Tonight, union and environmental activists are threatening to protest Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s speech at the Washington Policy Center’s annual dinner. Such protests, of course, are long on rhythmic chanting and short on thoughtful argument.

It is notable, however, that the announcement of the protest encourages “environmental activists” to protest the Governor’s “environment-damaging policies.” So, here are five questions for environmental activists who decide to show up tonight.

  • Seattle environmental blog Grist attacks Walker, calling him an “an anti-environment scumbag.” Why? They didn’t like “Walker’s bill to kneecap wind energy by imposing tight restrictions on where turbine farms can be built.” Does that also make the Kittitas Audubon Society, Friends of the Gorge and former Governor Gregoire (who scaled back wind projects due to neighbor concerns) environmental scumbags?
  • This year the legislature’s own auditing agency found that the Puget Sound Partnership (chaired by a major donor to environmental groups) is failing to meet its most basic goals. They wrote: “Hundreds of millions of dollars to be spent on ongoing programs have not been prioritized, and the Partnership recommends that all effective ongoing programs be maintained, but has not identified which ones are effective.” After more than five years of failure, what are you doing to make progress on Puget Sound cleanup?
  • Since 2002, Washington state’s per capita carbon emissions fell 40% more slowly than the United States as a whole (6.1% for Washington compared to 9.8% for the US). Numerous cities, including Seattle, promised to meet the carbon reduction targets in the Kyoto Protocol, but failed badly. Despite that, the environmental community often brags about their success in climate policy. Do you agree that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome?
  • Environmental activists complain about cuts to the Department of Ecology and other agencies in recent years. What could you have done with the $4.4 million in potentially bad loans the state gave failed “green” businesses? Not to mention the $400 million in cost overruns from the 520 bridge? Who do you hold accountable for those lost opportunities to help the environment?
  • Environmental activists oppose coal exports from Washington state. Labor leaders, on the other hand, are strong supporters of building export terminals for the coal. Why are you more concerned about union jobs in Wisconsin than Washington state?

There are many more we could ask.

Ultimately, it is easier to ignore your own (consistent) failings and just point an accusatory finger at others. That approach, however, sacrifices the environment for the sake of the environmental community’s image.


[Reposted with permission from the Washington Policy Center blog] featured image used under Creative Commons license with attribution, credit: Richard Hurd]