Bush regime environmental record

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"This is the worst environmental president we’ve had in American history." --Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

  • If you look at NRDC’s (Natural Resources Defense Council) website you’ll see over 400 major environmental roll backs that are listed there that have been implemented or proposed by this administration over the past four years as part of a deliberate concerted effort to eviscerate 30 years of environmental law.
  • Bush Greenwatch is "dedicated to expanding media coverage and public awareness of the many vital environmental and public health issues affected by the administration's anti-environmental agenda, which consistently places the interests of corporate donors above the public good."
  • Recognizing their vulnerability on the environment, Bush and his senior appointees have launched a cynical effort to paper over the worst environmental record in history. --Environment2004
  • "It's the worst environmental record in American history," says Carl Pope, the Sierra Club's executive director. "The administration consistently favors polluting industries over health and safety." [1], [2]
  • Wildlands at Risk, report highlighting 25 places across the country where the Bush administration's unprecedented assault on our public lands could have lasting impacts.
  • The NYT Magazine's cover story 4 April 2004 details how the Bush Administration, through subtle regulatory changes, scuttled what would have been "one of the greatest advances in clean air in the nation's history. [3]
  • "On mercury, the administration didn't just take industry views into account, it literally let the polluters write the regulations: much of the language of the administration's proposal came directly from lobbyists' memos. ... In other words, the administration proposal would perpetuate mercury pollution where it does the most harm. That probably means thousands of children born with preventable neurological problems." [4]
  • "New-source review, or N.S.R., involves an obscure and complex set of environmental rules and regulations that most Americans have never heard of, but to people who work in the power industry, few subjects are more crucial. ... The Monroe[, Michigan] plant, which is operated by Detroit Edison, is one of the nation's top polluters. Its coal-fired generators emit more mercury, a toxic chemical, than any other power plant in the state. Until recently, power plants like the one in Monroe were governed by N.S.R. regulations, which required the plant's owners to install new pollution-control devices if they made any significant improvements to the plant. Those regulations now exist in name only; they were effectively eliminated by a series of rule changes that the Bush administration made out of the public eye in 2002 and 2003. What the president was celebrating in Monroe [in remarks "delivered on Sept. 15, 2003, to a cheering crowd of power-plant workers and executives"] was the effective end of new-source review." [5]

(CBS) A government whistle-blower says the Bush administration covered up the reasons for a toxic coal slurry spill in Appalachia that ranks among the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. [6]

Jack Spadaro tells Correspondent Bob Simon that political appointees in the Department of Labor whitewashed a report that said an energy company that had contributed to the Republican Party was responsible for the 300-million gallon spill.
Simon's report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, April 4, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Spadaro was until recently the head of the National Mine Health and Safety Academy and played a key role in investigating the spill, which was 25 times the size of the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska.
"It polluted 100 miles of streams, killing everything in the streams, all the way to the Ohio River," says Spadaro of the October 2000 spill that affected West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky.
"The Bush administration came in and the scope of our investigation was considerably shortened. I had never seen something so corrupt and lawless in my entire career...interference with a federal investigation of the most serious environmental disaster in the history of the Eastern United States."
Spadaro says his investigation found Massey Energy, the owner of the impoundment containing the viscous and toxic liquid, knew the containment was weak, and in fact, had leaked once before. The company was going to be cited for serious violations that could have resulted in large fines and criminal charges, Spadaro says.

To avoid answering questions posed by six U.S. Senators concerned with the records of President Bush and EPA nominee Michael Leavitt on environmental issues that affect the lives of millions of Americans, Senate Republicans Bill Frist (R-TN) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) last night filed a cloture petition ( write a petition ) to override "holds" placed on Leavitt's nomination and to cut off any floor debate--before any debate has even begun. --EarthJustice

"The Senators with holds on Mike Leavitt's confirmation vote have asked legitimate questions about this nomination. The Senators have questions that have yet to be answered about whether Governor Leavitt and President Bush will continue to weaken our nation's environmental safeguards. They are refusing to release information about their anti-environmental policies," said Joan Mulhern, senior legislative counsel for Earthjustice.
"This disrespectful disregard of traditional Senate processes is an effort to force a vote on the EPA nomination before many important questions can even be asked," said Mulhern. "The Bush administration and Senate Republican leadership apparently don't believe they have to answer to anyone about their policies to destroy federal environmental safeguards. These are life and death issues for many Americans - will our drinking water be clean? Is the air safe for our kids to breathe? The Bush White House and Governor Leavitt do not want to answer these questions.

While George W. Bush gets low marks on the environment from a majority of Americans, few fully appreciate the scope and fury of this administration's anti-environmental agenda. [7]

"What they're doing makes the Reagan administration look innocent," says Buck Parker, executive director of Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental law firm.
The Bush administration has been
  • gutting key sections of the Clean Water and Clean Air acts, laws that have traditionally had bipartisan support and have done more to protect the health of Americans than any other environmental legislation.
  • It has crippled the Superfund program, which is charged with cleaning up millions of pounds of toxic industrial wastes such as arsenic, lead, mercury and vinyl chloride in more than 1,000 neighbourhoods in 48 states.
  • It has sought to cut the EPA's enforcement division by nearly one-fifth, to its lowest level on record; fines assessed for environmental violations dropped by nearly two-thirds in the administration's first two years; and criminal prosecutions -- the government's weapon of last resort against the worst polluters -- are down by nearly one-third.
  • The administration has abdicated the decades-old federal responsibility to protect native animals and plants from extinction, becoming the first not to voluntarily add a single species to the endangered species list.
  • It has also now endorsed commercial whaling, reversing a US ban in place since 1986 [8].
  • It has opened millions of acres of wilderness -- including some of the nation's most environmentally sensitive public lands -- to logging, mining, and oil and gas drilling. Under one plan, loggers could take 10% of the trees in California's Giant Sequoia National Monument; many of the Monument's old-growth sequoias, 200 years old and more, could be felled to make roof shingles.
  • Other national treasures that have been opened for development include the million-acre Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona, the 2,000-foot red-rock spires at Fisher Towers, Utah, and dozens of others.
  • mountaintop removal involves blasting away entire mountaintops to get at coal seams below and dumping the resulting rubble, called "spoil," into adjacent valleys. ... which has buried at least 1,000 miles of Appalachian streams and destroyed tens of thousands of acres of woodland that the EPA describes as "unique in the world" for their biological diversity.
And then, of course, the White House has all but denied the existence of what may be the most serious environmental problem of our time, global warming.
Few people know the magnitude of the administration's attacks on the environment because the administration has been working very hard to keep it that way. Like any successful commander in chief, Bush knows that putting the right person in the right place is the key to winning any war. This isn't just a matter of choosing business-friendly appointees for top positions. That's pretty much standard operating procedure for Republican administrations. What makes this administration different is the fact that it is filled with anti-regulatory supporters deep into its rank and file -- and these bureaucrats, unlike James Watt, are politically savvy and come from the very industries they're charged with regulating. The result is an administration uniquely effective at implementing its ambitious pro-industry agenda -- with a minimum of public notice.
J. Steven Griles is one of industry's moles within the Bush administration. Before coming to work as deputy secretary of the Interior, Griles was one of the most powerful lobbyists in Washington, with a long list of energy-industry clients, including the National Mining Association and several of the country's largest coal companies. [9]

"By using stealth tactics to pursue a corporate agenda, the Bush administration is undermining the very landscape of democracy. The White House has also been darkly brilliant at using the courts to do its dirty work -- through methods such as "sweetheart suits," the practice of encouraging states and private groups to file lawsuits against the federal government, and then agreeing to negotiated settlements that bypass environmental laws without any interference from Congress or the public. [10]

Update: Bush the sequel likely to be a crusade against the environment. Bush sets out plan to dismantle 30 years of environmental laws

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