3 Must-Ask Environmental Questions for the Presidential Candidates
The upcoming presidential debates offer the perfect opportunity to implore candidates about their environmental values and potential policies. That’s especially true because throughout the Republican primary process, none of the contenders were asked a single question about how they’d deal with energy, pollution, toxic chemicals, land use, wilderness preservation or wildlife.
Now that the race has narrowed to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it’s important that the debate moderators ask them to reveal not only their economic and foreign policy positions, but their environmental positions as well. Millions of Americans will watch the debates and make their voting decision based on what they hear and see. They deserve to know what Clinton and Trump believe when it comes to protecting the planet—or not.
Here is the schedule for the upcoming debates:
Presidential Debates Between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
* September 26, 2016 – Moderator, Lester Holt of NBC
* October 9, 2016 – Moderators, Martha Radditz of ABC and Anderson Cooper of CNN
* October 19, 2016 – Moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News
There will also be a debate among the candidates for vice president, Democrat Tim Kaine, and Republican Mike Pence.
What are the 3 most important questions about the environment the moderators of the presidential debates should ask all candidates?
Climate Change: If only one question can be asked, it should be about the most pressing environmental issue people on every continent face: climate change. Here are some possible ways to frame the question:
* Do you believe climate change is a serious threat to the environment, our national security and our health?
* Climate change has been directly linked to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. Do you support reducing our use of fossil fuels and accelerating our reliance on and support for renewables like solar, wind and geothermal?
* How would your administration revise current U.S. energy policy so our country could meet the Paris climate change accords our government recently agreed to?
Moms Clean Air Force is urging voters to contact NBC’s Lester Holt and tell him to ask the candidates a question specifically about climate change. Here’s how you can do that, too.
Toxic Chemicals – There are over 80,000 chemicals circulating in our world every day, and many of them are toxic to human health. Though the Toxic Substances Control Act was recently updated and signed into law, people are still exposed to dangerous chemical substances on a daily basis.
* If elected, what additional steps would your administration take to protect people from chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, infertility, attention deficit disorder and other health problems?
* Would your administration adopt the Precautionary Principle as the framework for approving or banning new chemicals?
* How would your administration hold the manufacturers of toxic chemicals liable or accountable for the impact they have on human health and the environment?
Air and Water Pollution – We have an inalienable right to drink clean water and breathe clean air. Yet, our communities often suffer through “red alert” air quality alarms because the air is so polluted. The sources of our drinking water are contaminated with agricultural runoff, fire retardants, rocket fuel, arsenic and more.
* What specific public policies or executive orders would you support to reduce air pollution and improve water quality?
* People living in low-income communities are disproportionately affected by dirty air and unsafe water, as we saw recently with the lead-in-drinking-water scandal in Flint, Michigan. What will your administration do to ensure that people, especially children, have access to healthy air and water no matter where they live?
* In some parts of the U.S., the problem is that drinking water is unsafe. In other parts, the problem is that drought and overconsumption have seriously depleted available water supplies. What would you and your administration do to make sure, not only that water is clean enough to drink, but that there is enough water to go around for all citizens of the U.S.?
What questions would you ask the two presidential candidates if you had the chance? Please share!