By Jill Stein, Green Party activist and 2012 Presidential candidate:
Jill Stein, the recent Green Party presidential candidate, said today that the resignation of Lisa Jackson as head of the Environmental Protection Agency underscores the resistance of the Obama administration to dealing with climate change and the environment.
“President Obama has been a climate change evader. Even when he briefly discussed climate change right after the election, he said any action would have to take a back seat to getting the economy moving again. He just doesn’t grasp that the path to full employment starts with building a clean energy future. And that climate change is already underway and further delay will be a disaster,” noted Stein.
Numerous media reports said that Jackson decided to leave due to her frustration over constant fights with the White House over climate change and the rejection of key environmental proposals such as regulating ozone. Obama last year decided to suspend EPA’s new rules to reduce smog.
Given the gridlock in Congress, the only likely action on climate change and the environment during Obama’s second term would be from EPA administrative action not subject to Congressional approval.
A story this week in the NY Post said that the final straw in Jackson’s departure was a decision by Obama to allegedly move ahead with the Keystone XL Pipeline, a decision which NASA scientist James Hansen said would be game over for climate change.
“America needs a strong environmental leader at EPA who will push for life-saving, economy-saving action on climate change rather than roll over for the short-term political considerations of the White House. The Obama White House far too often puts the need of campaign contributors and polluters ahead of the well-being of the American people,” added Stein. “We need an EPA committed to protecting the environment, and to a transparent, democratic process within the agency. This is essential if the EPA is to apply science in the public interest, free from the corrupting influence of industry that has historically had too much influence over EPA scientific decisions.”
Stein made climate change a focal point of her campaign (www.jillstein.org/climate), starting with her call for a Green New Deal to put Americans back to work by investing in a transition to a carbon neutral economy by relying upon clean renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation. In the closing weeks of the campaign, she took out TV ads nationally on the issue of climate. Stein was arrested in early November for helping occupiers in Texas seeking to block construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
In contrast, Obama and Romney studiously avoided talking about climate change in the election. In the last Presidential debate, the two candidates argued about which one would extract more coal, oil and natural gas. Obama bragged that under his direction, “America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years”, that he had opened up “millions of acres for gas and oil exploration”, quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high”, and “added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some.”
Stein concluded, “With the resignation of the EPA administrator, President Obama has the opportunity to rethink this disturbing environmental record. This is a time for urgent action to transform the economy for the carbon-free, nuclear-free future. The Earth is at the tipping point where climate change must be faced as a life and death issue. Our economy, civilization, and the very survival of our children are all at stake. There’s no time to lose.”