Saturday, July 15, 2006

Ford Exposes Republican Ineptitude On Environment Again

In their debate this past week, Bob Corker, Ed Bryant, and Van Hilleary all lived up to their Stooge title as each of them showed their ignorance when it came to one of the most pressing issues facing East Tennessee.

And once again, Congressman Ford called them out on their ineptitude:

All three Republican U.S. Senate candidates say they would support increased funding to protect Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but they are candidly unfamiliar with a long-debated road project that would cut through the preserve.

The campaign of likely Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Memphis, seized the moment to call them "clueless" about "one of the most important conservation issues in Tennessee" _ although the project is actually on the North Carolina side of the Smokies.

Both Tennessee Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bill Frist oppose completion of the so-called "Road to Nowhere" because of its environmental impact and favor instead a multimillion-dollar settlement with local communities in North Carolina.

During a debate Thursday in Knoxville _ about 45 miles from the national park _ the three GOP contenders vying to succeed Frist were asked their position.

"I will have to be perfectly honest and say I don't know that I know enough about the issue to respond. I'd like to know more about it," said former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker.

He received a briefing on Smokies issues two years ago, but "I am not familiar enough with this issue to actually give ... an answer," he said.

The National Park Service has been studying the matter since 2000, when U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor, R-N.C., secured $16 million to resume construction of the road. Corker's GOP opponents, U.S. Reps. Van Hilleary of Murfreesboro and Ed Bryant of Jackson, were in Congress at the time.

A record 70,000 public comments have come to the park, which considers not building the road "the preferred environmental alternative" but won't make a final decision until October.

The issue dates to a government commitment in the 1940s to replace a highway flooded by a Tennessee Valley Authority dam that created Fontana Lake. But work on the North Shore Road halted in the 1970s over rising costs and environmental concerns.

It's now estimated that finishing the 38-mile road from Bryson City to Fontana Lake through what has become the largest undeveloped tract left in the eastern United States could cost nearly $600 million.

"I think it would depend on what as opposed to what," Hilleary said. "Is there a better way to do it? Is there a greater need in the park?"

Bryant said he is "comfortable" that First and Alexander fully studied their opposition to the road, but "I don't know as much as they know."

"Obviously, we continue to need to protect those Great Smoky Mountains and I am inclined to not do any more construction out there," Bryant said. "But there are two sides to this and I would not commit to that right now."

Michael Powell, Ford's senior campaign adviser, said "the last thing" the Smokies needs "is a four-lane highway with pollution, environmental destruction and traffic that come with it."

He suggested Corker, in particular, "check with Sen. Lamar Alexander on this issue. You can't seriously love the Smokies and not be opposed to this road."

Alexander has called the road "a terrible idea" that would "tear up the Great Smoky Mountains." He supports a $52 million cash settlement to local governments. So does North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley and Swain County (N.C.) commissioners.

How pathetic is that? For them to be running for the U.S. Senate and not be familiar with a big issue like this, is just uncalled for and unprofessional. It once again goes to show how out of touch these guys actually are.

However, the worst part of all this is that they would even consider supporting a measure that would tear through our precious Smoky Mountains.

Whether it be supporting this road to go through the Smokies or ignoring global warming, these clowns have shown the voters of Tennessee they are unconcerned about our environment.

Corker, Bryant, and Hilleary all like to tout their Christian values while out on the campaign trail, however, I do believe they all have forgotten the parts of the Bible that say we should be good stewards of the creations of God.
  • Isaiah 24:4-6. The earth dries up and withers, the world languished and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth lies under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt.

  • Genesis 1:26. Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.

  • Lev. 25:23-24. The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.

  • Ezekiel 34:10. 0 shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. This is what the sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock.

  • Isaiah 24:4-6. The earth dries up and withers, the world languished and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth lies under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt.

  • Luke 16:2,10,13. And he called him and said to him, "What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward. He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous in much. You cannot serve both God and mammon.

  • Jer. 2:7. I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and you made my inheritance detestable.

Our next U.S. Senator needs to be someone that understands that we are here to be God's stewards.

I know Harold Ford Jr. knows that. That is one of the reason's I am voting for him.

Protect our Earth!

194 Days

Days of Congressional Inaction on Ethics

Above is the number of days that have passed since Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to bribing Congressman.

It is also the number of days in which Congress has failed to pass an ethics reform bill that would limit private travel, ski and golf junkets, and would call for a full disclosure of expenses by lobbyists on members of Congress.

It is time for Congress to step up and pass an ethics reform bill that would do all of the above. In addition, it is time to end the pork barrel spending system as we know it and establish an independent ethics commission that would review ethics complaints against members of Congress.

I am proud Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is fighting for that reform!

Read Congressman Ford's call for reform of the House rules here!