Monday, November 5, 2012

Joshua Holland - Democracy and the Environment's Danger Signs

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
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<>,
�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
�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
Today, his approval rating in Massachusetts is just 40
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<>,
�Mitt Romney�s fantasy that Senate Democrats will work with him to pass his
'severely conservative' agenda is laughable."

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

"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

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
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." <>

*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<>sits atop the
Shale <> � 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<>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
the region's $8 billion agriculture industry. The Bureau of Land
management has begun leasing the
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
With the cooperation of the Army Corps of Engineers, there's a temporary
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 <>.
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<>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
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<>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
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
contains an estimated 38
trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural
plus nearly a billion barrels of oil. Drilling rigs are already encroaching
on the suburbs <> 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
shale drilling swallowing Ft. Worth.)

*North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park*

With advice from a top fracking
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
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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