Denier Derangement Syndrome: Energy conservation/Bike Lanes/Sustainability = UN/Commie Plot
February 7, 2012
The Tea Party is now telling us that sustainability is a plot to sap our precious bodily fluids. At what point does this just become too embarrassing for sensible human beings?
Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy. They brand government action for things like expanding public transportation routes and preserving open space as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities.
They are showing up at planning meetings to denounce bike lanes on public streets and smart meters on home appliances — efforts they equate to a big-government blueprint against individual rights.
In Maine, the Tea Party-backed Republican governor canceled a project to ease congestion along the Route 1 corridor after protesters complained it was part of the United Nations plot. Similar opposition helped doom ahigh-speed train line in Florida. And more than a dozen cities, towns and counties, under new pressure, have cut off financing for a program that offers expertise on how to measure and cut carbon emissions.
“It sounds a little on the weird side, but we’ve found we ignore it at our own peril,” said George Homewood, a vice president of the American Planning Association’s chapter in Virginia.
Fox News involved. Go figure
Fox News has also helped spread the message. In June, after President Obama signed an executive order creating a White House Rural Council to “enhance federal engagement with rural communities,” Fox programs linked the order to Agenda 21. A Fox commentator, Eric Bolling, said the council sounded “eerily similar to a U.N. plan called Agenda 21, where a centralized planning agency would be responsible for oversight into all areas of our lives. A one world order.”
As a result of the nut bag wing wagging the GOP dog, the whole party is trapped in the the never-was 1950s of Ward Cleaver, WonderBread, and Chesterfields….
Two House committees voted on Thursday and Friday to eliminate federal funding for a program that creates bicycle and pedestrian paths for children going to school and to cut off mass transit from its major source of federal funding, the gas tax.
The House’s actions, propelled by GOP leadership, could politicize the previously staid issue of infrastructure investment and put Congress’ chances of passing a new surface transportation bill this year in jeopardy. House Republican leadership has touted its transportation bill as an important step in job creation.
“The leadership of the House is looking to support highways. It seems that they’re not wanting to support bicycle, pedestrian or transit use,” said Deb Hubsmith, director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. The decision was particularly disappointing, she said, because “one of the biggest problems facing America right now is childhood obesity.”
On Friday, the House Committee on Ways and Means also killed an amendment offered by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) to block another controversial move by GOP leadership to stop dedicating gas tax revenues to mass transit. The amendment failed on a 22-15 party line vote. Two Republicans later voted against the bill as a whole, but it passed the committee.
The House bill eliminates an estimated $25 billion set aside from gas tax funds over the next five years, according to the American Public Transportation Association.
Blumenauer told HuffPost that the last 24 hours were “sort of an out of body experience” for him and broke with his nearly 15 years of experience in Congress on transportation issues.
“For the last 30 years, there’s been an accord, a partnership that was brokered with President Reagan and the Democrats in Congress,” he said. “There wasn’t going to be an annual food fight between roads and bridges and transit.”
The bill’s financial provisions, which would send money that would have otherwise gone to mass transit to highways and fill the gap for the former with revenue sources like offshore drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, are “fantasy land,” he said. He predicted that the House bill has “no chance of passing” this year.
“I see something like this and I think, what a wasted opportunity,” he said.
It wasn’t just Democrats who were disappointed with the vote over mass transit. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), whose members build interstates but also oversee transit systems, expressed its opposition, as did the Amalgamated Transit Union, the AFL-CIO, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“Think about it in the major metropolitan areas,” said Jack Basso, AASHTO’s chief operating officer. “The highway system in many of those areas doesn’t have a potential for much expansion, so the alternative is to make sure we have a vigorous transportation system that helps to mitigate that congestion.”
So, while roads and bridges are falling down around us, urban areas with no options for building new highways, are even being starved of fund to keep up the ones they have – in favor of a nihilistic, agin’ everything ideology that has gone completely off the reality rails.