Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Election

Two items in the news are serving to reinforce two of my favorite themes.

1. You can trust parties more than personalities.
2. The worst polluters do it because it's the cheapest way to do business.

In the months leading up to the 2012 election for Washington Governor, I found myself growing increasingly frustrated about the near invisibility of Puget Sound as a campaign issue.

The Gateway Pacific coalport proposal was tailor made for pro environment candidates. And yet the state and federal races best positioned to link the coalport to Puget Sound protection utterly failed to make the connection.

Both Jay Inslee and Rick Larsen stayed within the pro-coal box, which framed the coalport on issues of Jobs and Traffic Impacts.

One was willing to give Larsen a pass, as he no doubt had become accustomed to 2nd CD squeakers. But Inslee had no good excuse. Did Mr. Clean Green Economy really think voters would forget about his positions?

Inslee could have made Puget Sound more of a campaign issue but didn't have to because environmental voters knew a  Democrat is a better bet than a Republican.

Poor Rob McKenna. You could tell business polluters and teabaggers were the biggest parts of his base, from his one attempt to reach out to independents. McKenna had William Ruckelshaus announce, vaguely, that he and McKenna had a conversation, and was convinced McKenna would protect the Sound.

Sure, Bill. No specifics, nothing coming out of McKenna's mouth that might alienate his base. Pathetic.

As it turned out, a vote for the environmental party was the smart vote. This week saw Governor-elect Inslee vowing to continue Gregoire's Puget Sound Partnership effort. Which as of today includes an executive order on ocean acidification. Go ahead, try and convince me a Governor-elect McKenna would have done anything similar.

No, McKenna's constituency can be seen in the week's notable anti-Puget Sound news, the review of endangered status of Orca pods J, K and L.

California farmers are behind the review, initiated by a suit brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation. They are claiming endangered status should be dropped because Puget Sound Orcas aren't genetically distinct from other orcas.

That's the sort of reasoning that said whites could take Indian land because they still have reservations. Or that Palestinians don't need a homeland because they're humans, and humans are all over the planet.

No, this is just the latest try to enshrine destruction of The Commons as a right, whether that right is couched as a property right or a right to conduct business.

Elections have consequences, and a Democratic victory means there is still time to stop polluters from profiting from doing business in the cheapest and dirtiest way they can.

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