[UPDATE: View discussion and video of Hillary Clinton's unprecedented hearing on environmental justice at the end of the essay. Obama and Exelon pollute the environment; Hillary cleans the mess they have created.]
According to the Charlotte Observer, a group of ostensible environmentalists will hold an expensive fundraiser for Barack Obama in their posh home in the Myers Park neighborhood of Charlotte. I quote:
The invitation-only fundraisers will be at the Bonwood Drive home of environmental activists Bob Perkowitz and Lisa Renstrom. A "general reception" costs $1,000 a person. A "host reception" costs $2,300.
Perhaps these ostensible environmentalists should research Obama's record on the environment before raising money for his campaign. Exelon, a nuclear energy giant in Illinois, is Obama's sixth largest donor. In fact, Exelon employees have donated over $269,100 to his federal campaigns and over $194,750 in 2008.
These donations are significant, for Obama wrote legislation on Exelon's behalf while serving in the US Senate. Constituents of Obama in Will County, Illinois, complained of nuclear waste surfacing in the area's groundwater. They mobilized the support of Obama, who promised to write legislation requiring corporations such as Exelon to disclose radioactive leaks to surrounding communities. But Obama failed. Indeed, he allowed Exelon and Senate Republicans to dilute the bill. Instead of requiring companies to disclose information regarding radioactive leaks, the bill Obama wrote with Exelon lobbyists merely offered guidance for how to report a leak if those corporations chose to disclose such information. Obama's consituents were not pleased. I quote:
“Senator Obama’s staff was sending us copies of the bill to review, and we could see it weakening with each successive draft,” said Joe Cosgrove, a park district director in Will County, Ill., where low-level radioactive runoff had turned up in groundwater. “The teeth were just taken out of it.”
And although Obama allowed Exelon lobbyists and Congressional Republicans to yank the teeth from his bill, he boasted about it while campaigning in Iowa this December. Obama, I guess, enjoys misrepresenting his record on the environment to voters, including those who will hold expensive fundraisers for him in the Myers Park neighborhood of Charlotte.
Obama had to distort the legislation he failed to pass. He also had to distort his relation to Exelon. For David Axelrod, Obama's chief campaign strategist, worked for Exelon in 2002. I quote the New York Times again:
In addition, Mr. Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod, has worked as a consultant to Exelon. A spokeswoman for Exelon said Mr. Axelrod’s company had helped an Exelon subsidiary, Commonwealth Edison, with communications strategy periodically since 2002, but had no involvement in the leak controversy or other nuclear issues.
Obama, in other words, is deeply entangled with Exelon and with the nuclear power industry. This is significant, as Exelon has spent millions lobbying for a repository of nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
Should environmentalists support a candidate whose main contributors desire to pollute our environment with nuclear waste? Should environmentalists support a candidate who failed to protect constituents concerned about the presence of radioactive waste in their groundwater? Or are certain environmentalists motivated by concerns other than the environment?
Contrast this with the record of Hillary Clinton, who convened the first Senate hearing on environmental justice last year. And she did this after she announced for the Presidency. The environment is too important to Clinton to neglect for a mere political campaign.
25 July 2007
Senator Clinton Announces Bill to Step Up Federal Commitment to Environmental Justice
Leads First-Ever Senate Hearing on Environmental Justice
Washington, DC – Kicking off the first-ever Senate hearing on Environmental Justice, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced that she will introduce legislation to step up the Federal government’s efforts to ensure environmental justice. Senator Clinton convened today’s hearing as Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee’s Subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health. Emphasizing that the Bush Administration has turned a blind eye to communities that continue to be disproportionately impacted by exposure to environmental hazards, Senator Clinton called for more accountability at the Environmental Protection Agency and increased support for community-based efforts to address environmental concerns....
Obama and Exelon pollute the environment; Clinton, the candidate who is truly committed to the environment, cleans the mess Obama and his special interests have created.