Colson: Walker wants to be ‘polluter in chief’

with John Colson

Aw, jeez, now Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is running, formally, for the top job in the U.S., a fact that should make everybody, old and young alike, tremble uncontrollably.

Everyone except his Republican buddies, I guess, since they are greeting his candidacy with high-fives and whoops of joy at the idea of his becoming “Polluter In Chief.”

After doing everything he could to ruin the State of Wisconsin, he wants to turn his spotlight of destruction on the entire country by somehow fooling us into electing him president.

What’s that, you say? How has he ruined Wisconsin?

I’m really glad you asked.

Walker’s most famous act has been to wipe out the collective bargaining rights of most state employees, though the anti-worker axe notably spared the state troopers who have the job of guarding his body. I guess even he isn’t dumb enough to piss off a bunch of guys and gals who carry guns and happen to be standing next to him all the time.

But his anti-labor crusade is not what I’m interested in today. It’s his anti-environment record I want to highlight.

According to a report in the New Republic over the weekend, Walker is “the most dangerous candidate on climate change.” And that, I have to say, is a notable distinction among a crowd of political aspirants who have declared that climate change is the one thing they all agree on — meaning they deny, universally, that human causes can be implicated in the globe’s worsening climatological circumstances.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, has declared he wants to repeal federal regulations on climate change because he believes there is no evidence that the climate has warmed in the past 15 years. I can only presume the rock he lives under is very wide and located next to a swamp, where evaporative cooling keeps his skin pale and his internal organs, including his brain, operating at low rpm’s.

In other words, Cruz is a humanoid lizard who can’t see beyond the end of his own political ambitions.

Well, Walker is right there with the Cruz-meister.

He has slashed funding for Wisconsin’s once-admired set of environmental regulations, which go all the way back past the halcyon days of environmental activism of former Gov. Gaylord Nelson.

He wants to vastly reduce the role of science in environmental policymaking, by cutting a third of the state’s 58 scientist-jobs at the Department of Natural Resources, freeze funding for the state’s popular land-conservation fund, and in 2013 paved the way for a mining company, Gogebic Taconite, to build a 4-mile long open pit mine in the Lake Superior watershed and dump mine waste into wetlands adjoining that watershed.

His actions essentially doubled the acreage that the mine could pollute, compared to prior regulations, and strips citizens of any and all rights to sue mining companies for illegal environmental damage. The company, which helped write the laws in question, dropped the mining proposal when it discovered unexpected expanses of wetlands, and realized it would have been forced to deal with federal wetlands regulations rather than Walker’s pet-governor mandates.

Walker also has eased restrictions on the manufacture of “fracking sand,” the particles used in the hydraulic fracturing process for coaxing deeply buried reserves of oil and gas. The sand comes from the famous, and fabulous, bluff country along the Mississippi River, and has raised the hackles of activists of all persuasions along the river corridor.

In addition, Walker, who was first elected in 2011, has undermined laws passed in 2010 that imposed volumetric restrictions on phosphorus pollution, which has demonstrably devastated the state’s waterways and is known to be harmful to aquatic life as well as human health.

And he joined 13 other states in challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which was meant to cut carbon emissions from the state’s power plants by 34 percent.

The lawsuit behind that challenge was dismissed by a federal court last month, but I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of this. I note that, according to an article in last month’s Scientific American magazine, Walker cited research funded by Peabody Energy in arguing that the EPA’s new rules would be too expensive for the industry, and implied that his state would not abide by the rules even if they are put into effect.

The list goes on, ad nauseum, but you get the idea.

Scott Walker is an environmental disaster just waiting to spread beyond the boundaries of the poor, benighted state he currently is running into the ground.

Even some in his own party, such as retired Republican state senator Dale Schultz, think Walker is out of control and dangerously beholden to the Koch brothers and other right-wing billionaires whose main interest in politics is to dismantle any and all government regulations that might get in the way of their profits.

Make no mistake, Scott Walker never met a polluter he didn’t like, as long as the polluter had a deep pocket.

Aspen Times Weekly

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