Dear Friends of the Environment
At this moment in time the Sierra Club, Oregon Natural Resources Council (ONRC), and Oregon League of Conservation Voters (OLCV) have all endorsed the Democratic incumbent. The Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) will hold a gubernatorial debate in September with Kulongoski, Saxton, and Westlund and plans to exclude Joe Keating, the green candidate.
Sounds like business as usual. That's the rub. We have the leadership of the enviro movement in lock step with the Democratic Party. The incumbent Democratic candidate has a horrible environmental record and a dismal overall approval rating of only 36%. His viability as a candidate is doomed.
The bottom line is that all of this is really bad news for the environment of Oregon. The challenge is coming to grips with the reality that as long as the big environmental groups are in lock step with Democratic Party the environmental community will compromise its ability to protect the environment. The rate will vary but the decline of our environment will continue.
To give you a sense of how deeply embedded this problem is in the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Club's 'leadership' very reluctantly provided a candidates questionnaire to the Keating For Governor Campaign staff and refused to interview him. Adding insult to injury the Sierra Club then pulled an accepted article Joe had written for the Summer edition of the Conifer (Sierra Club's quarterly publication) and substituted a late article lauding Kulongoski with their endorsement. Keep in mind that Joe is a forest issues coordinator and a former Chair of the Sierra Club with 19 years of front line environmental activism to his credit.
If we can accept the problem and deal with it objectively, it can be solved.
If you want to stop environmental decline in Oregon, think and vote independently. For Oregon's sake, think and act for yourself. Please check Joe's website today: www.gojoekeating.org
The following is the article by Joe Keating that the Sierra Club doesn't want you to read:
Where is the Environment in the Election 2006?
The answer, unfortunately, is nowhere. I have been out on the campaign trail as the Pacific Green Party's nominee for Governor for three months now. All throughout the state I have talked to hundreds of conservative, progressive and independent Oregonians about what's important to them. I can count on one hand the number of questions I have received about Oregon's environment. A bit shocking, a bit depressing, and a big wake up call.
Have Oregonians forgotten about the environment. No, the fact is most folks have other priorities and attitudes that are crowding out environmental issues. Most Oregonians are still environmentally concerned.
However the environment is much lower down the pecking order of issues than I have found in my 19 years of environmental work.
The areas that are most pressing and hold center stage for most folks are:
Bad Government - People are correctly very distrustful of Government. This leads to disillusionment, powerlessness, a general feeling of malaise, and an attitude of 'throw the the bums out',
Health and Education - Quality education and universal health care are basic rights and the government has failed miserably to provide these rights.
People are correctly very upset. Health and education issues lead into the area of financial mismanagement of the state.
Gas prices/Iraq war ? The escalating price of gas hits people daily in the pocket book and is a daily reminder of the war in Iraq and the general alienation of most of the world to the US and its foreign policy. Where will all this lead? Where's the country going? Are we losing control? People don't exactly know but they are scared.
Weighed against these concerns the environment is taking a back seat. As a result we are not generating people pressure on the gubernatorial candidates to hold them accountable. We are losing our political leverage to protect Oregon's natural wonders. Over 70% of Oregonians consider themselves environmentalists but that statistic is meaningless unless we make our voices heard BEFORE the elections are held in November.
All candidates who are not truly committed to environmental protection can and will hide there intentions and make little if any meaningful environmental commitments. We must hold their feet to the fire.
If this situation continues there will be no standard of political accountability for our next Governor. The guaranteed result will be the continued erosion of Oregon's environmental protection.
With our air and water already considered among the worst in the country, land use regulations in a state of disarray, and the rape of our forests continuing unchecked we have no room for complacency. If we don't do something about it now the situation is about to get a lot worse.
The environmental community needs to take a deep breath and get involved politically. Get involved in this election. Demand that all the candidates define and commit to the environmental protection of Oregon and find out exactly how they intend to do this. I will do my part. On behalf of all the critters, please do yours.