By: Rachel Marsden
When I first tuned into the Democratic response to President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address, I was bleary-eyed from having my eyeballs glued to the TV set for so long. That may explain why, at first glance, I thought the Democrats—in a twisted gesture of diplomacy—were allowing Kim Jong Il to give their official rebuttal to Bush’s powerful speech. Then I realized that I wasn’t looking at the North Korean dictator. Even worse—it was Washington Governor Gary Locke.
At least Jong Il would have talked his walk. Locke, on the other hand, sat there and spewed more pollution into the air in a single speech than his proposed Washington state power plant would in a day.
Locke, who basks in the glow of a whopping 30% support in his home state, told America on Tuesday night that “in [his] state and yours, conservation is a way of life.” He accused the Bush administration of wanting to roll back progress in this regard. As it turns out, Locke is such a big proponent of environmental conservation that—instead of advocating for ways to reduce energy consumption—he has given the green light to build a power plant in the northern part of his state. Sumas Energy 2 is a proposed gas-fired power plant to be constructed in Sumas, Washington, by Seattle-based National Energy Systems (NESCO). It would use Canadian infrastructure to ship electricity to US households. The project is set to contribute a daily 2.5 tonnes of air pollution to the shared Canadian/American airshed in the Fraser Valley-Whatcom County area. That’s the toxic equivalent of adding 320,000 more idling cars to the roads of the region.
Locke insists that the USA should “lead global efforts to promote environmental responsibility, not shun them.” All the while, he’s gifting America’s biggest trading partner with lungfuls of airborne toxins. He’s turning his back on his own constituents, as well as those of the global community by insisting on forging ahead with his plan to destroy whatever air quality is left in a region that already exceeds national air quality guidelines for smog. Locke is about as much of an international ambassador for clean air and environmental causes as Saddam Hussein is a poster boy for international conflict resolution.
Fortunately, Locke’s power plant plans could still be stopped dead in their tracks. In December 2002, the Canadian National Energy Board (NEB) announced it would examine the impact of the power plant before granting it permission to build the requisite BC-based power line. The decision means the NEB will have another hearing this April, when NESCO will present evidence to explain the air pollution impacts of the plant in Canada. At that point, citizens and lawyers will have an opportunity to challenge that evidence. In the interim, Environment Canada and the Province of British Columbia are appealing the Washington-approved permit in US Supreme Court. And environmental terrorist “Gary bin Locke” basks in the glow of his “do as I say, not as I do” speech to the American people on behalf of his party.
Finally, I would really like to know who the brain surgeon was in the Democratic Party who figured that having Locke start off his speech with the story of how he—as the grandson of a servant who arrived in America off a boat from China—became governor through sheer hard work, would ever help further their push for more affirmative action. Clearly if Gary Locke could make his way into such a high office through, as he claims, his guiding values of “education, hard work, responsibility and family,” then the Democrats’ ongoing push for affirmative action is nothing more than redundant.
The State of the Union address was a shining moment for George W. Bush--thanks, in no small part, to Gary Locke and his fellow Democrats who clearly are having issues trying to figure out which side of the court they should be hitting from.