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Letter: Obama agenda

President Obama has done a lot I agree with, but there’s a lot I don’t support, too.

To name a few: I think he should close Guantanamo, end the war in Afghanistan faster, use that money for urgent domestic priorities, and enact much stronger legislation to solve our health care crisis and prevent Wall Street and the Big Banksters from wrecking our economy again.

But the most urgent issue we face is stopping and reducing climate change. Sure, compared to Romney and most Republicans in Congress, Obama admits it’s happening and needs serious attention. But he hasn’t done nearly enough, from the failure at the international Copenhagen conference of ’09 to his barely even mentioning the issue during the campaign until super-storm Sandy, the latest extreme weather event, forced him to.

Another example is the Keystone Tar Sands Oil Pipeline proposed by energy giant TransCanada.

Our leading climate expert, James Hansen of NASA, has said that if the pipeline is built and that dirty oil is burned, it’s “game over for the climate.”

A year ago, Obama delayed it, saying it needed more time for review. Yet at the same time, he’s allowed work to begin on the lower half of the pipeline in Texas and Nebraska, sparking a protest movement of ranchers, environmentalists, and citizens concerned about their land and water as well as the climate.

On Nov. 18, there will be a demonstration at the White House, as part of a 20-city tour by Bill McKibben of and other environmental leaders.

Locally, I recommend 2 ways to let Obama and Congress know you want stronger action to protect the environment and build a clean energy economy. Sign up for a monthly action-alert postcard from the Amherst-based organization 20/20Action (, 413-549-8118). And go to to help out on local projects and campaigns.



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