October 12, 2012 by Albert Ross
By Favoring Money Romney Cements His Disregard for Environment
Much of this year’s presidential election campaign has focused on the economy. While that’s certainly no great surprise, one topic that must be prioritized is the environment. Mitt Romney’s vow to de-regulate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to appease his fossil fuel burning donors clearly demonstrates he favors making money over protecting the environment. His blatant disregard for the environment is there for everyone to see. Why the Obama campaign hasn’t made more of this issue remains something of a mystery.
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have polarizing views when it comes to renewable energy, and of course government subsidies that fund the research and development of them. There is a very important reason why Romney is not willing to embrace energy sources such as wind and solar. The vast majority of his campaign financing comes from major players in the fossil fuel business. Super PACs such as Americans for Prosperity, Restore Our Future, Champions for Change, and American Crossroads are funded by oil, coal, natural gas and construction corporations who share Romney’s view that a less obtrusive EPA will enable them to flourish and prosper.
Renewable energy subsidies are crucially important as they not only help protect the environment but help reduce air polluting greenhouse gases. Helping to develop an industry that not only creates jobs but also protects the environment for the future generations would seem like a no-brainer, but Mitt Romney does not see it that way. Romney has stated that, if elected, he will put an end to the Production Tax Credit which provides tax relief to wind and solar power companies claiming they are a drain on the federal budget. Yet he plans to keep the $40 million tax breaks given to the nonrenewable, environmentally destructive oil, coal, and gas companies, even though they are financially secure and evidently do not need federal subsidies for research and development.
It only takes a quick glance toward where Romney gets the bulk of his campaign funding from to discover the full extent of his blatant disregard for the environment. Rather than protecting the environment the only thing Romney is interested in protecting is the interests of his wealthy backers. Romney’s supporters appear to share his disdain for the environment. William Koch’s Oxbow Carbon firm specializes in production petroleum coke, a key component used in cement manufacturing. Bob Perry’s home building and construction empire, Perry Homes, also happens to use a lot of cement.
Harold Simmons’ Contran firm mines titanium, along with transporting and storing toxic waste. Scott Tucker has used profits from his plastic molding manufacturing firm, Speciality Medical Supplies, to invest in lucrative leasing operations in the West Virginian coal mining market. Oil baron Steven Webster was dubbed “Dr Drill” by Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson in May this year. Dickinson’s piece went on to add that Webster’s R&B Falcon firm was the first owner of the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon rig.
Hotel tycoons Richard Marriott and Bill Marriott Jr. are no strangers to construction and cement either. Dickinson’s Rolling Stone piece stated that “Bill (Marriott Jr.) has publicly backed immigration reform to create a legal pool of foreign-born workers for their hotels. This may go some way to explaining Romney’s unusually liberal stance on immigration. If nothing else it explains the lengths he is willing to go to in order to ensure his backers keep making those donations.
Romney has stated that he intends to boost the economy by cutting regulations on fossil fuel producers and making more money available for coal mining and oil drilling companies to expand and grow. According to the Christian Science Monitor he also intends to revise the Clean Air Act to remove the restrictions placed on greenhouse gas emissions so that coal burning plants can operate more cheaply. These changes will not only severely hamper the EPA’s ability to protect Americans – but more importantly future generations from the negative impact of air pollution.
Federal subsidies can help both wind and solar energy to create jobs for Americans while at the same time helping to reduce the environmental damage done by the emission of greenhouse gasses. Romney’s shortsighted view that protecting the assets and wealth of his dirty industrialist supporters is more of a priority than protecting the air that our children breathe is hard to fathom for people who can’t ignore the environmental damage caused by the continual burning of fossil fuels. / image by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com