Reckless: The Political Assault on the American Environment

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9781442217973: Reckless: The Political Assault on the American Environment
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Republicans regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 at a time of unprecedented global challenge and change. Instead of devoting the next year to embracing opportunity amid turmoil, though, the lawmakers waged the worst legislative assault in history against the commonsense safeguards we all depend on to protect our environment and health. In a single calendar year, the Republican-led House voted nearly 200 times to weaken, block, or delay needed measures that defend our air, water, wildlife, and lands. This book tells the story of that misguided campaign, how it put our nation at risk, and where we need to go from here, for the sake of Americans everywhere, for the sake of our children's future.

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About the Author:

Bob Deans is the author of the 2007 book The River Where American Began: A Journey Along the James. He coauthored 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 Addition. A Native of Richmond, Virginia, Deans spent twenty-five years as correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other Cox newspapers before joining the Natural Resources Defense Council and the NRDC Action Fund in 2009. He is a former president of the White House Correspondents Association and lives in Bethesda Maryland with his wife and their three children.

Review:

Deans (associate director, communications, Natural Resource Defense Council; The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James) crafts a blistering critique of the testimony, actions, and environmental voting records of the majority House party in a single year of the 112th U.S. Congress. He demonstrates that 40 years of thoughtful environmental regulations based upon sound scientific research and evidence do not negatively impact employment or economic conditions but instead stimulate the economy and make the United States more competitive. Deans also establishes clear links between contributions from industry lobbying groups and the voting records of legislators receiving these funds. He effectively demonstrates that in a single calendar year the Republican majority voted over 190 times to weaken, delay, or block reasonable environmental protections that have been supported by every President since Richard Nixon, including Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Verdict With a wealth of statistics and testimony from the U.S. House floor, this brief but compelling narrative will interest anyone working or studying in the areas of public affairs and policy, environmental policy, or environmental studies in this election year. (Library Journal)

Following 2007's The River Where America Began: A Journey Along the James, Deans focuses his historian's lens on the degradation of environmental protection measures following the Republicans assuming control of the House of Representatives in 2010. Taking note of contemporary shifts in the GOP--spurred on by Tea Party candidates and corporate campaign contributions--he contrasts the recent environmental assault from the Right with the significant environmental regulations supported by past conservative presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln. Focusing on threats to land, air, and water, Deans' research exposes the influence of lobbyists and campaign supporters on voting outcomes. He cites multiple instances when public health and environmental protections lost out to corporate interests, as in West Virginia, where coal mining pollutes Appalachian creeks, or in the Chesapeake Bay, where run-off disturbs fisheries. The strength in Deans' work emerges when he debunks the false claim that a healthy economy is hampered by environmental regulation; in fact, he argues cogently that such regulations promote growth and increase competitiveness. Deans...succeeds in "stand[ing] up to the influence of money in politics" and in issuing a fact-filled call for bipartisan support of environmental protection initiatives. (Publishers Weekly)

From the foreword: When we remember where we came from, Republicans and Democrats alike, we will find our way back to our environmentalist roots. We will reopen the door to the progressive solutions we need to address the challenges and embrace the opportunities of a changing world. We’ll keep faith with our political forebears. And we’ll keep the promise we’ve made to our children. (Robert Redford, Actor and Director; trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council)

From the preface: [The] bedrock protections we all rely upon have come under a withering partisan assault, as some have sought to turn environmental protections into an issue to divide us, red and blue. . . . We need to restore the bipartisan spirit that has enabled us to accomplish so much. We need to rebuild the environmental majority that has served us so well for so long.This book lays the groundwork for that vital mission and makes clear why we must succeed. The stakes are too high for anything less. (Sherwood Boehlert, director, NRDC Action Fund; senior fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center)

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