by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As appearing in the Daily Sentinel
A common adage, repeated by political consultants for 30 years, advises candidates seeking to broaden their base that “nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” It may seem trite, but it is extraordinarily apt when describing today’s environmental disputes.
Those disputes are heightened by an administration pushing an environmental agenda over many other priorities. Ordinarily, one might consider such an agenda a good thing, because we all care about the environment. But that is actually the heart of the problem. One side thinks the other does not care about the environment, while on the other side, many people think environmental activists do not care about jobs and communities. Neither side can really reconcile their differences, because they do not think the other side cares.
What a sad state of affairs, leaders questioning each other’s motives, integrity, and intentions, instead of working together on solutions. When people with differing points of view come together to discuss and debate the great issues of the day, it is beautiful, the heart of the American political process. Nothing is more central to America’s experiment in self-government than compromise. People often share the same goals, but differ on how to achieve them. So they get together, look for solutions both sides can live with, and work it out.