The Republican Party has a heritage of Presidents who promoted the environment, but now it is being totally abandoned by the GOP House of Representatives and the Republican Presidential candidates, in their mad dash to support the oil and coal industries and others which pollute the environment and undermine Americans’ health and well being!
Theodore Roosevelt, while President from 1901-1909, became the supreme conservationist and environmentalist, promoting a quadrupling of national parks, calling conservation conferences at the White House, and working to cut industrial damage to the environment. The historian Douglas Brinkley has written a massive work hailing the environmental commitment of this second greatest Republican President, only ranking behind Abraham Lincoln in historical reputation!
Sixty years after Theodore Roosevelt left office, President Richard Nixon (1969-1974) became a major advocate of the environment, through the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, and his appointment of former Alaska Governor Walter Hickel as his Secretary of the Interior.
Twenty years after Nixon entered office, President George H. W. Bush (1989-1993) was able to get through the Clean Air Act of 1990, recognizing the great problem that had been created by industry and needing more federal intervention.
And now twenty years after Bush I became President, the party they led is backing away from any concern with the environment. It is not just Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann, but even Mitt Romney, who had earlier backed environmental protection as Governor of Massachusetts, has given up his principles in the pursuit to win the GOP Presidential nomination and appeal to Tea Party looniness! Legislation has been proposed to allow uranium mining in the Grand Canyon, a most reckless action, which thankfully can be prevented by the Democratic controlled Senate and a Democratic President using his veto.
This is a tragedy of massive proportions, and TR and Nixon must be turning over in their graves, and Bush I certainly must be very disturbed privately at the abandonment of the most important heritage America can offer to the future–clean air, clean water, clean soil!