The President of Republicans for Environmental responsibility was in St Petersburg is in town today; she spoke to the tiger bay club in St Petersburg about why she founded the organization and how she hopes it will turn around a political party that has lost its way. WMNFs Andrew Stelzer has more.

ACT “I know its sounds like an oxymoron…�

Martha Marks has been a Republican her entire life. She also cares about protecting the environment. In the past decade, she found it increasingly hard to continue supporting a political party that was not in step with her beliefs. Instead of switching political parties, Marks chose to try and change the Republican Party from within; and in 1995 she founded Republicans for Environmental Protection. Marks says that throughout Americans history republicans were always very concerned with the environment, but about 25 years ago, they decided the issue wasn’t important anymore.

ACT That leader ship was good until 1980.

When asked about the newer conservative agenda spouted by Rush Limbaugh and the Bush Administration, Marks put much of the blame on Richard Mellon Scaife, who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars funding right wing think tanks and non-profits. She says the Republican Party’s move away from environmental conservation is a moral and strategical error.

ACT “Why haven’t the republicans done it? They think they don’t need to, we think its a big mistake. We believe conservation is conservative..if conservatives wont conserve, who will.?

ACT “Americas rivers, lakes and streams don’t know any party…� who grow up republican is the same as repubs, mercury…� the democrats did not steal these issues, we handed the democrats this issue.�

Marks says her group takes some credit for the election of 2 members of congress; Rob Simmons from Connecticut and Mark Herk of Illinois, they also claim their membership helped pressure several republicans to vote against the drilling for oil in the arctic wildlife refuge, and the Bush energy plan. But she noted that President Bush, after being voted down by congress, has started making changes to environmental laws himself using executive orders; making congress powerless. Because of this, she recommends that states make their own laws. But Marks is firm about not changing political parties.

ACT “I will not let it happen

When asked by a skeptical republican in the audience what the three worst environmental policies instituted by the Bush Administration, Marks named the rollback of power plant pollution standards, the opening up of public lands for oil and gas exploration, and the delay of new Mercury pollution standards—which she says contradicts one of the underlying values of republicans—the right to life.

ACT You have the unborn fetus act.

Republicans for Environmental Protection America will be having a clean air advocacy workshop at 9:30 am this Saturday at the westshore Doubletree hotel in Tampa. For more information, call 727-525-2672, or go to Republicans for Environmental Protections website

For WMNF news, I’m Andrew Stelzer

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