Republicans Were Super Pro-Environment, So What Happened? | AJ+

Republicans Were Super Pro-Environment, So What Happened? | AJ+

Republican Party is not known for championing environmental causes president Trump believes climate change is a hoax Trump administration has announced plans to gut the Endangered Species Act but today's open hostility towards green policies wasn't always a Republican way I think younger people might be surprised to know that the Republican Party has not historically been opposed to environmental protection or to conserving wild spaces and natural resources in fact much of the framework for environmental and conservationist policies today was laid down by the GOP take the United States Forest Service for example it was set up by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 to protect wildlife and public lands during his presidency Roosevelt protected approximately two hundred and thirty million acres of public land and some of the most vast and far-reaching environmentally-friendly policies that fundamentally changed America were enacted by this guy yes that's right Richard Nixon the president better known for this one year of Watergate they denied and this people have got to know whether or not their presidents across well I'm not a crook Nixon achieved some of the biggest green accomplishments of any modern American president leaving an impressive record when it came to implementing policies to protect the environment he was from California and his base was in Southern California that had seen smog so he knew that politics and he knew how bad smog and pollution could get Nixon's administration with the help of a Democratic Congress passed many environmental initiatives from institutional reform to pollution control he was an institution builder at the federal level I mean one of the big changes that happen in his tenure as president was that environmental regulation evolution and public health and so on environmental health it was moved up to the federal level because the states weren't doing a good enough job it was an extraordinary example of cooperation between Republicans and Democrats all those laws were passed on a bipartisan basis people would be surprised to know with Welman support from both parties what's most notable is it wasn't especially controversial you know you've got Republican members of Congress supporting clean air clean water trying to do something about toxic waste and you have Republican presidents signing the bills this is almost impossible to think about nowadays environmentalism had become a big concern for the American people in the late 60s and early 70s in all too many parts of America it's becoming more and more difficult to find breathable air drinkable water they had witnessed a devastating oil leak in santa barbara california and rampant pollution in other parts of the country New Yorkers learned about it at first hand when freak weather conditions in July trapped poisonous fumes just above the city environment was kind of a unifying issue it was an issue to where Republicans such as him they they also thought that you know we needed clean water that pollution was a really big concern in 1968 Nixon created the task force on Environment and Congress was also doing its part it approved one of the first laws to establish a national framework for environmental protection the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 the purpose of the Act was and is to this day to make sure the government conducts assessments before it begins any federal projects that significantly affect the environment that includes construction of airports buildings and military complexes but in 1970 Nixon proposed something that would change the way the government dealt with the environment he submitted to Congress a plan to set up the Environmental Protection Agency the EPA strengthening our attack on environmental problems both Nixon and Congress were on a roll they passed the Clean Air Act in 1970 in order to tackle air pollution and set standards for what type of air pollutants can be released in 1972 Nixon signed the Clean Water Act to regulate water quality the Act also made it illegal to discharge pollutants into navigable waters without a permit and it wasn't just environmental legislation that Nixon was signing 1973 he approved the Endangered Species Act the Act granted the government powers to protect species at risk of extinction of course whether Nixon was genuinely passionate about saving the environment is up for debate it was kind of pushed into it a little bit he might not have done it had he not had a Democratic Congress and as well as environmental informed advisors to steer him that direction but whether it was a political calculation or personal passion for the environment that drove Nixon's green policies the fact remains that a Republican president supported laws that have significantly changed the lives of Americans clean air and clean water the wise use of our land the protection of wildlife and natural beauty parks for all to enjoy these are part of the birthright of every American so what happened it's really the more recent Republican administrations and the more recent Republican members of Congress I'd say in the last twenty to thirty years is that a really world back Environmental Protection and during this period the more recent period Environmental Protection and especially climate change have become deeply partisan issues and then in 1981 a new president takes office guided by a free-market ideology innately hostile to government regulation what happens is Reagan comes in along with him are opponents of environmental protection through regulation what President Reagan did which really set back environmental protections he appointed a Secretary of the Interior and an administrator of the EPA who were essentially opposed to the missions of those agencies Reagan appointed and Gorsuch who keep in mind didn't like the EPA to lead the EPA and for two years they do what they can to curb it to dismantle Avani and Gorsuch took apart the whole enforcement division at the EPA they proposed massive cuts in EPA and other environmental agencies wanted to open up all these federal lands to the oil drillers and the grazers and so forth the environmental programs managed to survive some blows by the Reagan administration in large part due to the pushback from Congress the Senate belonged to the Republicans but the house was a blue majority both Watt and Gorsuch eventually left Reagan's next appointments were more friendly to the environmental agencies the preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge it's common sense what happens during the Reagan administration is the embrace of anti statism and a strong dislike for big government and from there the Republican Party starts going through a bit of a metamorphosis I wouldn't say it's been a kind of a linear road where Republicans suddenly decided you know on mass they didn't care about the environment I think that what's happened over time is a combination of things but one is this sort of embrace of deregulation generally in the Republican Party I would say environmental protection was part of the deregulatory moment in the Reagan administration and it's part of an anti federal government era which Reagan of course assured in when he said the government is not the solution to our problem government is the problem conservative think tanks and corporations also started getting involved since the 1990s more than two-thirds of contributions from the oil and gas industry have gone to Republican candidates and party committees another thing that changed the other is a kind of loss of moderate Republicans in the House and in the Senate and the loss of that species of Republican means that you have much more extreme Republicans and there's kind of a similar dynamic happening over time in the democratic party where you see a divergence between your average Republican and your average Democrat which makes bipartisan law very hard to pass it may come as a surprise to know that one Republican president that was surprisingly moderate and bipartisan when it came to the environment was George HW Bush if we believe that every American expects and deserves clean air and then we act on that belief HW Bush actually should be known and given credit for being quite environmental president he signed the most important revision of the Clean Air Act since it was originally passed in 1970 and it included a system for dealing with the problem of acid rain which was destroying lakes and forests the first-ever market trading scheme for you know issuing allowances to pollute but creating a scheme to buy and sell those allowances is a kind of market mechanism for controlling air pollution and then in the George W Bush era we saw really a period of again retrenchment he pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol which was the international agreement on climate change at the time but what really intensifies the partisan battle is climate change it sort of creeps into consciousness as an issue and it only becomes a really compelling issue that the public becomes familiar with in the late 90s and early 2000s clearly to me this climate change issue is one of the principal challenges that we face the challenge that should we fail to meet it could imperil the lives of our children and if not our children our grandchildren by that point it becomes clear that this is going to be a very partisan issue because climate change is about the energy system you know it's about oil and gas and how we fuel our electricity and how we feel our transportation and suddenly becomes clear that this is going to be something the parties divide Jody Freeman was also a counselor for energy and climate change during the Obama presidency in 2009 after taking office Obama attempted to get a comprehensive climate and energy bill passed but what Freeman and Obama found was that it's not just about convincing the other party about the importance of implementing extensive climate change policies it's about convincing your own to even though it was a Democratic Congress for the first two years in the Obama administration that new legislation could not get through and that's because energy and climate change are not clearly just Republican and Democratic issues that people don't vote just based on party they vote based on where their state is positioned in terms of what kind of resources they have are they a coal state are they a wind state are they a state that's rich in renewables or a state that has oil and gas so it's very hard to get support even when you your party controls the Congress once the midterm election happened the Democrats lost control of the Congress and so there was no way climate change legislation was going to get done the Trump administration has made a targeted effort to rollback Obama's legislations and efforts to combat climate change the impact of these rollbacks could have detrimental consequences the Republican Party went from this there is no disagreement with regard to the need for all nations to cooperate share their knowledge and their brains and cleaning up the environment of the world to this as someone who cares deeply about the environment which I do I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States which is what it does we've lost our leadership role in the international community on these issues and the international community is really startled and disappointed that the US has disappeared on many other diplomatic issues there's no question that this is a moment of complete retrenchment on climate change with the energy policy

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28 thoughts on “Republicans Were Super Pro-Environment, So What Happened? | AJ+

  1. Be sure to check out our channel and hit that subscribe button for new videos every Tuesday and Sunday!

  2. "it's all about the benjamins, baby." – It's All About the Benjamins (feat. The Notorious B.I.G., Lil' Kim & the Lox).

  3. climate change and pollution control are separate issues. it's not fair to lump them together.

  4. MONEY is what its all about just look at your big money people and corporations and lobbists and see how every thing is manipulated on every level

  5. Teddy Roosevelt was also a founding feminist. He was a real man, not scared of shit. Unlike the frightened conservatives of today.

  6. This is why we need to abolish the 2 party system. People need to learn to think abd decide based in independent thought rather than having political parties.

  7. All you need to know is Republicans party today is put big cash in their pocket from lobbyists so they can survive. Simple right!!!

  8. Why? Because the GOP became more corrupted with money flowing into their pockets from interest groups! That’s why!

  9. I honestly have a hard time buying into the Climate Change is real religion after reading Nicola Tesla's biography and understanding how HAARP works and how they can intensify local weather phenomena like hurricanes, storms, earthquakes and even droughts.Β 

    If they can send out pulses of energy to intensify the weather then are some of the major earthquakes with that kind of technology then it makes me really wonder how much of the freak weather related events are purely natural or if they are enhanced by the military industrial complex.

    I am writing this from my solar powered off grid home in Canada by the way. I am pro renewable energy but I do not believe in the story that Al Gore tells

  10. I am glad that you also pointed out that Democrats are very much on par with Republicans in this respect. Oil and gas are bipartisan issues. Both parties listen to the big energy companies. They are also both beholden to the military industrial complex.

    It is very interesting to see that Nixon was such an environmentalist. I have never heard that about Nixon.

    Surely southeast Asia's environment is worse off after Nixon's tenure though.

  11. They don't mention that the general base of the two major parties essentially swapped platforms during the 20th century over ideas of African American identity, immigration, and citizenship rights. It was less to do with a change in policy direction, and more to do with demographics and geographical location. The South was once the blue bastion of the Democrats until the New Deal was introduced post WWI expanding federal oversight, and later when Pres. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law in 1964. This divided the country regionally instead of by party, with northerners of both parties approving of giving blacks the right to vote, and southerners of both parties renouncing the move. Because the Democrats became the party that advocates for people of colour, blacks, hispanics and other non-white immigrants aligned with them, while white Democrats of the south changed party allegiance to the Republicans, which is still largely true today.

    These policies of environmental conservation and national parks services were an expansion of government control, an unappealing notion by today's Republican standards, because back then, those Red States were in a completely different part of the country, both geographically and economically. Nixon being from the West Coast where highly progressive ideas on pollution control and emissions standards had a powerful hand in his decision to strengthen environmental laws. This was an era of rapid industrialization in America, and the visible evidence of pollution in air, water, and soil was obvious as public health declined and crime rates spiked. Protecting public health and simultaneously protecting America's natural resources and lands was a slam dunk on a 5 foot high basket guaranteeing him a second term. However, an expansive program like the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the creation of the EPA is not politically viable to the party that preaches small government and state's rights, especially when those rights are intended to extend to EVERY American. But, of course, as we're seeing now, they're retracting those rights to a clean, livable environment to an exclusive few in order to provide an amenable space for industrial manufacturers and resource extracting companies – the very same sector that funds their campaigns and re-elections (see the graph at 07:53 ). My point is, if you are concerned with the lack of commitment to environmental causes and nature conservation, MOVE LEFT. Push for expansive policies that will reduce the ability of oil and natural gas to bribe their way into government policy, and support local initiatives to crack down on those who are flagrantly breaking the scant environmental protection laws we still have.

  12. Why are the republicans so anti-enviroment? Idk why are the top 39 of 40 fossile fuel money takers in Congress Republican?
    It's almost as if the allowing of money in politics made corruption legal or something…

  13. No, we just don't take credit for it. George Bush Senior designated much of California's coastline a National Park. In addition, he signed into law a 20 year moratorium on oil drilling off of the California Coast. Arnold halted farming in the San Joquin Valley in the attempt to protect the Delta Smelt. The San Joquin Valley once produced 20% of our nations vegetables. It's funny how 70% of America's most poluted cities are run by Liberals. 8 out of the top ten most poluted cities in America are in California. You're a bunch of obtuse morons who thrive on people's ignorance.

  14. Being "environmental" comes at a cost and isn't always economically feasible. And, as usual, liberals want to pass on this cost to other people. They love using other people's money to fund their projects.

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