Tuesday, June 15, 2010

BP's Lesson for the Delaware River and Region

The BP oil spill should teach all of our legislators, regulators, friends and neighbors a huge lesson – the health of our Rivers, oceans, wetlands, streams, matter – they matter for every level of life.  In addition to clean waterways for drinking water, recreation, and our health, we need the clean water and healthy habitats to sustain the jobs that sustain lives, families and whole economies.   This is as true here along the Delaware River as it is in the Gulf.  The Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s recently released River Values report proves that. (found at www.delawareriverkeeper.org)

And yet, now that the spill has been weeks in happening, once again we hear conservative anti-environmentalists attacking any and all who are seeking strong laws and regulations and actions to protect our rivers, oceans and environments from the never-ending search for fossil fuels – whether it is oil drilling in the ocean, natural gas drilling in the Upper Delaware, or drastic deepening projects and LNG facilities to make transportation of that fuel cheaper for the oil companies and their profits.  This reality despite that seeking cleaner energy strategies are better long term job creating and community protecting investments.

(Please notice I said “conservative anti-environmentalists” not republicans.  This is not a political party issue.  Protecting our environment should be the highest priority for all political parties and at many points in history has been.)

We can no longer allow extremist groups rob us of the environmental protection we deserve and need – they do it by capturing the message and capturing the press.  But if we were to rise together in a common voice for the River, for the environment, for the health and future of our selves, our families, our children, and the critters that enrich our lives the extremists could not rob us of the message and in so doing rob us of strong action by our political representatives. 

When the extremist anti-enviros steal the message our politicians seem to cower.  Instead they need to stand strong and proud and take back the message, stressing that we best protect ourselves when we best protect our River and environments.  If the politicians on either side of the aisle don’t have the backbone to take back the message and take the action on their own to protect our River and environment, it is our job as the public to give them the strength and spine they need to help them -- to force them -- to do it.