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>The GOP’s "Environmental Wish List" is Horrifying

>The following appeared over at the environmentally conscientious blog treehugger.com, it’s an eye-opener for anyone that believes the environment is important and think that the GOP will stand behind their cause:

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave — or perhaps a lavish, sealed-off compound — for the last few months, you’re likely fully aware that the GOP is in full-bore Tea Partying mode. Which means ultra-anti-regulatory sentiment and pro-corporate cheer-leading rule the day. Man, that was a lot of hyphens. Anyhow, Republicans have seized their moment in the sun to pursue a bill known as the 3-D Act (Domestic Jobs, Domestic Energy and Deficit Reduction). It’s essentially what the New York Times calls “the right’s environmental wish list” — a series of 12 initiatives that include gutting the Clean Air Act, opening up pristine lands for drilling, and trampling the Endangered Species Act.

Here’s the abridged “wish list” from the NY Times, and my response to each entry:

1. Put oil and natural gas leasing on the Outer Continental shelf on a fast track, holding lease sales every nine months and making them dependent on commercial expressions of interest (rather than, say, ecosystem requirements) to determine what parcels should be leased. Ensure that a year after the bill becomes law, there will be three lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and one off the coast of Virginia.

In other words, this would put oil interests first and make ecological considerations near-obsolete. It would also mean much more drilling in the Gulf and off the East Coast.

2. Open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to an “environmentally sound program for the exploration, development and production of the oil and gas resources …”

Republicans have been after this for years, but there’s a reason they haven’t gotten it: Cleaning up oil spills in the Arctic, as we saw with the Exxon Valdez, is excruciatingly difficult — and spills therefore do immense damage to the native habitats and local economies.

3. Expedite lease sales for companies seeking to extract oil and natural gas from complex geologic formations like oil shale and tar sands in the West.

The GOP wants to bring the devastatingly destructive tar sands operation like the one in Alberta, Canada, to the United States. Remember, that operation produces what is considered the “dirtiest fuel on earth”.

4. Set a nine-month deadline for the environmental review of any federal action like such leasing.

Read: less talk, more drilling.

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