The environmental challenges of climate change, water pollution, and drought have plagued the U.S. for decades, yet policymakers have failed to comprehensively address them. Urban legislators are often willing to support new environmental policies because environmentally-concerned voters in their districts will support them. In contrast, supporting environmental policies places rural legislators at risk of provoking special interest opposition from high-powered polluting industries in their districts and the traditional slate of proposed policies do not offer any tangible benefits to constituents, and may in fact harm them economically.
What can be done?
Legislators need bipartisan policy solutions that can effectively support rural and urban constituents, while also addressing urgent environmental and sustainability issues.
How RIPE Roadmap is meeting the challenge:
The Rural Investment to Protect our Environment (RIPE) Roadmap is focused on redesigning environmental policies to create a win-win proposition for rural and urban legislators by charging a greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution fee on power plants and oil and gas refineries and directing a significant portion of the revenue to provide tangible political benefits to rural needs – specifically to farmers and rural broadband deployment. By doing so, the Roadmap will create proactive rural industry and constituency support that will give rural legislators the momentum they need to override opposition from non-aligned special interests.