Report card: Environmental issues need to be addressed

Obama’s first foreign failure: F

In his first foreign trip as president, Obama blew his chance to address concerns about the U.S. being the leading nation in global pollution, and the environment lost out again.
Instead, Canadians were greeted with smiles, diplomacy and mere allusions to change from the popular U.S. president.

In a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Obama acknowledged that he has said North American Free Trade Agreement does too little to protect U.S. workers and the environment, Associated Press writer Ben Feller reported.
Obama’s sidestepping of the pollution issue is especially troublesome considering his campaign promises of making real changes to U.S. policy.

Without securing a healthy planet for generations to come, discussing or debating any other serious political issue proves a null exercise.

BP settlement not enough: D

British Petroleum agreed to pay $180 million Thursday to settle a federal lawsuit over pollution at its Texas City refinery, The Houston Chronicle’s Matthew Tresaugue reported.

BP has already pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act and agreed to pay a separate fine of $50 million for a March 2005 explosion and fire that killed 15 people and injured more than 170 others.

While the agreement includes the stipulation that BP will make efforts to reduce pollution and clean the air of the surrounding community, we at The Daily Cougar won’t hold our breath – and the citizens of Texas City literally cannot.

The timeliness of its supposed cleanup is up for debate as the explosion occurred more than four years ago.

Let’s hope BP gives this issue the immediacy it gave its $1 billion effort in January to resume full operations at its refinery.

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