While a silver bullet for solving major environmental problems does not exist, campaign finance reform may be the casing that holds the silver buckshots. The Deepwater oilrig spill and recent coalmine explosion in West Virginia are mere symptoms of these major environmental problems. Political lap dogs chase tails of stories producing paraphrases like “it was the Reagan de-regulation era that started it all”or it’s the socialists making it so much tougher on the “free market”, which could just work out these major environmental problems. Why not just have Bugs Bunny say Abbacadabra? Because this is not a cartoon, and we are dealing with real major environmental problems.
Companies want to espouse environmental reporting measures like the Global Reporting Index (GRI) as being corporations solving sustainability issues. These inititiatives may look good and in some cases get results. The fact is the triple bottom line encompasses people, planet and profit. The problem with all this warm and fuzzy corporation triple bottom line talk is that the “people” in charge have proven to care for people like a snake cares for a frog. Our government is supposed to protect us from these intrusive reptiles, but it turns out they are from the same den and eating from the same school of tadpoles. Campaign finance reform is the way out of this treacherous pond.
How Campaign Finance Reform Can Help
My guess is that rubber-stamping of safety protocol documents would end if money were not flowing straight from the oil rig to the pockets of politicians. According to OpenSecrets.org John McCain received more cash from the oil industry during the 2008 campaign than any other lawmaker, yet Obama still received $884,000. Bobby Kennedy Jr., an environmental attorney, said in one speech, campaign finance reform is the number one way to prevent major environmental problems. Many major environmental problems would be avoided if proper procedures were followed, and appropriate punishments were dished out when they were not.
Campaign Finance Reform Needed for All Industries
No matter how campaign finance reform is done, it’s certain that to decrease the likelihood of major environmental problems and disasters, all entities must be treated equally. In terms of energy producers, campaign finance reform is primarily mentioned when speaking of “Big Oil’ and “Big Coal”. As alternative energies such as geothermal, solar and wind become more widely used it is apparent that campaign finance reform is needed to prevent these industries from causing major environmental problems as well. The website grist quotes a Silicon Valley Toxics report as stating “…the toxic materials contained in solar panels will present a serious danger to public health and the environment if they are not disposed of properly when they reach the end of their useful lives.”
Finding honest people and agencies to make sure environmental regulations are followed is a challenge even with meaningful campaign finance reform. In the interim, our planet and our health are sold to the highest bidder.