Democrat — MO 2nd District

Environment, Climate Change, and West Lake

Summary:

  • Our national policy on climate change is embarrassingly weak. It’s also an international embarrassment. Congress needs to wake up and take seriously the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community and do more regarding our contribution to global warming. It also needs to take the Pentagon’s report on climate change to heart.
  • We need to recommit ourselves to environmental protection. This includes resurrecting the Environmental Protection Agency and re-assuming our leading role in global environmental policy.
  • Congress can do more to encourage renewable energy initiatives across the country. A great example of such a program is Missouri’s “Renewable Energy Initiative.”
  • We should not tolerate the federal government’s failure to appreciate the seriousness of the West Lake Landfill disaster. Congress, the EPA, and the Army Corps of Engineers need to do more immediately with respect to this environmental calamity in our own backyard.

Climate change represents one of the biggest threats to the future of global security. This is not the conclusion of latte-sipping tree huggers in California, this is what the Defense Department concluded in a Pentagon report from a few years ago!

Big money and organized lobbying has steered Congress toward unconscionably wrong-headed conclusions that are not only an international embarrassment, but – more critically –  are also dangerous to life as we know it. If we follow the money we can get a better idea of why America is such an international outlier.

Other industrially developed nations embrace common-sense environmental regulations. These countries also aren’t as receptive to organized lobbying and campaign finance corruption. That’s not a coincidence.

We need to treat climate change as the national/global security issue that it is. The effects of decades of unregulated industrialization is already happening. We need a commitment from businesses, from individuals, and from government. We need to heed the Pentagon’s warnings.

In my opinion, here’s where we need to start:

  • First, we need a recommitment to the environment and that begins with a complete overhaul of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ideally, the EPA needs to become a full-fledged executive department, led by a cabinet secretary. If commerce, transportation, and energy are important enough to warrant an executive department, so is the environment! Whether an independent agency or a department it should always be led by a true champion of the environment and not someone openly hostile to environmental protection as is the case right now!
  • Second, environmental protection cannot be limited by political boundaries. As the scientific community knows, reversing the catastrophic effects of climate change requires a global strategy. It is irresponsible for the United States to not take a leading role in international efforts at environmental protection. First, it’s our moral responsibility as one of the world’s leading producers of greenhouse gases. Second, and more importantly, the US has always benefited when it takes the lead on global matters; it always suffers when it shirks it’s global leadership role. Environmental protection is no exception.
  • Third, we need a federally led domestic effort that encourages renewable energy initiatives throughout the states. An outstanding example of one such possible program is the “Renewable Energy Initiative” proposed in Missouri by “Government By the People.” Such “New Deal” type projects are needed if we are to make any progress on climate change. The more the federal government can do to promote and finance such initiatives, the better!

West Lake Landfill

We cannot ignore the fact that the West Lake Landfill in Berkely is considered one of the most significant environmental challenges in the nation. And given the fact that this continuing disaster is in our backyard (an underground fire there has been raging for seven years!) it would be irresponsible for any elected representative in the area to not treat this with utmost seriousness.

The families living near this area are obviously the one’s most effected. They feel scared and powerless. They deserve action from their elected federal representatives. And they definitely don’t need to be lied to. Nor should we sit back while the federal government and some of their corporate contractors try to distract us from the fact much more CAN be done and more SHOULD be done.

The narrative supported by the EPA and its defenders is that cleaning up West Lake would be too dangerous. This ignores the fact that the Army Corps of Engineers has already successfully and safely removed over a MILLION tons of radioactive material from North St. Louis County though its FUSRAP program.  That material was shipped on specially designed rail cars out of Missouri without incident. These St. Louis County sites are mere miles from West Lake.

Similar attention needs to be given to West Lake. And it needs to happen immediately. This affects all of us. But Congressional representatives from Missouri’s 1st and 2nd districts must lead the way in demanding that the EPA make cleanup of West Lake an immediate priority.

End Corruption. Demand reform.
Paid for by John Messmer for Congress.