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Joshua Holland - Democracy and the Environment's Danger Signs

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  • Ed Pearl
    From: AmeriConscience@yahoogroups.com Sent: Monday, November 05, 2012 6:17 AM Democracy Danger Signs By Joshua Holland, AlterNet 04 November 12 itt Romney s
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 5, 2012
      From: AmeriConscience@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, November 05, 2012 6:17 AM

      Democracy Danger Signs

      By Joshua Holland, AlterNet

      04 November 12

      itt Romney's �closing argument� redefines chutzpah. �You know that if the
      President is re-elected, he will still be unable to work with the people in
      Congress,� Romney said on Friday. He warned of a government shut-down, or
      another debt-ceiling crisis � two examples of Congressional Republicans
      taking the economy hostage for partisan gain � if Barack Obama emerges
      victorious next week. If elected, Romney promised not to �pass partisan

      It's a dubious assertion. Romney has made one claim on the campaign trail
      that is undeniably true. He did bring bipartisanship to Massachusetts � by
      the time he left the governor's mansion in 2006, many Republicans in the
      Bay State, like their Democratic counterparts, couldn't stand him.

      That's probably not what he meant. In his first debate with Barack Obama,
      as he shook his Etch-a-sketch, Romney said of his time in Massachusetts, �I
      had the great experience -- it didn't seem like it at the time -- of being
      elected in a state where my legislature was 87 percent Democrat. And that
      meant I figured out from day one I had to get along and I had to work
      across the aisle to get anything done.�

      The reality of his time as Governor was quite different. Mitt Romney had
      the dubious distinction of vetoing over 800 measures passed by that
      Democrat-controlled legislature. According to the *Boston
      Globe*<http://www.boston. <http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/specials/romney/articles/part7_main/?page=5> com/news/politics/2008/specials/romney/articles/part7_main/?page=5>,
      in a television ad for his 2008 presidential campaign, Romney even gloated
      about it. ''I know how to veto,� he said in the ad. �I like vetoes. I've
      vetoed hundreds of spending appropriations as governor.'' This endeared him
      to neither Democrats nor Republicans, according to the *Globe*:

      What he doesn't say is the Legislature overrode those vetoes almost at
      will. When the House decided to challenge him, Romney was overridden 99.6
      percent of the time: 775 to 3, according to the House minority leader's
      office. In the Senate, Romney was overridden every time, often unanimously.

      In other words, the six Republicans in the state senate often joined their
      Democratic colleagues to kill Romney's vetoes. That's because he was aloof
      and, after a failed attempt to build up the Republican brand in his state,
      he withdrew, refusing to work with legislators � even Republicans.

      According to NPR<http://www.npr. <http://www.npr.org/2012/06/13/154583216/romney-as-governor-confrontation-one-big-deal> org/2012/06/13/154583216/romney-as-governor-confrontation-one-big-deal>,
      �apart from health care, Romney defined success not with big-picture
      legislative accomplishments but with confrontation.�

      Democrat Ellen Story recalls a Gov. Romney who had a policeman screen
      visitors and who did not allow lawmakers to use the bank of elevators just
      outside his office: "He was aloof; he was not approachable," Story says.
      "He was very much an outsider, the whole time he was here."

      And Story remembers something else about the former governor: "The
      Republican reps would grumble that he didn't even know their names."

      George Peterson was one of those Republicans; he does not take issue with
      his colleague's characterization of Romney: "It took him a little bit to
      get used to dealing with elected officials, let's put it that way," he says.

      "The first year was, I'd say, a struggle," Peterson says. "He was used to
      being a top executive, 'and this is where we're going, and this is how
      we're going to do it.' And this animal [the state Legislature] doesn't work
      that way. Not at all. Especially when it's overwhelmingly ruled by one

      Frustrated by not being able to manage the state like he did Bain Capital,
      Romney spent most of his final year outside Massachusetts, laying the
      groundwork for a national campaign. According to Think
      Progress<http://thinkprogres <http://thinkprogress.org/special/2012/04/18/466993/romney-obama-vacation/?mobile=nc> s.org/special/2012/04/18/466993/romney-obama-vacation/?mobile=nc>,
      �Romney spent 212 days out of state - more than four days each week, on
      average� in 2006. He then left office with a 34 percent approval
      rating<http://www.npr. <http://www.npr.org/2012/06/13/154583216/romney-as-governor-confrontation-one-big-deal> org/2012/06/13/154583216/romney-as-governor-confrontation-one-big-deal>.
      Today, his approval rating in Massachusetts is just 40
      percent<http://polltracker. <http://polltracker.talkingpointsmemo.com/contests/mitt-romney-favorability-ma> talkingpointsmemo.com/contests/mitt-romney-favorability-ma>.
      In his final year, his unfavorable ratings among Massachusetts
      *Republicans*bounced between the mid-20s and the mid-30s.

      If Romney wins on Tuesday, we can only expect more of the same inability to
      work with Congress � people whom Romney apparently views as �the help.�
      He'll be forced to adhere to a severely conservative agenda by House
      Republicans, and he'll get little help from Democrats given the hard-right
      policies he's proposed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said
      on Friday<http://livewire. <http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/reid-laughable-for-romney-to-say-dems-will> talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/reid-laughable-for-romney-to-say-dems-will>,
      �Mitt Romney�s fantasy that Senate Democrats will work with him to pass his
      'severely conservative' agenda is laughable."

      <mailto:eddiestinson@...?subject=Re%3A%20The%20mere%20thought%20of%20this%20arrogant%20gas%20bag%20in%20power%20sends%20my%20stomach%20> Reply to sender . <mailto:AmeriConscience@yahoogroups.com?subject=Re%3A%20The%20mere%20thought%20of%20this%20arrogant%20gas%20bag%20in%20power%20sends%20my%20stomach%20> Reply to group . <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmeriConscience/post;_ylc=X3oDMTJzNzdlMmNrBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE1BGdycElkAzIwNzk1MTU3BGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTc1OTMzNQRtc2dJZAM5NDk3MARzZWMDZG1zZwRzbGsDcnBseQRzdGltZQMxMzUyMTI1MDMy?act=reply&messageNum=94970> Reply via Web Post . <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmeriConscience/message/94970;_ylc=X3oDMTM4bGJqcTdzBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE1BGdycElkAzIwNzk1MTU3BGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTc1OTMzNQRtc2dJZAM5NDk3MARzZWMDZG1zZwRzbGsDdnRwYwRzdGltZQMxMzUyMTI1MDMyBHRwY0lkAzk0OTcw> All Messages (1) . Top ^ <outbind://404-0000000011BC4D18FB37AA408BEF9AE2C25C2DAC84C35200/#toc>


      <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmeriConscience/message/94971;_ylc=X3oDMTJzdWNqa2g0BF9TAzk3MzU5NzE1BGdycElkAzIwNzk1MTU3BGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTc1OTMzNQRtc2dJZAM5NDk3MQRzZWMDZG1zZwRzbGsDdm1zZwRzdGltZQMxMzUyMTI1MDMy> Pretty pictures and a horrible story: Mitt Romney's Fracking Hit Lis

      Sun Nov 4, 2012 11:52 pm (PST) . Posted by:

      <mailto:eddiestinson@...?subject=Re%3A%20Pretty%20pictures%20and%20a%20horrible%20story%3A%20Mitt%20Romney%27s%20Fracking%20Hit%20Lis> "Eddie Stinson" eddiestinson2003


      Mitt Romney's Fracking Hit List

      By Rolling Stone

      04 November 12

      f Mitt Romney is elected president, expect drilling for fossil fuels to
      explode. The Republican challenger has promised to double the number of
      drilling permits issued for federal lands. And that boom would go
      unregulated: Romney has blasted the current administration's "effort to
      crimp natural gas by federal regulation of the very technology that
      produces it."

      The technology in question is hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Recovering
      oil and gas through fracking requires drillers to inject huge volumes of
      water and noxious chemicals under high pressure into shale formations far
      below the earth. The polluted water, now laced with heavy metals and often
      radioactive materials, is then returned to the surface and then stored in
      open pools before being trucked off to treatment plants ill-equipped to
      handle the brew � which is so toxic that it can wipe out
      forests<http://green. <http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/12/fracking-water-killed-trees-study-finds/> blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/12/fracking-water-killed-trees-study-finds/>

      Acting on behalf of Dick Cheney's former drilling firm Halliburton in 2005,
      the Bush administration exempted fracking from compliance with the Clean
      Drinking Water Act. So it's no surprise that fracking has repeatedly been
      linked<http://www.npr. <http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/12/08/143381365/epa-report-links-fracking-to-water-pollution> org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/12/08/143381365/epa-report-links-fracking-to-water-pollution>to
      contaminated groundwater, both from toxic runoff and even from the gas
      itself. Fracking could also be devastating to our climate: While the
      natural gas burns much cleaner than other fossil fuels, methane is itself a
      powerful greenhouse gas. And a 2011 Cornell study concluded that gas leaks
      associated with fracking make the practice "worse than coal and worse than
      oil." <http://www.pressoff <http://www.pressoffice.cornell.edu/releases/release.cfm?r=56363> ice.cornell.edu/releases/release.cfm?r=56363>

      *Virginia's George Washington National Forest*

      This 1.1 million acre national forest reaches as close as 100 miles from
      Washington, D.C., and provides drinking water for more than 250,000 people.
      Under the Obama administration, the Forest Service has proposed a 15-year
      ban on fracking in the forest, half of
      which<http://www.roanoke. <http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/312766> com/news/roanoke/wb/312766>sits atop the
      Shale <http://oilshalegas. <http://oilshalegas.com/marcellusshale.html> com/marcellusshale.html> � a reserve of nearly 84
      trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Environmentalists believe the
      moratorium would never survive a Romney administration.

      *Montana's Blackfeet Reservation and Glacier National Park*

      The Blackfeet reservation sits atop rich oil reserves that can only be
      tapped through fracking. Oil firms have leased nearly 1 million acres of
      reservation land � including along its western edge, next to Glacier
      National Park. The superintendent of Glacier has requested federal
      environmental review<http://www.nytimes. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/16/us/montana-tribe-divided-on-tapping-oil-rich-land.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0> com/2012/08/16/us/montana-tribe-divided-on-tapping-oil-rich-land.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0>of
      all drilling on the reservation, citing risks to sensitive populations
      of grizzly bears, park air quality and the impact industrial oil operations
      on the park's spectacular views. Fracking impacts could also wreak havoc
      far downstream: Snowmelt from Glacier traverses reservation lands to join
      the Missouri River. More than 30 exploratory wells have already been
      drilled. A Romney administration would assuredly greenlight more.

      *Monterey County, California*

      A Romney administration could bring runaway fracking to the nation's bread
      basket. California's central coast is famous for its breathtaking scenery,
      world-class wines and astonishingly productive farmland. It also sits atop
      the Monterey Shale � a massive reserve of oil, estimated as large as 15
      billion barrels. Fracking's water contamination is a grave
      threat<http://www.sfgate. <http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/CA-sued-over-environmental-toll-of-fracking-3954148.php> com/business/article/CA-sued-over-environmental-toll-of-fracking-3954148.php>to
      the region's $8 billion agriculture industry. The Bureau of Land
      management has begun leasing the
      land<http://www.sfgate. <http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/U-S-to-auction-state-shale-for-drilling-3850852.php#page-2> com/science/article/U-S-to-auction-state-shale-for-drilling-3850852.php#page-2>for
      new drilling, but no oil companies yet have permits to drill.

      *Delaware River Basin*

      The Delaware River Basin is host to three national park units (most famous:
      the Delaware Water Gap), providing recreation to more than 5 million people
      on a river so clean that it provides drinking water to more than 15
      million<http://www.delaware <http://www.delawarebasindrinkingwater.org/> basindrinkingwater.org/>.
      With the cooperation of the Army Corps of Engineers, there's a temporary
      moratorium<http://www.nj. <http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2012/09/activists_want_temporary_delaw.html> com/mercer/index.ssf/2012/09/activists_want_temporary_delaw.html>on
      fracking in the basin. If that expires, an estimated 18,000 natural
      wells are expected to pockmark the watershed, threatening wildlife and
      human health.

      *Wyoming's Noble Basin*

      The Noble Basin is national forest land at the gateway to Grand Teton and
      Yellowstone National Parks. In 2009, Congress put 1 million acres off
      limits, but companies like PXP have grandfathered leases � and designs to
      drill more than 100 natural gas wells <http://youtu. <http://youtu.be/tds65AmlCHg> be/tds65AmlCHg>.
      Obama's Forest Service is currently subjecting PXP's plans to a strict
      environmental review, but a Romney administration could quickly approve
      drilling operations.

      *North Carolina's Sand Hill*

      North Carolina's state GOP is eager to get into the fracking game, overridding
      a veto<http://tpmdc. <http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/07/fracking-bill-veto-override.php> talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/07/fracking-bill-veto-override.php>by
      the governor to move forward with the drilling of the state's Triassic
      Basins. The state's geology puts North Carolina ground water at heightened
      risk for contamination � with the safe drinking water of 2.4
      million<http://www.heraldsu <http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/14797690/article-Fracking-might-impair-water-quality> n.com/view/full_story/14797690/article-Fracking-might-impair-water-quality>in
      jeopardy. Environmentalists point to North Carolina as proof of the
      for national clean-water safeguards that can't be flouted by
      cheap-to-buy-off state politicos.

      *Utah's Arches and Canyonlands National Parks*

      Late in the Bush administration, the federal government leased lands
      adjacent to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah to oil and gas
      interests. (Environment and climate activist Tim DeChristopher was
      ultimately jailed<http://www.rollings <http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/exclusive-interview-with-jailed-climate-activist-tim-dechristopher-20111019> tone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/exclusive-interview-with-jailed-climate-activist-tim-dechristopher-20111019>for
      submitting fake bids to disrupt the assault on this landscape.) One of
      the first actions of Obama's Interior Department was to revoke the
      leases<http://www.npca. <http://www.npca.org/protecting-our-parks/air-land-water/mining-and-fracking/protecting-arches-and-canyonlands.html> org/protecting-our-parks/air-land-water/mining-and-fracking/protecting-arches-and-canyonlands.html>in
      2009. A Romney administration could just as simply put them back on

      *Ohio's Suburbs*

      Far below the Marcellus Shale lies an even a larger formation called the
      Utica Shale that extends deep into
      Ohio<http://www.epa. <http://www.epa.state.oh.us/MarcellusandUticaShale.aspx> state.oh.us/MarcellusandUticaShale.aspx>and
      contains an estimated 38
      trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural
      gas<http://www.clevelan <http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2012/10/us_releases_estimate_of_utica.html> d.com/business/index.ssf/2012/10/us_releases_estimate_of_utica.html>,
      plus nearly a billion barrels of oil. Drilling rigs are already encroaching
      on the suburbs <http://www.ohio. <http://www.ohio.com/blogs/drilling/maps> com/blogs/drilling/maps> of Ohio's big
      cities. Absent commonsense national regulation, Cleveland and Columbus
      could soon look like Fort Worth, Texas. "There's urban drilling," says Amy
      Mall of NRDC Action Fund. "They put some of their drill rigs in city parks
      in Fort Worth." (Watch this time-lapse
      .GIF<http://www.eia. <http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/images/2011.07.12/shale.gif> gov/todayinenergy/images/2011.07.12/shale.gif>of
      shale drilling swallowing Ft. Worth.)

      *North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park*

      With advice from a top fracking
      CEO<http://www.rollings <http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/mitt-romneys-dirty-dozen-20121022> tone.com/politics/news/mitt-romneys-dirty-dozen-20121022>getting
      rich in North Dakota's oil fields, Romney has proposed giving
      states ultimate authority over where to drill � even on federal lands
      within state borders. That's bad news for Theodore Roosevelt National Park,
      where oil platforms dot the viewshed, and where grandfathered oil and gas
      leases could actually lead to drilling within the park. Romney's proposal
      would leave that decision up to politicians in the state capital, Bismarck,
      not Park Service authorities in Washington. Lax oversight in North Dakota
      led to more than 1,000 spills of drilling fluid, wastewater and oil last
      year alone.

      *Florida's Everglades*

      You may be surprised to learn that there's already oil and gas drilling in
      Big Cypress National Preserve, a national park unit adjacent to the
      Everglades. And during the GOP primaries, after Michele Bachmann called for
      expanded drilling in the Everglades, Florida's Republican governor, Rick
      Scott, expressed
      "cautious<http://thinkprogres <http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/09/07/313218/florida-gov-rick-scott-supports-oil-drilling-in-the-everglades/> s.org/climate/2011/09/07/313218/florida-gov-rick-scott-supports-oil-drilling-in-the-everglades/>"
      support for the idea. Under a Romney administration, the Everglades could
      again become a target. "Giving states control is a huge concern," says
      Christy Goldfuss, director of the Public Lands Project at the Center for
      American Progress. "Especially in national parks."


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