WASHINGTON (April 16, 2012) – America weathered in 2011 the worst legislative assault on our environment in modern history, an attack that has slowed our transition to a clean energy economy and hampered our recovery from the deepest recession since the Great Depression, according to a new book published today by the NRDC Action Fund.
Reckless: The Political Assault on the American Environment is written by Bob Deans, a veteran foreign correspondent and Washington-based journalist who now works for the NRDC Action Fund.
In the book, Deans chronicles the story of this Tea Party-led attempt by the House of Representatives to unravel our environmental safety net while making a resounding case that it is time to turn this around. He also makes clear that safeguarding our environment is bipartisan work. No single party, acting alone, can get the job done.
"It's not about jobs, it's about putting polluter profits first – and putting the rest of us at risk, from the air we breathe to the waters we drink, from the mountains to the sea," said Bob Deans, author and NRDC Action Fund staffer. "The American people didn't ask for this rampage, but somebody else did: big polluters who spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year lobbying Washington and pumping up the campaign coffers of the politicians who carry a smokestack agenda up on Capitol Hill."
The book recalls the long Republican history of environmental stewardship, dating back to Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. It documents how radically the party of T.R. and Lincoln has allowed itself to be driven away from that legacy by lawmakers and corporate polluters who often fund their campaigns.
Since Republicans regained control of the House in 2010, the body has voted more than 200 times to block, delay or weaken the common sense safeguards that defend our water, wildlife, air and lands. And the onslaught continues.
"Republicans have been part of the environmental movement since the get go, and it just drives me nuts that we now seem to be walking away from it, as if it were something bad or we don't believe in science or the environment," former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman explains in the book. "To me, conservation is conservative," continues Whitman, a career Republican who served as the EPA Administrator under President George W. Bush, "and that ought to be part of what we're about."
In a Foreword to Reckless, Robert Redford adds, "Americans don't want our environmental protections to be eviscerated. As Americans, we have a special responsibility, I believe, to respect and reclaim our country's rich preservationist legacy, our bipartisan record of environmental stewardship, and our shared commitment to future generations. Without that bipartisan commitment, no single party could have begun to create what together we've built-the foundation of environmental and preservation law that makes our nation stronger and enriches us all."
Deans also notes that cleaning up our environment is also good for our economy as well as our health. Some 1.7 million Americans work every day to clean up or reduce pollution in an industry worth some $300 billion a year. Americans export more than $40 billion worth of environmental equipment and services each year - more than 25 percent more than we import. The attacks are really about profits. Corporate polluters have bankrolled the tea party movement to the tune of scores of millions of dollars, paying for rallies, buses, town hall meetings, phone banks and more, in order to hijack grassroots activists and link their calls for smaller government to industry demands to eviscerate environmental protections.
"Bob's book chronicles what is historically the worst legislative assault on key safeguards for the environment and our health," said Heather Taylor-Miesle, NRDC Action Fund Director. "The release of this book near Earth Day 2012 is a strong reminder that by working together we were able to come a long way in protecting the environment. Now those very achievements are under attack by the current leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives. We must come together again to stop any and all attempts by Congress to move environmental and health standards backwards."
The NRDC Action Fund will host a book launch party, Tuesday, April 17 from 6-8 pm at the National Press Club to celebrate the release of Reckless and its author, NRDC Action Fund staffer Bob Deans. Before joining the NRDC Action Fund, Deans spent two decades covering Washington for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other Cox Newspapers. He's a former president of the White House Correspondents' Association. Deans is author of the 2007 book The River Where American Began: A Journey Along the James. He is the co-author of the 2009 book, Clean Energy Common Sense: An American Call to Action on Global Climate Change, and the 2010 book, In Deep Water: The Anatomy of a Disaster, the Fate of the Gulf, and Ending our Oil Addiction. A native of Richmond, Va., Deans lives in Bethesda, Md., with his wife and their three children.
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