Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Environmental politics need not be partisan

We'll have cleaner rivers, bays and oceans in the future, thanks to some Democrats and Republicans working together in California.

California's maverick Republican Governor signed some environmental bills introduced by Democrats. These new laws show California's typical leadership by doing more than merely cleaning up messes. Instead, some messes will actually be PREVENTED. Nice work by the legislature and the Governor in advancing environmental protection in a politically divided government.

Some key new laws will:
-require collection and disposal programs for unwanted medicines
-ban phthalates, toxic softeners used in plastics
-ban lead bullets which can poison wildlife

One of the key species to benefit will be the endangered California Condor. And of course, blogfish has brought you the sad news of fish harmed by medicines that make it into waterways by starting in your toilet.

How does this Republican rank on environmental issues?

"Arnold is unpredictable. With other governors, we are used to very strong partisan lines when it comes to environmental support one way or another," said Rico Mastrodonato, spokesman for the California League of Conservation Voters.

"He just blows that whole model up. We don't know where he is going to come down most of the time. But you always feel like you have a shot."

This is in the fine tradition of Teddy Roosevelt conservation, and it defies the notion that environmentalists should hitch their wagon to partisan politics. Conservation is everyone's issue, there's almost nobody who will say they're anti-conservation. If we all agree on that conservation is necessary, then we're halfway to a solution. For the rest, conservation leaders need to articulate and implement a compelling vision that doesn't leave half the population behind at the outset.

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