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Peter Dykstra: Jurassic politics. – EHN

Peter Dykstra: Jurassic politics. – EHN

Important environmental passings in 2021

Let’s say we were talking about environmental politics in a Jurassic Park setting.


First, you will need to take genetic material from an extinct animal: office-holding Republicans with strong environmental credentials. Then, rebuild the species over time using the green DNA from Republicans past, such as Bob Inglis and Sherwood Boehlert.

The Green Hornet

Boehlert, a New York upstate Congressman, was elected to 12 terms. The Green Hornet was his nickname. He led the effort against the anti-regulatory efforts of his fellow Republicans following the capture of Congress by Contract With America in 1994.

He led the charge for the Clean Air Act’s strengthening in 1990-91. The Clean Air provisions were crucial in turning the tide against acid rain.

BoehlertHe also worked with Joe Biden, the former Senator, in bi-partisan efforts for Amtrak’s rescue. He retired from Congress after serving as a strong pro-environment voice during retirement. Sherwood Boehlert died last September.

Bob Inglis

Inglis represented South Carolina’s fourth congressional district from 1993-1999 and again from 2005-2011. Inglis was late to environmental issues and had a low 26% lifetime score at the League of Conservation Voters.

He later accepted climate change as an issue to which his constituents in coastal Low Country South Carolina could respond. It was not so. Inglis faced a variety of GOP challengers in his seventh campaign. Trey Gowdy, a local prosecutor was the eventual winner. In his brief career as a congressman, Gowdy’s most notable accomplishment was his relentless pursuit of Hillary Clinton in Benghazi.

The two GOP green giants

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon was the father of the Environmental Protection Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and he signed the Endangered Species Act and Clean Air Act into law. (Credit: manhhai/flickr)

The two Republican Presidents, both Republicans, are often mentioned because of their environmental achievements. Teddy Roosevelt supported National Parks and the Forest Service.

Richard Nixon, Ol Treehugger, was the father of the Environmental Protection Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and he signed into law the Endangered Species Act and Clean Air Act.

Ronald Reagan, another Republican giant, was the one who put today’s dilemma in perspective. In 1984’s State of the Union, Reagan stated that the preservation of the environment isn’t a liberal or conservative problem. It’s commonsense.

Okay, Reagans scandal-plagued EPA/Interior Dept. Some bosses might think that common sense has not yet arrived. It would be a great improvement if Mr. Reagan’s GOP heirs couldn’t even get back at false platitudes about environment.

“Not some distant crisis”

Tiernan Sittenfeld (LCVs Senior Vice President of Government Affairs) was my question about the prospects that Republicans will wake up and smell the carbon.

They aren’t there. She replied that hope springs eternal. This isn’t a distant crisis.

Is there a Great Green Hope?

See Also

Miami-area Congressman Carlos CurbeloHe briefly held the position of co-Chair of Congressional Climate Caucus. In 2018, he lost his reelection bid.

It is a stretch to assume that the Democrats will speak with one voice about climate change. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchinis perhaps familiar with him is still poised to defend the coal industry in his home state.

Peter Dykstra is our weekend editor/columnist. He can be reached at: pdykstra@ehn.org @pdykstra.

His views may not reflect those of Environmental Health News, The Daily Climate or publisher Environmental Health Sciences.

Banner photo: Former U.S. Inglis (R – SC) was Congressman in 2017. (Credit: MIT)

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