Thursday, February 18, 2010

eco woes: Obama continues to disappoint

If you've been following Obama Watch: The Environment on The Colonic, it should come as no surprise that my profound disappointment in Obama only grows. (Note my shock that the League of Conseravtion Voters rated him a B+...more on this in another post).

Earlier this week, Obama announced a loan guarentee of $8.3 billion for the construction of two nuclear reactors in Georgia.

In his speech, Mr. Obama portrayed the decision as part of a broad strategy
to increase employment and the generation of clean power. But he also made clear
that the move was a bid to gain Republican support for a broader energy

...Don Stewart, a spokesman for the Republican Senate leader, Mitch
McConnell, said that Mr. McConnell had repeatedly praised Mr. Obama for favoring
additional loan guarantees for nuclear power plants. But, he said, this would
not translate into support for a cap on carbon dioxide emissions.

“It won’t cause Republicans to support the national energy tax,” Mr.
Stewart said. He added that Republican and Democratic ideas on energy policy
overlapped in some areas, but that much of Mr. Obama’s energy program did not
fall into those areas. full article

In short, 3 things have happened:

a) Obama has taken a step backward in clean energy and conservation.
b) The regression will not even have the added benefit of garnering Republican support for energy reform.
c) Environmentalists are not happy.

Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth, whose political arm endorsed
Mr. Obama’s candidacy for president, said that Mr. Obama’s recent policy
emphasis amounted to “unilateral disarmament.”

“We were hopeful last year; he was saying all the right things,” Mr. Pica
said. “But now he has become a full-blown nuclear power proponent, a startling
change over the last few months.”

“I think we all had higher hopes,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel for the
Center for Biological Diversity. “We expected a lot in the first year, and
everyone agrees they didn’t quite live up to it. But there is recognition that
he and the whole administration will get another stab at it.”
Mr. Snape said
his group was particularly disappointed that the administration did not
designate the polar bear as endangered by global warming and that it could not
push a climate change bill through Congress.

“You can’t get anything right,” he said, “unless you get the polar bear

Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one
of the administration’s most stalwart supporters up to now, also expressed
disappointment in the president’s new focus on nuclear power and his mention in
the State of the Union address of “clean coal technologies.” full article

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