists.
Ted Cruz is running in Texas. He says cap and trade is “the largest energy tax in history, which would take thousands of dollars from every family in America.” He accuses Obama of trying to ban fracking. (Some environmentalists devoutly wish that were true.)
Cruz is best known for his wild-eyed attack on a non-binding U.N. document on sustainable development. He wrote:
Under the guise of world sustainability the plan establishes a regime of rules that attempt to bypass Congress and the American people, handing over power over vast areas of the US economy to unelected UN bureaucrats. . . Agenda 21 attempts to abolish “unsustainable” environments, including golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads. . . .Agenda 21 subverts liberty, our property rights, and our sovereignty. There is no doubt that the vast majority of Americans would reject this naked power grab by unelected bureaucrats.
It’s a little hard to know what prompted this tirade. I’m guessing that Cruz’s references to paved roads and pastures relate to efforts to stop invasion of the Amazon by loggers and ranchers. Golf courses can be pretty unsustainable, but I don’t know anyone who wants to abolish the game of golf on principle (except for those who consider it unbearably boring to watch on TV). Cruz also overlooks a key provision of Agenda 21, which affirms that nation’s “sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental and developmental policies.”
Environmentalists may wish Agenda 21 did have the potential to force nations to take drastic environmental action. So far, it’s had very little effect. Imagining it to be a pathway to world domination by U.N. bureaucrats is a fantasy. If this is one of the most significant threats facing the nation, we must be in very good shape!
By the way, Cruz has been tapped to speak at the GOP National Convention, so Romney apparently doesn’t find his views that objectionable.
Deb Fischer is the Nebraska candidate. To her credit, she has issued a detailed energy plan, rather than limiting herself to sound bites. She’s less of a conspiracy theorist but staunchly anti-environmental. She favors expanded nuclear and coal power; drilling offshore and in the Arctic wilderness reserve (ANWR); and the Keystone pipeline. “We must expand coal power plants, whether it is our current coal-fired plants or newer clean coal technology.”
Fischer is opposed to cap-and-trade, because it would “ raise energy prices by 30%, increase taxes by over $1 trillion, and eliminate thousands of American jobs.” (Somewhat oddly, however, rather than wanting to abolish them completely, she favors “making the EPA’s current greenhouse gas regulations less restrictive, allowing businesses the flexibility to respond to market forces without stifling competition” – which is exactly the point of cap and trade.) As for EPA, it “must be reformed and possibly eliminated.”
Richard Mourdock is the GOP candidate in Indiana. His website says he “believes in creating jobs and economic opportunity by unleashing our Nation’s natural resource potential. He opposes any type of job killing ‘cap and trade’ or other similar legislation as proposed by the Obama administration.” He takes a conspiratorial view of climate science: “We are basing our energy policy on the greatest hoax of all time, which is that mankind is changing the climate.” (I’ll be posting more about Murdouck tomorrow.)
A NOTE ABOUT A FOURTH CANDIDATE: I was originally planning to discuss Todd Akin as part of the same group of Tea Party candidates, but his environmental views, while very conservative, are a bit different. Akin is running in Missouri. He is one of the less flamboyant candidates, but his campaign website underlines the word “conservative” just to be sure that no one misses the message. He doesn’t discuss the environment as such on that website, but he does assail EPA’s regulations of energy. As a member of the House, he earned a 9% rating from the League of Conservation Voters. That’s pretty low, but it is above zero. According to his House website, although he favors “common-sense steps to reduce CO2 emissions, without harming economic stability [such as] research into carbon neutral technologies,” he views scientific knowledge about climate change as inconclusive. The House website also says “In the last thirty years, this nation has also dramatically reduced the amount of major air pollutants. This success is due in large part to federal initiatives like the Clean Air Act and state and local programs that incentivize environmentally responsible behavior.” His willingness to acknowledge that EPA has actually had some positive achievements makes him a bit different from the other Tea Party-supported candidates.
Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…READ more