Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Washington Governor - Moderation vs. solutions on Puget Sound UPDATE1

You don't want to believe any Republican who claims to support cleanup and restoration of Puget Sound. It is by definition empty rhetoric.

The basic - extreme - positions held by the bulk of the party are fundamentally incompatible with the goal of a clean, healthy Puget Sound.

We can reduce what it means to being a Republican to two simplistic things:

1. Cutting or limiting the power of government
2. Cutting regulations on business

Both of these goals are at odds with what we need to do to save Puget Sound -- reducing pollution from stormwater, agricultural runoff and industrial sources. All of these sources are classic examples of cities (aggregations of people) and businesses cutting costs by putting their waste into the commons.

And how do we, the people address issues having to do with the commons? Through our government. Because if their were a market for not polluting the Sound the private sector would be out there with multi-billion dollar pollution-sucking marine platforms.

So the government it is, which is why a limited-government, low-regulation philosophy is a death sentence for Puget Sound.

But what of the 'moderate' Republican position? GOP goobernatorial candidate Rob McKenna is trying to portray himself that way, but it is still quintessentially Republican because a) there are no specifics, and b) it ignores the two incompatibilities discussed heretofore.

The extent of McKenna's moderation is to trot out a statement that he has spoken to Bill Ruckelshaus, that the former EPA chief has been assured of Robby's love for Puget Sound. But there are no specifics in that either (imagine a commitment to lowering poverty that consisted of McKenna giving assurances to a homeless person). Limited government and low regulations cannot get to the goal of restoring and protecting Puget Sound -- that will take broad, regional regulations having few or no exceptions.

Any moderate position means compromise. Do we want to settle for slowing down the decline of Puget Sound? To only clean it up moderately? To kick the can down the road?

That's the choice on Nov. 6 for environmental voters -- do you trust vague moderation? Or Jay Inslee, who is endorsed by Washington Conservation Voters, League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club?

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