Saturday, July 5, 2008

Republicans for Environmental Protection

How did the Republicans for Environmental Protection Organization Form?

"The dream emerged from the minds of three middle-class women whose interest in conservation drew them together by accident. They weren't famous or well connected. They didn't have deep pockets. But they did have a powerful idea: they would create a grassroots movement dedicated to restoring the Republican Party's great conservation tradition."

Republicans for Environmental Protection maintains a website with issue statements regarding their organization's position on emerging public policy and legislation to protect the environment.

There are a number of state chapters forming across the nation and there is an approved state chapter operating in Washington State. Readers can access the state and federal website(s) by clicking the title of this post.

The Washington State Chapter of Republicans for Environmental Protection tells readers, "Washington has a long tradition of Republican conservation leadership. Dan Evans, an outstanding Republican governor who served three terms in Olympia, says his proudest accomplishment was getting legislation passed to protect the Evergreen State's air and water, and winning approval of a bond measure to expand the state's parks system.

As a U.S. senator, Evans and fellow Senator Slade Gorton helped win passage of the Washington Wilderness Act of 1984.

John Spellman, another great Republican governor, stopped construction of an oil pipeline beneath the waters of Puget Sound and of an oil drilling rig in the sensitive shorelines of north Puget Sound."

Republicans for Environmental Protection also publishes a Legislative Score Card for U.S. House and Senate members. You can access the 2007 Score card at this link:

Washington State Issues: (excerpts - please visit the link below to read the entire position statement).

Hanford: In 2004, Washington voters approved Initiative 297 by a 70 percent majority. I-297 specifies that no new waste can be introduced to Hanford until existing waste is cleaned up. The initiative has been challenged by the federal government in court. The solution is for the Washington Legislature to enact I-297 into law in a way that is consistent with existing law on state jurisdiction over mixed wastes.

Roadless Land and Wilderness: Keeping roadless areas protected is fiscally responsible. The Forest Service can't afford to take care of its existing, 380,000-mile network of roads, and there is an $8.4 billion road maintenance backlog, including $278 million in Washington. The Forest Service should maintain the roads it has, to save the taxpayers money and prevent erosion that damages streams and fisheries. Solution: The ultimate solution is to designate all qualifying roadless lands as wilderness, which requires an act of Congress.

National Issues:

Mercury: Approximately 5,500 tons of elemental mercury are released into the global environment each year. Once released, mercury remains in the environment for years. Approximately 70 percent comes from man-made sources, primarily emissions from coal-fired power generation plants, municipal incinerators, and waste dumps. Natural sources such as volcanoes and forest fires, and disrupted natural areas including mines, also add or recycle mercury. Mercury released in the U.S. accounts for about 60 percent of the deposition within our borders, with the remaining 40 percent coming from other global sources. Increases in power plant emissions and industrial uses of mercury during the past 100 years have resulted in a three-fold increase in environmentally available mercury.

Research suggests that prenatal effects occur at intake levels 5-10 times lower than effects in adults. A recent report from Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York suggests that effects of mercury linked to decreased IQ levels alone cost $8.7 billion annually in lost earnings potential. An epidemiologic study of children in the Faroe Islands (a population with high fish consumption) indicates that children exposed to high levels methylmercury in utero were prone to abnormal heart rates, a risk factor for development of heart disease, which kills nearly a million people each year in the U.S., and carries health care costs of $209 billion annually.

(*Reminder - to Democrats and Republicans alike - please don't skimp when it's time to clean up old, abandoned industrial mercury-contaminated sites! Citizens (taxpayers) will save $ billions in associated health care and special education costs if we take the time to properly clean up contaminated sites. Cover up is not clean up).

National Wildlife Refuges: NWRS refuges range in size from the miniscule (0.5 acres Mille Lacs National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota) to the massive 19.3 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, established by President Eisenhower in 1960.

Individual refuges serve a multitude of purposes including protecting endangered plants and animals and their habitats, preserving wilderness areas, providing outdoor recreational and educational opportunities, and providing lands and waters for traditional uses such as hunting and fishing.

Oceans: REP urges the United States to elevate protection of the oceans to a higher level as an issue of both national and foreign policy, and to lead by example in the area of oceanic preservation.

The twentieth century was the century of oceanic deterioration; the twenty-first must be the century of its restoration.

Water Quality: REP states, Clean water must be considered a basic constitutional and civil right of all Americans. Government's responsibility is to ensure this right, just as it ensures others. Exercising authority to protect our waters is clearly one of the powers that we, the people, have vested in our federal and state governments. Clean water must be considered a basic constitutional and civil right of all Americans. Government's responsibility is to ensure this right, just as it ensures others. Exercising authority to protect our waters is clearly one of the powers that we, the people, have vested in our federal and state governments.

Wetlands: Why should we care about wetlands? Because in reality wetlands are much more than that. They support a wealth of resident fish, crabs, worms, birds and mammals, many of economic importance. Wetlands are perhaps the most important component of America's migratory flyways, places where birds can rest and feed. Many marine fish species annually move into bays and tidal wetlands to spawn; their offspring may spend a year maturing in the productive, calm waters. (Species such as Alaska salmon and Louisiana shrimp are particularly dependent on coastal wetlands.) Marshes, ponds, and streams provide delicacies to humans as well; clams, crabs, fish, ducks, and geese are all wetland-dependent creatures. Their sustainable extraction, as well as the people who come to view or harvest them, are important assets to local economies. (Don't forget urban streams and wetlands).

For information about Republicans for Environmental Protection's activities in Washington State, please contact
Chapter President Bob Batty, a resident of Cheney.

For a complimentary info packet—REP brochure, Green Elephant newsletter, C.E.P. (Conservative Environmental Policy) Quarterly, and other publications—please send a postal mail address with your request to our national office.

A sampling of REP Articles and Opinion Editorials:

Arctic Refuge Drilling Won't Lower Fuel Prices:

Protecting Wilderness isn't just for Liberals: by Jim DiPeso, REP Policy Director; published March 30, 2008 in the Herald, Everett, Washington.

The Last Fashionable SUV has already been sold:


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