Ralph Nader on Environment
2008 Independent for for President; 2004 Reform nominee; 2000 Green nominee
Hometown suffered regular floods; local philanthropies fixed
Winsted had the misfortune of enduring a recurrent natural disaster, courtesy of the Mad River, whose waterpower encouraged the construction of several factories on its banks. Again and again, though, the Mad River overflowed those banks, giving rise to
three generations of catastrophic floods that culminated in a devastating hurricane-fed wall of water that socked the town in August 1955.
Each new flood led to innumerable problems, and innumerable questions for the townspeople to grapple with--a veritable reservoir of municipal conflict, resolution, or procrastination.
Yet Winsted never seemed cowed by the regular assaults of the Mad River. For a town of its size, it produced an impressive array of long-lasting philanthropic institutions.
Source: Seventeen Traditions, by Ralph Nader, p. 9
, Oct 2, 2012
Instrumental in establishing EPA, CAA, and CWA
In his career as consumer advocate Nader has been instrumental in the passing of the following legislation:
Source: Green Party 2008 Presidential Candidate Questionnaire
, Feb 3, 2008
- Clean Water Act (1968)
- Clean Air Act (1970)
- Law establishing Environmental Protection Agency (1970)
- Natural Gas
Pipeline Safety Act
- Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act
- Citizen Utility Boards
- Clean Water Action Project
- Resource Consumption Alliance (conserve trees)
Dems surrendered to the auto industry on safety & pollution
Not surprisingly, the 48-page Democratic platform was a model of avoiding both the spiraling power of big business and the economic disconnect between the rich and the rest of us.
This is the party that abjectly surrendered for eight years to the superprofitable auto industry on fuel efficiency, safety, and pollution control--jeopardizing the global environment that
Al Gore so feels for--sacrificing lives, limbs, and health. Accordingly, the committee rejected a thoughtful plea by one witness to include a sentence advancing auto safety. Fifty years after Western European nations, coming out of the rubble of
World War II, provided universal health care for their people, Al Gore’s platform described his vision for the world’s richest country as “step by step” toward full coverage with no specific attainment date.
Source: Crashing the Party, by Ralph Nader, Chapter One
, Oct 9, 2002
Charge agribusiness for water; stop charging more to people
Q. A number of farmers in this area feel too much water has gone to help the environmental cause.
A. California agribusiness has gotten a free ride with dirt-cheap water for too long. They’re not paying the adequate price for that water. And if they
start paying an adequate price, they will use the water more efficiently and the public will get a return. The cities have to pay far more for water than agribusiness. The difference is staggering . because of the lobbying power of big growers.
Source: John Ellis, The Fresno (CA) Bee
, Oct 22, 2000
Mining companies get free mines for campaign contributions
The 1872 Mining Act is a relic of efforts to settle the West. It allows mining companies to claim federal lands for $5 an acre and then take gold, silver, lead, or other hard-rock minerals with no royalty payments to the federal treasury. Thanks to the
1872 Mining Act, mining companies-including foreign companies-extract billions of dollars worth of minerals a year from federal lands, royalty-free.
Legislative efforts to repeal or reform the mining giveaway regularly fail, blocked by senators from
western states. These senators are not standing up for their states’ best economic interests; the giveaway mines create few jobs and massive environmental problems with high economic costs in foregone tourist and recreational revenues and uses. The
senators are standing up for the mine companies, which pour millions in campaign contributions into the Congress. From 1987 to 1994, the mining companies gave $17 million to congressional candidates; and extracted $26 billion worth of minerals.
Source: Cutting Corporate Welfare, p. 18-19
, Oct 9, 2000
Highway pork leads to sprawl, air pollution, global warming
The federal highway bills are another major source of pork. Last year’s Transportation Equity Act, will allocate billions of dollars to new road construction, much of it unnecessary and harmful. Instead of supporting modern mass transportation, Congress
continues to surrender to the demands of road construction interests and the highway lobby. The harmful consequences include sprawl, air pollution, and contributions to global warming.
Source: Cutting Corporate Welfare, p.110
, Oct 9, 2000
End all commercial logging in National Forests
I advocate the immediate cessation of commercial logging on US public lands and the protection from road-building of all 60 million acres of large forest tracts remaining in the National Forest system. National Forests produce less than 5% of total
volume of timber consumed in the US. I would veto all bills that might include provisions to dismantle any aspect of this National Forest protection policy. I consider it crucial to pursue public and legislative support for such a plan to endure.
Source: Ralph Nader’s letter to the Sierra Club
, Jul 24, 2000
Head off a genetic engineering rampage
There are massive numbers of issues that are very important that the two parties are blocking, such as significant arms control, control of devastating environmental contamination, heading off a rampaging genetic engineering industry that is far ahead of
the science that should be its governing discipline, not to mention poverty, avoidable disease, illiteracy, collapsing infrastructure, corporate welfare, distortions of public budgets, etc.
Source: Alternative Radio interview with David Barsamian
, Feb 23, 2000
Protect whistleblowers on health, safety, & pollution
Effective legal protections are needed for ethical whistleblowers who alert Americans to abuses or hazards to health and safety in the workplace, or contaminate the environment, or defraud citizens. Such
conscientious workers need rights to ensure they will not be fired or demoted for speaking out within the corporations, the government, or in other bureaucracies.
Source: The Concord Principles, An Agenda for a New Democracy, # 7
, Feb 21, 2000
Corporate collectivism leads toward ecological disaster
The absence of political vigilance toward the onrush of corporate collectivism is fraught with danger to a democratic society. This is the case, no matter how affluent that society has become in the aggregate, because of the gaping injustices affecting
minority groups and majority public services. Indeed, the very productiveness of our economic system has led to vast new problems, centering, for example, on the pell-mell contamination of soil, air, and water that is taking us toward ecological disaster
Source: VoteNader.com, “Corporate Power”
, Feb 21, 2000
More funds to maintain National Park system
As a society we have failed to respect the foresight of Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir and other conservationist founders of the national park system, neglecting to invest sufficient resources to maintain, let alone properly expand, the parks. A National
Park Service-estimated funding gap of nearly $9 billion has left animal populations at risk, park amenities in substandard or unusable conditions and many national historical artifacts in danger of being lost to posterity.
Source: Article, “Perspectives On Federal Spending”
, Jul 27, 1999
Ridiculous to sell public land for corporate gold mining
Another form of giveaway of the public’s assets emerged with when Barrick Goldstrike Mines located $10 billion worth of gold on federal public land in Nevada. [Corporate lawyers] pressed Bruce Babbitt, Clinton’s secretary of the interior, to sell the lan
above the gold deposits for the tiny sum of $9,765--a price of about five dollars per acre, authorized by the antiquated 1872 Mining Act. Babbitt denounced the giveaway of the people’s gold and urged the passage of pending reform legislation in
Congress to give the government a more realistic value for such lucrative public properties. But Congress did not act and, in May 1994, Secretary Babbitt had to sell the billions in gold to Barrick Goldstrike at lower than fire sale prices.
The ridiculous policy of surrendering what belongs to all Americans--to companies essentially for nothing in return--leaves taxpayers with the burden of cleaning up the environmental wreckage after such hard rock mines are exhausted.
Source: No Contest, by Ralph Nader & Wesley Smith, Chapter One
, Dec 1, 1998
National corporate charters for environmental bankruptcy
Q: [Would you support] a national corporate law that could specify an entirely different corporation built around a principle that would have social welfare, human, and ecological criteria as opposed to the mere return on investment which
corporations have today?
A: If we had a national charter, we could say for example that in addition to a corporation going into bankruptcy for not paying its creditors, it can go into environmental bankruptcy for contaminating and poisoning
the community in which it’s in through pollution. And if it does go into bankruptcy, that doesn’t mean the company closes down and unemploys the workers, it means that the leadership changes. It means that there’s a trustee in the environmental
bankruptcy appointed by a judge, a new board of directors, and a new ethic to not inflict pollution violence on thousands or millions of innocent people -- whether for air or water or food contamination.
Source: Interview by Jerry Brown on “We The People” Radio
, Mar 20, 1996
Page last updated: Mar 14, 2014