Yesterday at the DNC, delegates finalized what is being touted as one of the most progressive platforms in the party’s history. While Republicans took a wrong turn from their party’s traditional conservation values this election year, the Democratic Platform embraces environmental protection at full force — making strides to address climate change, “one of the biggest threats of our generation.”
Here are 7 environmental issues highlighted in the Democratic Platform you should know about:
1. Bolstering clean energy and reducing emissions
In the next ten years, the Democrats pledge that 50% of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources and greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by 80% by 2050. By cutting energy waste in industries, investing in renewable energy, and implementing clean and efficient manufacturing, the Party vows to protect the planet while also creating jobs in sustainable development.
The Platform also calls for cleaner vehicles and expansions in public transportation. Taking a stand against big industry polluters, Democrats are promising an end on tax breaks and subsidies for large fossil fuel companies. Instead they want to see incentives for renewable energy.
2. Eliminating environmental racism
The Platform defines clean air and water as “basic rights,“ and seeks to eliminate “environmental racism,” or the disproportionate burden low income, predominantly minority communities face from water and air pollution. The Platform proposes working to lower the cost of accessible renewable energy to low income households
3. Creating clean energy jobs
When energy was discussed at the RNC, it was often brought up in reference to reviving jobs in dying fossil fuel industries. Republicans attack clean energy initiatives for hurting energy production and employment. However, the Democratic Platform proposes job creation while helping the environment. It says American businesses should invest in global clean energy to encourage competitive eco-friendly jobs. Democrats are also planning to aid former coal workers and their families in the inevitable transition to the clean energy economy. .
4. Prosecuting companies that ignore the risks of climate change
In a rather controversial point, the Platform calls upon the Department of State to investigate fossil fuel companies for corporate fraud if they mislead their shareholders or the public on the “scientific reality of climate change.”
5. Eradicating lead exposure
To prevent situations like the tragedy in Flint, Michigan, Democrats are working to end lead exposure, which is especially harmful to children. In addition, they will focus on hiring and training workers to clean up toxic areas.
We encourage other states and the federal government to follow Ohio’s lead in eliminating lead from drinking water. Our state just finalized the most protective lead in drinking water standards in the country!
6. Protecting natural lands and waterways
Another noteworthy point in the Platform — conserving public lands and waterways — aims to preserve natural resources, increase public access to natural lands and parks, protect native and endangered wildlife, and take advantage of the “economic and social potential” of public lands and waters. Democrats want to establish an “American Parks Trust Fund,” which will create new outdoor spaces, develop recreational programs, and rejuvenate existing parks. Finally, the Platform supports stopping fossil fuel drilling on public lands, and instead proposes using federal land to expand renewable energy production.
7. Closing the Halliburton Loophole
The Halliburton loophole stripped EPA of the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing and exempts companies from having to reveal certain chemicals used in the fracking process. Closing the loophole would help protect drinking water for communities near heavy oil and gas development. It would also allow for better regulation of the industry.
You can read the full platform here.