The 20 – 40  series was intended to provide guidance  in choosing the correct candidate prior to the November Elections this year.  The idea was to cover 20 important issues in the 40 weeks until the election.  We are now down to just under 16 weeks to go.   So far we have addressed 8 of the 20 issues:

Health care was #1, Jobs was #2, Taxes was Issue #3, Agriculture was #4, Government Spending/National Debt was #5, Commerce was #6, Energy was #7.  We also did #20 – Your Issue goes here.  On that one we got one response that I want to pursue – Innovation, a subject near and dear to my heart and one that I think will be very significant for our future as a nation.  We also threw in an extra issue – Legalize Drugs.

Issue #8  is Environmental Policy.  This is a tough one for me.  I revel at the beauty of nature.  I love to wade a beautiful mountain trout stream and catch and release native fish.  A walk on the beach or a hike in a mountain meadow both restore my energy and reawaken something in me that is good.  I also know that a huge part of the Environmental lobby has little or nothing to do with protecting our environment from damage.  Much of the it is pure and simple power politics.

If you don’t want the new prison in your back yard, I am sure you can find an environmental group that will carry your banner to save the endangered purple stemmed ragweed that has been found on the site.  This silly weed  (that may have been introduced to the site for political purposes) is found all over the world but somehow was designated as endangered.  Is this really about protecting the purple stemmed ragweed or is it a NIMBY maneuver?

What I want to see in a candidate is a recognition of the fact that like most issues, the field is populated by both good and bad groups.  I want a candidate to differentiate and not grant the politically correct “pass” to every environmental cause and group.  Earth First, for example appears to be more about gaining publicity and taking (often violent) action than about caring for our natural treasures.  The same can be said about many factions within such groups as the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Environmental Defense Fund and many others.

I remember well the lessons learned as a Boy Scout.  Among the most meaningful was the credo that you must always leave your site cleaner than you found it.  That works well in life in general.  A favorite piece of mine is the Oath of the Athenian Youth (the Ephebic Oath), the last line of which is traditionally translated to say, “Thus in all these ways we will transmit this City, not only not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”  I don’t think that was ever meant to mean “nothing will change” or “nothing will be torn down to build new.”  I do think it meant that we be mindful of what we have and think long and hard before we diminish one thing to build up another.

I also think a candidate must have both a healthy respect for all of the bureaucracy surrounding the ‘environmental movement’ today and a skepticism about the need for all of it.  For me, I would think our Environmental Impact Study procedures could be reduced by half and still fill the function they were originally intended to fill.

In my view, any ‘politician’ who campaigns primarily on “Environmental” issues is suspect.  Mr. Gore was a prime example.  In my view he was wrong on many things, but none so much as “Human Caused Climate Change”.  I do not believe that humans have no effect on our environment.  I do contend that radically limiting human activity in the name of “controlling” climate change is a huge power grab and makes a farce of science.

I want a candidate who is not afraid to say that not everything in our environment is sacrosanct.  Sometimes weeds need to be eradicated to allow crops to be grown to feed people.