Yesterday, Republicans finalized their platform at the RNC. Unfortunately, the platform does not include environmental protection as a core value, and in many ways represents a major step away from the traditional conservation values of the the Republican Party.
Here are the 6 things the platform says about the environment that you should know:
1. Climate change science isn’t “unbiased or based on hard facts”
The GOP platform rejects the overwhelming consensus of scientists that climate change is real and the result of human activity. It calls the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change a “political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution” because the Panel does not sway decisions based on the fringe minority of scientists who deny climate change.
Because the platform doesn’t acknowledge the serious threat of climate change, it also rejects the Paris Agreement and Kyoto Protocol, the world’s best shot at meaningful climate action.
2. The agriculture industry must have fewer regulations
The platform claims that the agricultural sector is hindered by excessive regulation. However, as demonstrated each year in Lake Erie and the Ohio River, agricultural pollution is leading to record breaking levels of toxic algae. Right now, Florida is also experiencing one of the worst toxic algae outbreaks in decades, which is wreaking havoc on the tourism and recreation industry.
While Ohioans support our farmers and appreciate the steps many are taking to reduce their pollution, much more needs to be done to protect our drinking water and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on Ohio’s waterways.
3. Kill the Clean Power Plan for good
The Clean Power Plan is the US’s first-ever rules to curb carbon pollution from power plants. Coal-fired power plants are the biggest source of climate warming, asthma-inducing pollution in our country and the CPP is a measured and necessary step we must take. The platform refers to the CPP as the centerpiece of President Obama’s “war on coal.”
In the section on the Failed Foreign policy strategy, the Platform states that the current Administration (presumably wrongfully) “elevates ‘climate change’ to the level of a ‘severe threat’ equivalent to foreign aggression. The word ‘climate,’ in fact, appears in the current President’s strategy more often than Al Qaeda, nuclear proliferation, radical Islam, or weapons of mass destruction.”
The Platform calls on Congress to take quick action to prohibit the EPA from moving forward with new greenhouse gas regulations that “will harm the nation’s economy and threaten millions of jobs over the next quarter century.”
4. Sell off public lands for mining, drilling, and logging
The GOP platform proposes to turn over federal public lands to state governments and private interests, to give state governments the power to sell off all federal public lands for strip mining and fracking, to make it harder for US presidents to protect national monuments, and to eliminate protections for endangered species.
The platform also supports a federal judge’s recent decision to strike down the Bureau of Land Management’s additional safeguards for hydraulic fracturing on public lands.
5. Increase reliance on coal
The Platform refers to coal as an abundant and “clean” energy source. Here’s what one Republican and clean energy entrepreneur has to say about the Party’s strong stance on coal and stifling of clean energy innovation.
6. Gut the US EPA
The platform also proposes to weaken the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, and to dissolve the US EPA and replace it with a political commission that has little to no regulatory authority.
You can read the full Republican Platform here.