Less than four years into his presidency, 12 “leading environmental groups” were asked to rank the presidents they “felt did the most for the environment,” and President Obama ranked fourth behind “Teddy” Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter. Not bad for a first term. But even more impressive is the congressional context within which President Obama progressed environmentally progressive legislation.
Sierra Club’s Michael Brune said it best, “If you look at Clinton or Carter or Nixon – every single president was able to sign legislation that Congress passed…Obama doesn’t have that. He has to do it in the face of this head wind from Congress.” Mighty head winds, indeed!
20 or 30 years down the road, it’s quite possible that President Obama could be named the second most environmentally progressive president in our country’s history, behind the standard-bearer, Teddy Roosevelt. And President Obama still has one term left!
I could go through the laundry list of environmental policies that President Obama has established and approved, but I’m assuming you already know many of them.
The ultimate point is that through the immense political barriers that President Obama has faced in his time as president, he always remained true to his vision of a better, healthier, environment. It took a lot of political courage to make some of the moves that President Obama made (e.g. delaying the Keystone XL pipeline).
For all of the qualms some within the liberal and environmental communities have with President Obama’s environmental policies, no one can reasonably deny that President Obama has been a net gain for human and environmental health. That’s why he deserves our support on November 6th. He won’t always go in the direction we’d like him to on the environment, but one misstep for President Obama is equivalent to ten for Willard Romney.
Unlike the latter, I’m confident that President Obama actually does care about whether or not Americans are breathing healthy air and that America’s public lands are being protected for future generations, and so on.