Background on Environment

Some hot topics in the 2016 election cycle:

Some older topics rom previous election cycles:

  • Hurricane Katrina: Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on August 29, 2005, and breached the levies surrounding the city. Much of New Orleans was flooded, resulting in over 700 deaths and thousands of permanently lost homes. At issue politically is who was responsible for ignoring the warnings about levy breaches. Democrats blame President George W. Bush, who infamously claimed about FEMA director Michael Brown, while visiting New Orleans, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." Republicans blame Louisiana's Democratic governor and New Orleans' Democratic mayor. Lessons learned focus on more preparedness; in later hurricanes, the federal and state governments have both been much more cautious, some say over-cautious.

  • Hurricane Sandy: Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, just south of New York City, on October 29, 2012. Much of the NYC metropolitan area was flooded, resulting in about 150 deaths and about $100 billion in damages. President Obama declared a state of emergency prior to landfall, part of the cautiousness resulting from Hurricane Katrina. Questions persist about whether global warming caused the intensity of Hurricane Sandy, and hence will cause future hurricanes of similar intensity.

    Some hot topics persisting from the 2012 election cycle:

  • Yucca Mountain: A federally-owned mountain in Nevada which the federal government has proposed as a long-term repository for nuclear waste. Yucca Mountain was selected because, in theory, it is geologically stable enough to survive intact for the tens of thousands of years until the nuclear waste becomes harmless. The site was first proposed under President Reagan in 1985-1987; Congress approved it under President Bush in 2002; and then Congress canceled the program under President Obama in April 2011.

  • Big Dig: The "Big Dig" refers to Boston's Central Artery/Tunnel Project, conducted in large part while Mitt ROmney was governor of Massachusetts. The Big Dig converted an elevated highway, I-93, into a 3.5 mile tunnel through central Boston, and added a third tunnel under Boston Harbor to Logan Airport. The original cost of the project in 1998 was proposed at $3 billion; it grew into a $22 billion project by the latest 2012 estimate. In addition to several construction deaths, a motorist was killed when a section of ceiling collapsed in 2006, attributed to inappropriate glue to hold up the concrete ceiling. The project was also plagued by water leaks for several years, attributed to failure to meet contract specifications.

  • Conservation Easements: Refers to land deeds which restrict future usage of the parcel of land to protect habitat, ban hunting or logging, or otherwise meet conservation goals. Also known as "Land Trusts," they have been tremendously successful in preserving open space and wildlife habitat. To assure that open space and habitat will be there for future generations, Congress provided targeted income tax relief to small farmers and ranchers who wish to make a charitable contribution of a qualified conservation easement.

  • Green Jobs: "Green Jobs" refers to subsidizing environmentally-friendly industries, usually alternative energy.

    Every recent president, including Obama, has promised "green jobs" in their State of the Union speeches; but the only action so far has been to mention it again in the subsequent year's State of the Union message.

    "Solyndra" has become shorthand for "cronyism in the name of green jobs." Solyndra declared bankruptcy in Sept. 2011 after receiving a $527 million federal loan to support commercial-scale manufacturing for its solar photovoltaic panels. Romney visited the abandoned Solyndra factory in May 2012 to criticize Obama's policy.

      Federal Lands
      The federal government owns 27% of all US land (more than the combined area of Alaska, Texas, & California).
    1. BLM: The Bureau of Land Management owns 270 million acres of cattle grazing land.
    2. USFS: The US Forest Service owns 185 million acres of timber land.
    3. FWS: The Fish & Wildlife Service owns 90 million acres of waterways and surrounding lands.
    4. NPS: The National Park Service owns 75 million acres of national parks and national rivers.
    5. States: State and local governments own 200 million acres of land (another 9% of total US land area).
    Amendment V to the US Constitution
    ...nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.(1791)

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    Other candidates on Environment: Background on other issues:
    Democratic 2016 candidates:
    Gov.Lincoln Chafee(RI)
    Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
    Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
    Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
    Sen.Jim Webb(VA)

    Republican 2016 Prospects:
    Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
    Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
    Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
    Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
    Carly Fiorina(CA)
    Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
    Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)
    Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
    Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
    Gov.John Kasich(OH)
    Gov.George Pataki(NY)
    Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
    Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
    Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
    Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
    Donald Trump(NY)
    Gov.Scott Walker(WI)

    Third Party 2016 Prospects:
    Roseanne Barr(PF-HI)
    Mayor Mike Bloomberg(I-NYC)
    Dr.Jill Stein(G-MA)
    Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
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