Your Government and their Plant

American politics is a never-ending debate between Republicans and Democrats. Most environmentalists would appreciate it if the environment was not a subject of debate, but with natural resources being vital to our economy, that’s simply impossible. So instead, let me guide you through environmental politics and help you understand what the debates are about.

Republicanism is defined by the values of “political liberty, understood as non-domination or independence from arbitrary power,” which means that Republicans often vote in favor of the small government and financial independence. When applied to environmental politics, Republican politicians often propose environmental policies focusing on individuals making sustainable choices. This puts the power to protect the environment in the hands of the individual, without condemning corporations and businesses for unsustainable practices. Republican economic values conflict with protecting the environment, which is why we often see Republicans opposing environmental protection bills. The “Green Deal” proposed by President Biden and supported by several other Democrats is a political step towards 0-emissions and limiting pollution. In response to the bill, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said, “Right out of the gates in 2023, E&C Republicans will be leading to reverse the damage of President Biden’s energy crisis with solutions that unleash America’s vast energy abundance and lower carbon emissions.” Some would be confused by Rep. Rodgers’ opposition, however, has negative impacts on the fuel and oil industry, an industry that the US economy is reliant on for all of our energy needs.

Democrats differ in economic values in many ways. While Republicans believe the consequences of damaging the fuel industry are an issue, many Democrats would argue that being so dependent on non-renewable fuel is a bigger issue. A recent example of their support comes from uprising support among Democrats for natural gas. An article from the Washington Post captures former senator Mary Landrieu said, “Yes, this country needs to move forward on wind and solar, but we need to back it up with a fuel that we can count on a power source, and that’s natural gas. It’s abundant, it’s cheap, and it can be cleaner.” Democrats are known for supporting general welfare for all, and protecting the environment is included within those ideals. So typically, environmental protection policies are proposed by Democrats. Progressive bills like the Green Deal are mostly supported by Democrats. Also, most states that have supported things like the Zero Emissions Vehicles program (ZEV) and other programs to reduce emissions are primarily a Democratic population.

This is not to say that all Republicans are against environmental protection, or that all Democrats support environmental protection. This is rather to bring awareness to the general beliefs held by each party. Republican supporters often prioritize economic well-being over environmental protection. This often means letting corporations (specifically in the fuel industry) make unsustainable decisions without government restrictions. Democratic supporters tend to vote in favor of environmental protection, like reducing emissions and pollution. However, it is very difficult to pass “progressive” environmental legislation in a bipartisan government, which is why we see the Republican environmental agenda more prevalently. Both parties have valid interests, but the question of whether the government should value short-term wealth over long-term damage to our essential resources on Earth is one that some politicians may want to reevaluate.


Joselow, Maxine. “Analysis | Under fire, the gas industry is hiring Democratic politicians to help.” The Washington Post, 2 February 2023, Accessed 19 April 2023.

Korte, Cara. “Democrats hope to pass a clean energy standard that will force utilities to go green.” CBS News, 26 July 2021, Accessed 19 April 2023.

“Laws & Regulations | US EPA.” Environmental Protection Agency, 11 October 2022, Accessed 19 April 2023.

Lovett, Frank. “Republicanism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 19 June 2006, Accessed 19 April 2023.

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