Saturday, October 10, 2015

Gov. Hick's "Climate Plan" - A Joke Like He Is

"Democracy is not an outgrowth of free markets. Democracy and capitalism are antagonistic entities. based not on personal gain, but on self-sacrifice. A functioning democracy must often defy the economic interests of elites on behalf of citizens, but this is not happening."  -  Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion (p. 185):

The Denver Post account (Oct. 8, p. 6A)  of Gov. John Hickenlooper's newly released "Climate Plan" shows it's a joke just like "Hick" is. Recall this is the same clown who- after the recent spill of  million gallons of toxic effluent (full of cadmium, mercury,  manganese, copper, zinc, arsenic ) into the Animas River, actually went to a side stream and drank a glass of it:

Recall also, this was the same conniving rat who in 2014 helped engineer a major giveaway to the frackers by getting a Colorado anti-fracking Rep  to vacate two ballot measures to put restrictions on oil and gas drilling.  (Hick's Neoliberal treachery actually traces back to 2012 when he filed a lawsuit against Longmont for voting in fracking regulations which he claimed were "against state law")

So it's not really surprising now that Hick's climate plan is hollow through and through.  This is sad given that - as the Post observed- Colorado once stood  in the national forefront in its approach to climate change after voters approved a renewable energy mandate in 2004. Then in 2008, Gov. Bill Ritter advanced a Climate Change Action plan that set a goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020. A very reasonable goal, so it was more then surprising to many that the plan that finally emerged was tepid, and "not aggressive enough" in the words of Rep. Mike Foote, a Democrat who co-sponsored the bill.

In his words (ibid.):

"I think it does a good job of identifying the problem. I don't think it does a good job in identifying ways to prevent the problem. I'd like to see Colorado be a leader in carbon reduction but it seems like we slipped."

Gary Wockner, an environmental activist is even more blunt (ibid.):

"Climate change is one of the - if not the - most serious issues that our state, our nation, is facing and our planet is facing. The governor and his team have dropped the ball and let it slip through."

How or why did we "let it slip"? Well, once Hickenlooper was elected, replacing Ritter, many of us suspected the original Climate Action Plan would be gutted or severely diluted.  One only needed to have examined Hick's oil geologist background and oil and gas industry connections to foresee what was in store for us, and sure enough, fracking exploded in the state with ever more outcries against the despoliation of the landscape, soil, water  and air. Hence, the Post's findings (May 5, 2014) that:

"There’s about one gallon of toxic liquid penetrating soil every eight minutes.”

In addition:  

drillers churn up 135 to 500 tons of dirt with every new well, some of it soaked with hydrocarbons and laced with potentially toxic minerals and salts.”

So, it was incredible to many of - in the wake of these findings - that Hickenlooper's former chief lobbyist and energy adviser - Tracee Bentley- actually had the nerve to "express disappointment that the (climate) report didn't highlight the benefits of oil and gas fracking".

Seriously? Well, maybe it was because Hickenlooper's current advisers realized that any such mention would be an even greater insult to Coloradans' intelligence.

The final evidence that Hick's plan is useless resides in the admission that it is not prescriptive and wasn't intended to be.  It is purely cosmetic, designed to make Coloradans think Hick and his bunch are really doing something when they aren't doing diddly. Colorado's current climate change manager, Taryn Finnessey, quoted in the recent Post piece acknowledged "the report doesn't set new goals or outline any action plan aimed at the state's polluters and energy consumers".

In other words, same ol' same ol'.  It is "not telling industry what they should be doing" but letting them decide for themselves.

Hence, the original valid action plan of Gov. Ritter has mutated into a cosmetic abomination and mockery under Hick.

But why be surprised when this sort of treachery  - environmental and political  - is a hallmark of Neoliberal governance and economics?  Again, it was Hick who two months ago "noted his administration developed rules to try to reduce methane emissions with as little regulation as possible" And as we've learned, that reduction amounts to roughly zero.  Meanwhile, frackers - thanks to his "Colorado Oil and Gas Association" are having their way at every level.

Yeah, I admit I voted for Hick instead of Repub Bob Beauprez in the last gubernatorial election. Only because I sanely recognized that dealing with dysentery (politically) is preferable to Ebola.

That doesn't mean "dysentery" is tolerable or even acceptable!

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