GOP Presidential Candidates: The Environment Is Also a Conservative Issue | The Hill

Rewriting an Opinion Editorial about Environmental Challenges Facing America

Rewriting an Opinion Editorial about Environmental Challenges Facing America


In the last two Republican presidential debates, the candidates focused on the issues that they believed mattered most to Americans. From Israel’s response to the Hamas atrocities to America’s involvement in Ukraine, pocketbook issues, social security, and healthcare, there was hardly any mention of the environment. Given that the environment is a critical issue that millennials and Gen Z voters deeply care about, it is a missed opportunity for the candidates to address it. However, Republican candidates can reclaim their rich conservation legacy by offering a pragmatic approach to some of the most pressing environmental challenges America faces.

Energy Development: An Approach for Greenhouse Gas Emission and Reliable, Affordable Energy

The debate over renewable versus fossil fuels presents a false choice to Americans. Besides, both renewables and fossil fuels have their benefits and drawbacks. Republicans should advocate for the responsible development of America’s fossil fuel resources and support the deployment of renewable energy as well as nuclear power. This mix of energy sources should aim at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring that people have reliable, affordable energy.

Charting a Course Out of America’s Permitting Quagmire

Environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act intend to protect the environment. However, they often make it harder to achieve this objective. For example, it takes an average of four and a half years to complete NEPA reviews, which delay fossil fuel-related infrastructure as well as renewable energy and other environmentally beneficial projects. Republicans should champion common-sense reforms, propose innovative policy solutions that leverage the knowledge of local communities and the private sector, and support bills such as the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.

Conservation: The Legacy of GOP Leaders like Teddy Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan

The Republican Party has a proud legacy of conservation, and the party can honor it by offering a pragmatic approach to environmental issues. Neglecting the environment during debates runs the risk of alienating tens of millions of proud environmentalist Republicans, particularly millennials and Gen Zers. Ronald Reagan once said, “Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge; it’s common sense.” By heeding these wise words, candidates can come prepared with a pragmatic and forward-looking green agenda that connects with a wide swath of American voters.


America’s environmental challenges are complex, and Republicans must offer a pragmatic approach that balances the need to protect the environment, access affordable, reliable energy, and create jobs, among other things. Instead of criticizing progressive environmentalism or staying silent, Republicans can reclaim their rich conservation legacy and join the fight against climate change. By supporting renewable energy, proposing innovative policy solutions, and recognizing the opportunity to build a new domestic supply chain, the Republican Party can offer voters a roadmap that resonates with their values.

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