, Newburyport, MA


September 21, 2013

Column: Republicans need to bolster their environmental credentials


When Ronald Reagan died while I was visiting Nevada, it was a chance for me to inform my family that it was Reagan who worked as California governor with Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt (also a Republican) to jointly regulate Tahoe Basin land use and conserve Tahoe’s natural resources.

And speaking of John Muir, it was Reagan who led a horse pack trip into the Sierra backcountry to announce opposition to proposed trans-Sierra highway that would have split the John Muir Trail. He also managed political compromises that established Redwood National Park. Republicans Roosevelt and Reagan were great environmentalists, and it’s time Republicans make this knowledge part of their campaigns.

My son argues that careless, wasteful consumption and environmental sustainability are incompatible. I argue that running up trillions in national debt is equally careless, and much of the government spending is wasteful.

Democrats use “the environment” as a wedge issue for power: to establish control over the productive economy and our personal lives. Republican candidates need to address my family’s conviction that a healthy ecology is necessary to maintain individual freedom. This is what a real “conservative” stands for: conserving the environment, and the economy, for future generations.

Barbara Anderson is president of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a regular contributor to the opinion pages.

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