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Environment | Energy

Presidential Candidates Not Focused On The Environment

Challenger Mitt Romney (left) and President Barack Obama have been more eager to talk jobs and energy independence than environmental protection.

Challenger Mitt Romney (left) and President Barack Obama have been more eager to talk jobs and energy independence than environmental protection.


President Barack Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney have been talking about energy independence and job creation. But the environment? Not so much.

The word “environment” was mentioned once during the first debate.

Mitt Romney used it this way: “I don’t want to kill jobs in this environment.”

The environment got a brief mention in the second debate.

President Obama tied it to natural gas drilling.

“We’ve got potentially 600,000 jobs and a hundred years’ worth of energy right beneath our feet with natural gas. And we can do it in an environmentally sound way,” he said.

It’s that “environmentally sound way” that Mary Potter wants to hear more about. She’s a second generation Oregonian who lives in Wilsonville.

“There’s possibilities for creating jobs, but I just kind a wonder what the costs of those jobs are and what’s the countryside going to look like when we are all finished,” she said.

Jobs are the number one issue on people’s minds.

A national Gallup Poll conducted in July shows that 92 percent of those surveyed said creating jobs was very important.

Compare that 92 percent to the 52 percent who said environmental issues are very important.

Anne Botwin falls into the fifty-two percent. She lives in Bellingham Washington. She’s fighting against a coal export terminal that has been proposed near her community.

“What I would most like to hear the presidential candidates address is global warming which leads to climate change, and specifically, the need to stop burning fossil fuels and the need to promote green energy technology,” she said.

So far, Romney and Obama haven’t said exactly what Botwin wants to hear

While the presidential candidates have talked about ways to encourage green energy, they haven’t debated the issue of climate change. Nor have they discussed the export of U.S. coal to Asia.

When it comes to coal, Romney wants less regulation and more production. His “Believe in America” platform says that it is a waste to invest in “green technology” when there could be more jobs in coal, oil and gas.

President Obama supports more drilling for oil and natural gas and wants more funding for cleaner coal-burning technologies. His plan holds that investing in green technologies will lead to good jobs and a cleaner environment in the future.

As for climate change, both candidates touch on it in their campaign platforms.

The Obama administration has been working to curb climate change by setting new carbon emission standards for vehicles and power plants.

Romney vows to eliminate regulations that he considers anti-carbon. That would include overhauling the Clean Air Act so that it does not control carbon dioxide emissions.

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