Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Environmentalists, Left and Right

Michael C. Blumm, Lewis & Clark Law School, has posted The Nation's First Forester-in-Chief: The Overlooked Role of FDR and the Environment:
Douglas Brinkley, biographer of Theodore Roosevelt and his environmental legacy, has produced a sequel on his distant cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). In a comprehensive eco-biography, Brinkley shows in some detail how committed an environmentalist FDR was, protecting federal lands, encouraging state conservation efforts, making wildlife protection a national priority, and dedicating the federal government to soil protection and forest replanting. Although FDR’s romance with federal dams undercuts the assertion somewhat, the Brinkley biography successfully shows that FDR has a legitimate claim to being the foremost of environmental American presidents.
And Daniel A. Farber, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, has posted The Conservative as Environmentalist: From Goldwater and the Early Reagan to the 21st Century:
Today, we often think of conservatives as opposed to environmental regulation. Yet it has not always been so. Conservative icons like William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater took vigorous public stands in favor of environmental protection. Ronald Reagan championed protection of wilderness when he was governor of California and oversaw the creation of the state’s pollution control agency. He shifted to an anti-regulatory stance in the early years of his presidency, but then shifted again to a more moderate position. Few people know that he personally championed the international ozone agreement and signed a law to require planning for possible climate change. Even today, there are important conservative voices advocating environmental initiatives such as a carbon tax.

This Article recovers the forgotten history of conservative environmentalism. It argues that conservative environmentalism faded largely because of external political forces, such as the influence of the fossil fuel industry. These forces may be abating, opening the door for a more vigorous debate about environmental policy within the conservative movement and in the broader public arena.

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