Mitt Romney on Environment
Former Republican Governor (MA); presidential nominee-apparent
A: Preventive practices are the best tool to reduce the incidence of food-borne illnesses because they provide the greatest control over the potential risks of contamination and are generally the most cost-effective. These practices are best developed by growers, handlers, processors, and others in the supply chain with specific knowledge of the risks, diversity of operations in the industry, and feasibility of potential mitigation strategies.
In a Romney Administration, the FDA will work closely with industry, and collaborate with researchers and state agencies, to develop specific guidance for the commodities most often associated with food-borne illness outbreaks. With advanced research and continued scientific breakthroughs, state-of-the-art monitoring, and a collaborative instead of combative relationship between regulators and businesses, America's food system will continue to be the world's best.
A: America has made extraordinary environmental progress in recent decades thanks to the laws that protect our air and water. But while these laws have served us well, they have not been modernized in over 20 years and are now significantly out of date. Our communities and businesses must contend with excessively costly and inflexible approaches that impose unnecessary economic constraints and trigger inevitable litigation. The result is to delay progress that could be achieved, and to leave communities and natural resources worse off.
I will modernize the federal laws and regulations governing water use to enable smarter, more collaborative, more flexible, and more cost-effective approaches that welcome state and local participation. A combination of incentives & market-based programs will improve the water quality of our lakes, rivers, streams and coastal environments.
A: The health of the world's fisheries is of paramount economic and environmental importance to not only America but also the global community. Maintenance of those fisheries also represents a significant regulatory challenge, and is indeed often used as an archetypical illustration of a situation in which a market will not succeed without some form of governance. The question, though, is what form of governance should be employed: where are international agreements required, where is government regulation most appropriate, and where can the fishing industry itself serve as the best steward? The federal government has a vital role to play in conducting sound science. A Romney Administration will safeguard the long-term health of fisheries, while welcoming input from the fishermen most affected at every step and seeking to accommodate the needs of these small businessmen wherever possible.
For years, the public had been troubled by cost overruns and design problems on the megaproject. Now the abstractions turned into a real threat: commuters were, for a time, afraid to venture into the warren of tunnels underneath the city. Romney had public opinion on his side. Three days after the accident, the legislature handed him emergency powers over the tunnel project. Immediately, Romney became a commanding and reassuring presence, demonstrating a stunning mastery of complicated engineering details. He unveiled plans for inspections and repairs. He vowed to restore public confidence. This, even many critics had to admit, was the take-charge CEO Massachusetts voters had elected in 2002.
ROMNEY: Well, I'm not familiar with the specific regulation as it applies to New Hampshire, but I do believe that we have a responsibility to keep the air clean, and we have to find ways to assure that we don't have the pollution of one state overwhelming the ability of another state to have clean air. In my state of Massachusetts we received a lot of air from the rest of the country, given the winds coming from the west. And so the responsibility in our state was to get the emissions from our power plants down. That's one of the reasons why we moved to natural gas. If we want to help people in New England emit less pollutant into the air and therefore would have cleaner air and also have lower cost energy, it's let's build out this natural gas system.
As governor, Romney was once surrounded by aides, all of whom were enthusiastic about building a rail extension to Cape Cod. "This is not helping," Romney complained. "I need to hear the arguments of the person who opposes the project." [The Cape Cod rail extension was never implemented].
The MTA directed the construction of the Big Dig--$10 billion over budget when Matt Amorello was appointed MTA chief in 2002 by Romney's GOP predecessor. The Amorellos were a reasonably prominent Republican family.
Romney was at odds with Amorello and made no secret of the fact that he wanted Amorello and the MTA gone. Finally, the opportunity presented itself, in tragedy. A 24-ton ceiling tile over the roadway in one of the new tunnels fell onto a car and killed a young mother. Romney hastily arranged to meet Amorello, on TV, at the mouth of the tunnel. Romney forced out the troubled Amorello from his $223,000-a-year job and in doing so seemed to hold him personally accountable. From that point on, Amorello's life spun out of control--including a divorce and 2010 conviction for drunk driving.
Fisker Automotive got a $529 million loan from the Dept. of Energy. Obama hailed such subsidies as an "opportunity to ensure that fuel-efficient cars are made in America." So far, approximately 100 workers are employed by Fisker in Delaware, while an additional 500 are actually assembling the cars in Finland.
The larger lessons: First, the US government shouldn't be playing venture capitalist. Second, as Fisker's decision to manufacture in Finland makes clear, the US economy is struggling for lack of competitiveness. Instead of Obama's doomed strategy of creating jobs that are good for the environment, we need a strategy to create an environment that is good for jobs. My plan for jobs and economic growth does just that, with the goal of ensuring that no advanced manufacturer ever sees Finland as a better place than the United States to set up shop.
A: I side with states to be able to make their own regulations with regards to emissions within their own states. I side with states being able to make their own decisions, even if I don’t always agree with the decisions they make.
When tragedy struck, suddenly the Massachusetts legislature realized that the Big Dig was no longer merely a source of contracts that reeked of cronyism and corruption, but a potential public safety nightmare and political sinkhole. “It’s hard to view the catastrophe as an accident,” Romney declared. He immediately sought and received authority to conduct a safety audit of the tunnel and $20 million to conduct it.
Romney’s response to a tragedy and public safety crisis illustrates how he can be expected to act as president when the inevitable crisis arises: to demand authority and to act, but only with the advice of the best experts available.
They charged the installation would damage ground cover. I described our precautions: the whole program had been environmentally engineered to protect the land. We agreed to re-grade the dirt road. We also agreed to plant seed when we were through. We agreed to pay $25,000 to the Nature Conservancy endowment. The environmental groups still said no. If it were not for the courage of the Mayor standing up to some constituents, we might not have prevailed. That and the generosity of Utah Power. They bought 1000s of bulbs and their own workers installed it.
The rings were a signature of the overall look of the Games. We even had requests from the community that we illuminate the rings in the morning so commuters could enjoy the Olympic spirit.
“There have been too many left behind,” Romney said after his announcement, in response to reporters’ questions. “Our schools aren’t solid enough; our environment has not been cleaned the way it could be. Our streets are not as safe as they could be. All these things could be made better in my view with the application of new leadership and sound management principles.“
The millionaire venture capitalist said voters should not have trouble connecting with his candidacy. ”Everything I’ve done over the last three years, I think, makes it clear that I’m very much connected with the people of our country and the people of our world,“ he said.
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