Presidential Candidates Not Focused On The Environment

Oct 22, 2012

The environment hasn’t been a big issue during this presidential campaign. It mainly comes up in the context of energy independence.

Debate Moderator: “I welcome you to the first of the 2012 Presidential Debate.”

President Barack Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney have been talking about energy independence and job creation. But the environment? Not so much.

The word “environment” was mentioned once during the first debate.

Romney used it this way.

Romney: “I don’t want to kill jobs in this environment.”

The environment got a brief mention in the second debate.

President Obama tied it to natural gas drilling. President Obama: “We've got potentially 600,000 jobs and a hundred years' worth of energy right beneath our feet with natural gas. And we can do it in an environmentally sound way.”

It’s that “environmentally sound way” that Mary Potter wants to hear more about. She’s a second generation Oregonian who lives in Wilsonville.

Potter: “There’s possibilities for creating jobs, but I just kind a wonder what the costs of those jobs are and what’s the countryside going to look like when we are all finished.“

Jobs are the number one issue on people’s minds.

A national Gallup Poll conducted in July shows that 92 percent of those surveyed said creating jobs was very important.

Compare that 92 percent to the 52 percent who said environmental issues are very important.

Anne Botwin falls into the 52 percent. She lives in Bellingham Washington. She’s fighting against a coal export terminal that has been proposed near her community.

Botwin: “What I would most like to hear the presidential candidates address is global warming which leads to climate change, and specifically, the need to stop burning fossil fuels and the need to promote green energy technology.”

The presidential candidates have talked about ways to encourage green energy.

They haven’t debated the issue of climate change. And they haven’t discussed the export of U.S. coal to Asia.

For those debates, you may have to turn to your local politicians.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio