Monday, March 05, 2007

Walberg the Environmentalist?

We all know about the Club for Growth's support of Tim Walberg, presumably for his "business-friendly" positions. Ordinarily, that kind of friendliness isn't associated with environmentalism. We always hear stories of the little guy standing up to the chemical company, or the oil company, or the lumber company, in defense of natural beauty.

Could it be that the "pro-growth" Walberg is actually an environmentalist? That's what his Weekly Wrap-Up seems to imply:

Washington, Mar 2 - Many of the fondest memories my wife Sue and I have of the childhood days of our three now-adult children involve our family spending time together in the Michigan great outdoors.

As campers, hikers, hunters and nature lovers, Michiganders cherish the beauty of our great two peninsulas, and we understand and respect the environment whose stewardship has been entrusted to us as citizens of this great state.

Currently, Michigan faces a pressing environmental problem that threatens both recreational activities our families have enjoyed for generations and our state’s economic and cultural identity.
Walberg continues:
Sadly, our lakes suffer damage every day through untreated sewage, toxic pollutants and aquatic invasive species. The ecosystem surrounding the lakes is breaking down.

I recently learned that every 28 weeks a new non-native species is discovered in the Great Lakes and 23 billion gallons of raw sewage has been dumped into the lakes by antiquated wastewater treatment facilities.

More than two-thirds of the wetlands that serve to cleanse water, prevent erosion and provide a home for fish and wildlife have been lost along the Great Lakes.

Populations of aquatic life, such as perch and white fish, are disappearing in areas these species formerly thrived.

While this problem may seem overwhelmingly vast and unsalvageable, manageable solutions to the problem exist.
Yes! Manageable solutions do exist for environmental problems, even those on a global scale. He proceeds to describe his support for the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, which will hopefully solve some of the problems. I admit, I'm not as knowledgeable on environmental issues as I should be, but I applaud Congressman Walberg for trying to do something.

Now that he's joined the environmentalists, would he consider working on behalf of a few new causes?

Like, suppose oil companies wanted to drill in an area of wilderness unlike any other, far away in the Arctic, and currently protected by the government. It may be far away, unlike the Great Lakes, but surely Tim Walberg will fight to protect it, right? Or not.
Environmental and energy policy: Candidates were asked whether they support tax breaks and incentives for alternative fuels like ethanol, and whether they support drilling for oil in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.

WALBERG: Says he supports tax breaks for alternative fuels, saying “I’m committed to giving tax breaks to all citizens, including business.” Supports drilling in ANWR and says it can be done “discreetly and safely.”
Hmm... Well, maybe he'll change his mind. And I'm sure he recognizes that the oil companies have a long record of polluting the environment, and that it's ridiculous that they have record profits and charge high prices while doing so. He'd certainly stand up to the oil companies on this one, right?

In short, the bill reduces oil industry subsidies (Steny Hoyer, D-MD says: "The oil industry doesn't need the taxpayers' help. ... There is not an American that goes to a gas pump that doesn't know that.") and seeks to fix an error that allowed oil companies to keep over $1 billion in royalties that would otherwise have gone to the government. It passed the House, 264-163.

Tim Walberg voted No.
Well. Maybe not. But what about global warming? It may be the defining environmental issue of our time, and what we do today will have an enormous impact on the future of our planet. Now, he's just a freshman in the House, I don't expect him to have a solution in place. But as a reliable Republican member, surely his party would try to help fight the man-made causes of global warming. We've known that it would be a problem for decades, and Republicans have controlled Congress since 1994. Surely, by now, they've recognized the need for action.

It's a poll by National Journal, asking members of Congress the question, "Do you think it's been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the Earth is warming because of man-made problems?" What are the results?

Democrats: Yes - 95%. No - 2%
Republicans: Yes - 13%. No - 84%
I see. You know, I'm getting the feeling that they might not be as firmly committed to environmental causes as I thought...

If Walberg's work benefits the Great Lakes, I'll almost, for a moment, be proud to have him as my representative. Almost. But there's so much more that can and needs to be done to protect our environment, and I hope he'll consider doing more. There are plenty of issues he could get involved with.

Contact Congressman Walberg, and urge him to become an environmental leader in the House, and to start with global warming. His contact page is here, and you can submit messages electronically here

Some useful links: - Web site of Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth.
The League of Conservation Voters
Michigan LCV
Black Bear Speaks blog
Among the Trees blog

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Haha. Thanks for the writeup... I'm interested to see where this goes.
Oh God. He has just learned about invasive species, sewage overflow and wetland loss. Either he can't read, can't swim and has never walked outside, or he's just full of it. This casts serious doubt on this man's intelligence. His opponent in the next election should bitch-slap him repeatedly with that quote.
Sorry to be off topic here, but Walberg has been in one of the Detroit papers and now in the Battle Creek paper grandstanding about the crap going on at Walter Reed. I truly don't think he even knows that Walter Reed is run by the Department of Defense or not, but his moronic strategy is to call for massive reform at the Veteran's Administration. He does not even understand they are two seperate departments.

He is shooting his mouth off about something he does not understand. He is dangerous and I am embarassed he represents me in Congress.
As far as Walter Reed goes, the SECDEF has enough sense to put Joe Schwarz on the review committee.

It's too bad Joe can't be there as a sitting member of Congress.
He was one of the few members of Congress who IS a veteran and knows intimately military medicine.

We need him back in Washington in more permanent position.
It would be interesting to find out how much Walberg has given to conservation organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, NWTF, MUCC, etc.

My guess is nil.
The issue is that the wounded veterans leave the military hospitals and then go into the VA system, I think he sees the long-term implications of ensuring that the VA system is prepared to handle the new wounded soldiers. I'm a partisan like you, but certain things you just need give the elected official the benefit of the doubt because it's not a partisan issue...
Does Joe post on this blog or something? Seriously, people should move on and focus on 08.
Military health care is not a partisan issue, I wholeheartedly agree. But, I will not sit idle while my Congressman ignorantly jumps on an issue when he does not know what he is talking about. If he is not ignorant, then he is trying to manipulate people into thinking he is working on a problem which he is not. There have been no claims that the VA is hte problem here. Walter Reed is the topic, and Walberg is using the opportunity to call for radical change at the VA. Two seperate issues and by doing that, he is confusing the topic and damaging the debate. Very typical for him. There is nothing partisan in saying Walberg has a record and a long history of treating facts and the truth as only sometimes necessary. This is simply another in a long line of half-truths, lies and misdirections for his own personal gain.
Why is the commission looking at both military hospitals and VA hospitals and outpatient clinics? If in fact the problem is purely with the military hospitals. I think once again you're avoiding an honest discussion and diving into a political hatchet job...
Anyone who uses the problem at Walter Reed as a pretext to investigate other agency hospitals is diverting attention from the problem. That is "avoiding an honest discussion."

Look, we have a problem at one building at Walter Reed Army hospital. A sane person with no agenda would do everything to fix that problem. The DoD is addressing the problem.

When people like Walberg use the issue to grandstand and call for radical changes to other agencies, while using Walter Reed as the example, it is honest to question his motives.
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