Activists dispute Bryant’s claim that he’s an environmentalist – Seattle Times

I am not going to attack Bryant’s environmental record, as he has served with Billie Frank Jr. on the restoration efforts for the Nisqually River, along with other small projects. I do believe that he is sincere in thinking of himself as environmentally aware. I would like to question it though.  I even find myself supporting his notion that some of the events that the environmental community goes after, like the Shell port in Seattle, are more symbolic than real, and they put elected officials like Bryant, between a rock and a hard place, in that putting Shell in Seattle would have created hundreds of jobs, and it was his job to look at that issue from both sides. The Shell port issue was great for raising money from donors, but had little or nothing to do with Shell’s abandonment of the idea, given the economic collapse of oil prices globally and the long time frames needed to pull off projects like that one. And it hasn’t changed the demand curve of people driving cars more because oil and gas is cheap.

But it is very interesting to note that almost every major effort to push forward legislation in the State has always been stymied by donations and influence of Big Oil on our politics. We environmental activists  spend weeks or months driving decent,  often bi-partisan bills forward, to watch as Big Oil drives in and dumps a load of cash on the doorsteps of the legislators, and surprise, the bill dies. To Bill Bryant, all I can say is, “you can’t have it both ways.” Either you stop taking donations for your campaigns from the likes of Rainier Petroleum or stop pretending it doesn’t influence your voting.

As to his opposition to Sound Transit. Opposition to Sound Transit is not just a Republican vs. Democrat issue, the price tag is incredibly high and there seems no effort to find reasonably priced alternatives. This is because it’s a job creation mechanism and the unions that back the Democratic candidates demand that they support these efforts as a mechanism to greenwash the fact that it simply provides more union jobs, with very little change to the amount of cars on the road.  So be it. That’s politics in Seattle. You might remember that this same coalition attacked and destroyed the Monorail proposals, though some of the Monorail’s problems were self-inflicted.

But the bottom line is that Jay Inslee is willing to take hard stands and put his reputation on the line to go after the big picture as well as the small one. That’s the kind of leadership we need to really change the grim picture for our children and grandchildren, whom we are threatening with our addiction to oil. That’s why I support him, and will vote for Inslee in November. I recommend you do too.

The Republican candidate for governor sees himself as a conservationist in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt; critics say his record suggests otherwise. Lewis Kamb reports. (Seattle Times)

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