Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Louisiana Coast and Politics

Both Mark Folse and Maitri have fantastic write ups on the condition of the Louisiana coast with respect to how energy is produced in this country, primarily existing as post-Gustav write ups from the parts of Louisiana that have been ignored or forgotten by the national media. "Digging their graves is what feeds them." Powerful stuff from both sites.

After reading these, I am going to address the issues raised with respect to current American national politics. This is a McCain administration preview, because I have heard nothing from that campaign that tells me they plan to do anything about this very serious issue.

One major policy concern I have with the McCain-Palin ticket is the "drill, drill, drill" and the "no major spills" line they use as their "change" in current American "energy policy."

While I have accepted that the question is not "if" we will drill but "when and how" we will drill, I trust the Obama-Biden ticket to address our energy woes more effectively and rationally than the other guys. Politicallhy speaking, Democrats could own this issue if they took it more seriously and spoke about real environmentalism to independent voters everywhere as opposed to just their base. This is not about spotted owls, this is about human babies and middle class Americans.

What has happened to the Louisiana coast over the last 50 or so years as the example of how not to do things. This is one of the primary examples of something in this country that needs to change, on a national policy level (as well as state and local), that will not change under McCain-Palin. All they have to do is put the pictures on television, and interview Acadians for personal testimony, to demonstrate with a strong precedent that what has happened to the Louisiana coast is what happens when you look for energy without regulation or respect to the human and natural environment. It would not be difficult to show this precedent, and at the same time point to Anyplace, USA for their own versions of where unchecked business and politization of environmentalism have led to economic and human hardships.

Then, when they win the White House, or the Senate, or the Congress, or the State House or the Mayoral race, the County Commission race or whatever race that gives them a chance to do something about it, they must deliver the change necessary to address issues like this.

It isn't just a Democratic issue, either. If Republicans could make their own case, promise and deliver real change while leaning on their friends in industries to make things better, they would own this issue, and appeal to independent voters worried about the environment as well. But I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen, and as the party in power nationally for so long, they would have a much higher hurdle to jump over (though with more to prove, they may be more apt to demonstrate results...) gaining credibilty on this ground.

And this is not an anti-business post, it is a government-not-doing-its-job post. When government gives no rules or direction to business, they will do whatever they can get away with - just like children. When business makes a mess, and can't or won't clean things up due to selective enforcement of or ambiguous writing of regulations, taxpayers end up footing the bill. Putting the onus on the taxpayers to decide whether to clean up the mess that business leaves (intentionally or accidentally) while seeking profit is a burden to the taxpayer and the average citizen either way: as they either have to pay up or live with the mess created.



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