Wednesday, October 27, 2010

O'Donnell and Urquhart Won't Even Talk with Environmentalists

Last week, I wrote that the Sierra Club endorsed John Carney. While it hasn’t been formally announced, the Sierra Club has endorsed Chris Coons as well.

The process reveals plenty about the divide between the parties when it comes to the environment. Chris Coons and John Carney earned their endorsements, which are decided by national and local leaders of the organization. As a member of the Sierra Club Delaware Chapter’s leadership (I’m vice chair of the executive committee), I proudly voted to support them. But I am profoundly disappointed that their opponents never even bothered to return a questionnaire, despite repeated phone calls and e-mails asking for a response. In fact the only Republican candidate to represent Delaware in Congress who did fill out a questionnaire was Mike Castle.

In short, when it comes to the environment, Christine O’Donnell and Glen Urquhart don’t even want to talk about it. You may remember that
they both blew off a long-scheduled forum sponsored by most of Delaware’s environmental organizations.

This is in sharp contrast with our current congressional delegation, who have made themselves and their staff available to environmental leaders. If O’Donnell and Urquhart don’t bother to respond to environmental leaders in the campaign, one can only assume that they would ignore environmental issues if they were elected.

With Christine O’Donnell and Glen Urquhart at the top of the ticket, the Republican Party of Delaware has abandoned its historical interest in the environment. Russ Peterson who was elected governor as a Republican, and served as an environmental advisor to Richard Nixon, switched parties in 1996. Former Congressman Tom Evans, who is now an preservation advocate in Florida, was among
the Republicans who endorsed Chris Coons yesterday.

Urquhart today published
an op-ed in the News Journal that repeated the conservative campaign of misinformation on the economics of renewable energy. He claimed (without citing sources) that climate action would cost families $1,769 a year, 2.3 million jobs, a doubling of utility rates and $7-a-gallon gasoline.

Urquhart sounds like the opponents of wind power who wildly inflated the costs and dismissed the benefits of the Bluewater Wind proposal. He also repeated the rather thin accusation that John Carney improperly tried to get government funding for an enterprise to build the towers for the Bluewater Wind project. I refuted the criticism
here and here, and applauded Carney for trying to bring wind power jobs to Delaware.

In his op-ed, Urquhart cites dubious and unsourced statistics about the economic costs of renewable energy, but when presented with the opportunity to weigh in on a tangible business plan, he preferred to attack his opponent and ignored the prospect of real, blue collar jobs at stake.

And speaking of spurious statistics, there is
this startling assertion from Christine O’Donnell two years ago:
But only 1 percent of the oil pollution in the sea is the result of oil drilling, while 63 percent is the result of natural seepage on the ocean floor.
If Glen Urquhart and Christine O’Donnell wanted to, they could sit down and have a genuine conversation, and perhaps be put at ease about their misinformed objections to environmental protection. But they don't seem to even care, which is another reason why we should send Chris Coons and John Carney to Washington.


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