Home Energy and Environment Republicans for Environmental Protection Keeps Swimming Upstream

Republicans for Environmental Protection Keeps Swimming Upstream


Today’s generation of Republican leadership has long since abandoned its party’s historic tradition of supporting science and conservation, selling out their values to everyone from Big Tobacco to the Koch brothers. Nowhere is that generational contrast more stark than here in Virginia, where George Allen’s fancy designer cowboy boots have replaced John Warner’s muddy riding boots.

But Republicans for Environmental Protection is still fighting the good fight, trying to get its party’s leadership to back off its attacks on clean air, clean water and public lands:

“Ronald Reagan signed more wilderness bills than any other president, before or since his administration. And what we’re trying to say is that conservation is conservative. It is part of the conservative ethic to care for the land and to be good stewards.”

Of the 19 bills, two were sponsored by Virginia Republican Congressman Rob Wittman. One promotes restoration of Chesapeake Bay and the other deals with an extension of the Wetlands Conservation Act. [ REP spokesman Jim] DiPeso understands that Congress has been swamped, but says there is no good reason to delay bills that lawmakers actually agree on.

“When we wrote that letter to Speaker Boehner, we were pointing out, ‘Look, you have all these conservation bills that have Republican sponsors. Let’s go ahead and pass ’em.'”

I wish REP luck, but the truth is its party’s leaders have long since turned their backs on anyone who’d dare stand up for America’s natural resources. Moderates like Lincoln Chafee, Jim Jeffords and Arlen Specter knew it all too well and left the party, while others like Bob Bennett, Mike Castle and Charlie Crist have been cast out as insufficiently extreme. The GOP misses leaders like Teddy Roosevelt who knew the outdoors were a place to be men – a literal man cave. But today’s Republican leaders only like the great outdoors when they’re using it as cover for extramarital affairs.