Do you know what the parties stand for?
Summers in America are renowned for great movies and many entertainment choices.
This year, and every four years in America, we also had marathon political party conventions to help entertain us with showmanship and drama. Whether it’s the Ted Cruz and his “vote your conscience” non-endorsement or the Democratic National Committee emails showing favoritism against Bernie Sanders, much of the news around this political theater focused on what happened on the stage.
But what probably matters more to Americans, and what may forecast probable impacts to our lives, is what is really happening behind the curtain so-to-speak: the party platforms.
For us Oklahomans, where we know the land we belong to is grand, there ought to be a heightened awareness to the energy, environment and climate positions and objectives of political parties and presidential candidates. So in case you are curious, here is a sampling of those platform polices just approved by both parties the last two weeks.
Democratic Party platform
- Energy and natural resource policy: Calls on the U.S. to generate half of its electricity from clean resources in the next decade and cleaner transportation fuels; requests tax code changes to create incentives for renewable energy.
- Environmental policy: Calls for the end of the Halliburton loophole that stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to regulate hydraulic fracturing, ensuring tough safeguards are in place to protect local water supplies.
- Climate change position and policy: Calls for setting a price on greenhouse gas emissions; calls on government officials at all levels to take any steps possible to reduce pollution rather than waiting for Congress to act.
Green Party platform
- Energy and natural resource policy: Advocates a rapid reduction in energy consumption through energy efficiency and a decisive transition away from fossil and nuclear power toward cleaner, renewable, local energy sources; encourage conservation; move toward renewable sources; decentralize the grid; and re-localize the food system.
- Environmental policy: Extensive platform positions focus on environmental justice and conclude that it is founded on two fundamental beliefs: that all people have the right to live, work, learn, and play in safe and healthful environments, and that people have the right to influence decisions that affect environmental quality in their communities.
- Climate change position and policy: Want to stop runaway climate change, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least 40 percent by 2020 and 95 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels.
Libertarian Party platform
- Energy and natural resource policy: While energy is needed to fuel a modern society, government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy; oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production.
- Environmental Policy: Competitive free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems.
- Climate change position and policy: While there is no specific reference to climate change, some related positions include: Governments are unaccountable for damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection; protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights and responsibilities regarding resources like land, water, air, and wildlife.
Republican Party platform
- Energy and natural resource policy: Calls for the approval and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to carry Canadian and U.S. fossil fuel resources to further U.S. markets; coal is an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource.
- Environmental policy: Propose to shift responsibility for environmental regulation to the states, away from the EPA, and to transform the EPA into a bipartisan independent commission.
- Climate change position and policy: Climate change is far from the nation’s most pressing national security issue and calls for the repeal of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan; opposed to international accords like the agreement crafted recently in Paris last year; forbid the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide.
Happy reading and no matter what, please vote.
Jim Roth, a former Oklahoma corporation commissioner, is an attorney with Phillips Murrah PC in Oklahoma City, where his practice focuses on clean, green energy for Oklahoma.