A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Monday, April 23, 2012

Romney, Show Mother Some Love

And by Mother, I mean Mother Earth.  Yesterday was Earth Day, in case you missed it.
Google's 2012 Earth Day Doodle

I'm a big fan of the earth, and I'm operating under the assumption that you are also a fan.  I mean, we all like to breathe, right?  Simply put, I think that we need to take good care of our Mother Earth.  It's a precious place, and from a religious point of view I believe it's a sacred trust.  We need to leave this earth clean and healthy for all the generations that will follow ours.

That is why I find it sad that Governor Romney literally has no environmental policy on his website.  He doesn't even have time to devote to policies that safeguard our Mother Earth!  The closest thing that he has is to an environmental policy is an energy policy.

So let me start by saying, I think it's extremely sad that Romney is only looking at the earth with a "what's in it for me?" mentality.  D&C 59:18 states that one of the primary purposes for which God created the earth is "...to please the eye and gladden the heart..."  In other words, earth is not just here for us to exploit and pillage - we should be in the business of conserving and caring for Mother Earth, and keeping it beautiful.

So, because he lacks an environmental policy, let's examine Romney's energy policy.  It has three main prongs.

Significant Regulatory Reform
Romney wants to streamline energy regulations.  I actually have no problem with this.  Too often projects that will create jobs and be good for our country are hampered by regulations.  I think this is a good and smart thing to do, with the caveat that we don't use this as excuse to weaken environmental regulations.  These rules are there to prevent market forces from doing something that may make money in the short term, but in the long term is bad for the earth.  Too often, "regulatory reform" is used as code for "no regulations."  I think we need sensible regulations, so I'm with Romney on this, I would just like to see more specifics.

Increasing Production
This part of the plan is all about increasing production of gas and oil.  Again, this is emphasizing only the "me" in environment.  And, as constant online ads have been reminding me, under President Obama we have increased oil and gas production every year.  I have two problems with Romney's policy (which, to be fair, isn't laid out in much detail, so maybe he has plans to mitigate the negatives here).
#1: Romney's website states that he would "open America's energy reserves for development."  To me, this means opening up ecologically sensitive areas to drilling, which would harm wildlife, landscapes, and leave behind chemicals for generations.  I believe that we have a duty to protect God's creations, even if that means we pay higher prices for gas.  There are reasons that certain areas are off-limits - it's because they would harm this amazingly beautiful world we live in!
#2: Under this header, Romney's website also contains a bullet point that he would "prevent overregulation of shale gas development and extraction."  What the what?  Actually, shale gas development is very LIGHTLY regulated right now.  I'm not a huge fan of "fracking" - which is basically pumping water with chemicals into the ground in order to get gas.  I think if you're doing this, you should be subject to some regulations.  This is an activity that can pollute groundwater - THAT IS THE STUFF YOU DRINK, PEOPLE!  So, I am not a fan of this policy either.

Research and Development
This prong of Romney's plans has some innocuous sounding bullet points, and a subtle jab at Obama for seeking to fund specific energy alternatives like wind and solar.  I'm happy to see, however, that Romney does believe that government can be a helpful force in energy policy, so I'll give him a few points for that.  BUT, I really do believe that if we're going to beat China (which is heavily investing in alternative energy sources) then, we will need government investment in making energy alternatives like wind and solar more cost effective.

Bottom Line: Romney has some good ideas in this area, but when I read here (on Fox News, no less!) that Romney opposes stricter emission standards for cars, I realized once again that I will be voting for President Obama in November.  I'll save the greenhouse debate for another day, but I'll state here that I believe in man made global warming, and I believe it will destroy the delicate balance of earth if we let it continue.  If you're curious, you can read President Obama's policy on energy AND the environment here.

Just for fun, here's a beautiful hymn about the earth (you deserve it if you've read this far).

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