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LAY OF THE LAND

Oil wells or antelope | Poisoning Whales | W Watch | Dirty old king coal | For the record | Updates

Keeping Tabs on George W. Bush

Dozens of Doozies

In his brief tenure, George Bush has earned at least three dozen environmental black marks, including his well-publicized backtracking on the Kyoto treaty on global warming, continued effort to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, delay in implementing arsenic standards for drinking water, and his move to weaken Bill Clinton’s roadless initiative for national forests, which would protect more than 58 million acres.

Bush even challenged citizens’ right to sue the government to protect wildlife under the Endangered Species Act. In his proposed budget, Bush would prohibit federal spending to carry out new court orders protecting plants and animals. That would give Interior Secretary Gale Norton--who once filed a legal brief arguing that the Endangered Species Act was unconstitutional--sole discretion over which new species are to be protected under the act.

The list of Bush’s not-so-subtle assaults on the environment includes:

  • An attempt to weaken efficiency standards for central air conditioners.
  • A proposal to cut energy-efficiency research and development by 27 percent.
  • A proposal to increase the Bureau of Land Management’s budget for oil drilling and exploration by $15 million and decrease its budget for conservation by the same amount.
  • Surprisingly, though, things could be worse. So we’ll give Bush this faint praise: The president has at least promised not to unravel several Clinton-era gains, among them a ban on snowmobiles in Yellowstone and new standards for diesel engines.

    For a comprehensive and up-to-date look at the impact of the Bush presidency on the environment, go to www.sierraclub.org/politics/bush.


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