With so many important issues being discussed and debated, the 2018 midterm election left a lot of unanswered questions by the candidates. One issue that has been at the forefront for quite some time now is the environment and what can and is being done to protect it. The government is a complex system (and the environment even more so), so it’s never clear how legislation will progress while a particular set of politicians are in office. However, some educated guesses can be made about what will be done in the years following a major election season.
Will the recent 2018 midterm election have any effect on environmentalism? What might be done to protect the environment now that there are so many new faces in the government? Ranger Mac will take a look at how this election may or may not shape a new wave in environmentalism. Hopefully, we’ll see more environmental protection and sustainability going forward, for everyone’s sake!
A major result of the 2018 midterm election was that the Democrats gained back control over the House of Representatives. With luck, this will provide a fresh look at the environmental legislation and build some resistance against the assault this presidency has waged on environmental regulations. Over the past two years, we have watched helplessly as the EPA loosened protections over important natural lands, endangered animals, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. Now that there will be a stronger dissenting voice in the House that supports the environment and stands to protect it, we should see some pushback against these relaxed regulations.
A Fresh Focus on the Environment
Some pockets of the US spoke loudly for more environmental protection with their votes:
Several districts in California, such as Orange County, saw high voter percentages (up to 67%) that are worried about flooding and sea levels. Florida residents in the southern districts were also worried about rising sea levels. In both cases, it was clear that these areas were going to vote for the candidate that supported environmental protection efforts.
Florida voters also let their environmental worry be heard by voting out the incumbent, Republican Carlos Curbelo, despite his support of climate protection and opposition to exiting the Paris Treaty. It’s thought that he was voted out because he allowed the Arctic National Wildlife Refugee to be opened up to oil exploration earlier in the year. Voters chose to elect Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who ran a campaign focused on promoting environmental protection and health care.
Many states, such as Kansas, also saw changes in gubernatorial victories to more environmentally friendly candidates. This means that there could soon be more environmental changes at the state level.
The Impact of a Democratic House
When it comes to the environment, there are likely not going to be any major comprehensive changes made in 2019, due to the Republican-controlled Senate. However, there are several climate-related bills that can be favorably moved through the House. For example, the measures designed to remove barriers for clean energy and improve energy efficiency are likely to pass through.
We will also see a drop in the large amount of anti-environment riders being added to House spending bills. During the past two years, there have been as many as 40 anti-environment riders added to bills being presented to the House almost daily. With a newly Democratic House, this should happen less often. Once the new members are in, we will likely see less time spent pushing back on those riders and more time spent moving forward with proactive environmental legislation and spending bills.
Before It’s Too Late
Before the election, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated that climate change would become a major issue if Democrats took back the House. She, like many politicians, realizes that it’s a critical issue that can’t continue to go unchecked. While talking with the New York Times, she said that she intends to revive a committee to develop climate change legislation to help curb the effects of greenhouse gases. Such a committee would give the Democrats some leverage when it comes to delegating funding and the oversight to enact these climate change policies. While the party doesn’t control either the White House or the Senate, they do have the slight upper hand when it comes to funding bills and legislation in the House.
State Government Environmental Wins
Since so many gubernatorial races in the midterms resulted in a switch to more environmentally-conscious politicians, there should be some success for environmentalism at the state level. With states passing their own solar bills and some states joining the Paris Treaty on their own, it’s clear that Democrats and those supporting the environment winning seats on the state level will help the environment for years to come, no matter what’s going on at the national level.
We Must Speak Up!
Our vote is our voice, and we need to let our national government know that we’re concerned for our environment and want to protect it! As those who are more concerned with the environment take back control over the House of Representatives, it’s likely that we’ll see a bit more being done to protect the environment in the next couple of years. No matter how much the White House tries to undo the protections put in place for our environment in the past and block new legislation from going through for the future, there needs to be just as much pushback coming from those who want to keep it protected for generations to come.
Need some inspiration to get you in the mood to fight for our Earth? Visit a National Park! The 5 major parks of Michigan are amazing places to visit, and you can check them out here!