The first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, was observed in the wake of the burning Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio.
A flaming river and other disasters, such as an oil spill near Santa Barbara, Calif., woke the nation up.
It all inspired bipartisan cooperation in Washington in passing the Clean Air Act of that same year, an effort led by the Democratic Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine and signed into law by the Republican President Nixon on the last day of 1970.
There was more environmental cooperation. The Environmental Protection Agency also was established in 1970, and the Clean Water Act followed two years later. These efforts did initiate an important cleanup.
However, now, Earth Day of 2013, we see other dangerous environmental problems but virtually no bipartisanship in government. As a member of the committee that wrote the 2012 platform for the Clinton County Democrats, I would hope that our environmental proposals would inspire joint action by the political parties to solve today’s problems. We have supported renewable energy, protection of wetlands, control of odor and solids pollution, control of greenhouse emissions, improved inspections of food processing and other items that address important problems.
We see such proposals as necessary for a healthy environment that will be sustainable and safe for people now and in the future. Let’s hope that we can all discuss them in a businesslike manner and move them forward for the common good.
Thomas C. Gibbons,