Monday, May 14, 2007

Global Warming, SB 12, and Republicans FOR Environmental Protection (!?)

I was listening to the Texas House livestreaming video after work today. Pretty boring fare, passing bills to engrossment. Even Florence Shapiro’s bill appeared to be a boring affair as it was also passed to a 3rd reading after eleven amendments were offered. So here I thought that I had missed the fireworks and started reading through all the amendments and . . . huh . . .pretty boring.

Then up came SB 12, the global warming bill for a second reading. It got an amendment by Naishtat that Republicans certainly didn’t like. It proposed assembling a task force of experts “to develop a balanced and authoritative assessment of the global warming challenges and opportunities facing Texas”. They would prepare a report for the state climatologist focusing on economic opportunities available in Texas for reduction of greenhouse gases.

Yielding to a friendly question, Naishtat agreed that he had viewed an article in the Austin American-Statesman published yesterday about public testimony on the part of high ranking members of our military establishment who testified that global warming was a destabilizing force in the world and that to ignore it or deny it is not in the interests of national security.

Point taken, but 88 Members thought that it was best to not have a task force that could, in an apolitical way, investigate and report on issues facing Texas vis-Ă -vis global warming. They voted to table the amendment.

I could be wrong, but I think this was a bellwether vote, and that this doesn’t really bode well for SB 12 in the House.

I read further in the Austin American-Statesman and came across an article on global warming, published a day earlier, that caused my jaw to drop.

A newly chartered chapter of the Republicans for Environmental Protection had spent $9000 in local TV advertisement in the Austin area to promote a global warming bill by Texas state Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin). SB 1687 would establish an investigation in way to reduce greenhouse gases with no economical downside. That’s a bill that Republicans can get behind, but still . . . Republicans for Environmental Protection?

To my mind, this is a partisan issue. Republicans oppose environmental protection and are in favor of economic development. This group is, therefore, somewhat of a Green Elephant. They claim that Republicans were once the green party, pointing their fingers at outdoors champion Theodore Roosevelt (hey, wasn’t he a Bullmoose?), as opposed to a unionized Democratic Pittsburgh steel worker.

Huh?

But I swear the funniest thing on their website is their Republican Environmental Scorecard. Yes, I think it is the only one in existence – a scorecard that scores the environmental voting record of only Republican senators and congressmen. If you have, say, 12 environmental issues in a year, that means each issue gets 8.333 votes if the legislator votes for it and a -8.333 points (demerits) if they vote against it. Highest total possible score is 100 (but they say it can be higher than 100).

Want to know what, according to the Republicans for Environmental Protection own scorecard, is the average environmental protection voting record score of the Republican side of the US Congress in 2006?

3.603.

Out of 100.

Looks like the Republicans for Environmental Protection have their work cut out for them.

1 comment:

Montag said...

"Republicans for Environmental Protection" is like "Eunuchs for Abortion Rights"!