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Carl Pope

Carl's new weblog:
Taking the Initiative.

Field Notes Archive

Which is worst?
Vote for the Bush administration's
biggest folly!

Carl Pope's Field Notes

The Truly Scary Environmental Story
13, 2004

You’ve probably seen ads for the upcoming disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow. It depicts a fanciful scenario based on the planetary impact of global warming. While the devastating impact of climate change is all-too-real, the film’s premise is all-too-Hollywood.

The truly scary environmental story right now is the Bush Administration’s systematic assault against the environment on all fronts.

In Strategic Ignorance, my collaborator Paul Rauber and I scrutinized the Bush Administration’s environmental record to date. Here’s my list of the Top Ten worst abuses (you’ll find details on each at the pages cited from the book). In a moment, you’ll have a chance to vote for the worst of the worst.

  1. Allowing the logging of 10% of the trees in the Sequoia National Monument? (p 26)
  2. Allowing the Superfund to run out of money to clean up toxic waste dumps on September 30, 2003. (p. 197)
  3. Walking away from the Kyoto Treaty and the entire international effort to curb global warming? (p 217)
  4. Proposing new clean air regulations that would quadruple the amount of mercury old power plants would be allowed to emit? (p. 86)
  5. Basing America's energy future on opening up wild lands and wilderness to the oil, gas and coal industries, and giving them tens of billions of dollars in new subsidies? (p. 108)
  6. Cutting clean water funding and enforcement so badly that for the first time since the Clean Water Act was passed America's rivers, streams, lakes and beaches actually got dirtier? (p. 205)
  7. Decreasing the official value of a human life from $6 million to $3.7 million. (p. 72)
  8. Denying the public access to the records of the Cheney Energy Task Force and other important public records? (p. 177)
  9. Repeatedly distorting the findings of federal scientists on subjects from the impact of oil drilling in the Arctic to the effect on dolphins of tuna fishing? (p. 147)
  10. Stripping protective status from natural areas covering 10% of the United States?(p. 131)

When you think about just how quickly this has all happened, or about the special interests driving this agenda, or about the impact these abuses are having on our health and safety, this is scary stuff – especially when you remind yourself this isn’t a movie or some satirical novel about some far-off Orwellian nightmare.

What’s the worst of the worst? Go to our Web site and tell us which you think are the worst abuses. We’ll show the results of the poll on the Website, and we’ll let the Bush Administration know what’s really got you scared this summer.