Posts Tagged 'bush'

What’s Left

I’ve made my feelings on Bush’s administration and environmental policy clear- as clear as incoherent rage can be- so on the his last day in office, I’ll let others sum it up for me.

The Guardian: The Worst of Times

Fox News: Bush’s Environmental Legacy Draws Mixed Reviews

National Resources Defense Council: The Bush Administration’s Dirty Legacy

PBS: The Bush Environmental Legacy: 9 Landmark Decisions

All the sources listed mention the last minute reprieve for huge tracts of ocean land Bush just ordered, and not surprisingly, only Fox News feels that catapults his record from “Disaster” to “Mixed”.  Other news organizations are careful to point out that without enforcement and dedicated resources which our lamest duck no longer has control of, the new ocean preservation areas are just a cynical gesture: all legacy, no responsibility.

But tomorrow, we get a new chance.  I’m staying in DC tonight for a celebration with some friends, then we’re headed to the Mall Tuesday to join in the Inauguration.  I’ll post my pictures- even if all I get are the backs of people’s heads- for everybody who can only join in spirit!

If you are coming, make sure to check the list of street closings and forbidden items, and consider biking in, since the WABA is offering two free bike valet services near the mall for you.

Oh, Thank Goodness

From the WaPo (free sign-up necessary to see the whole thing, typically):

Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse White House policies on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Democrats, campaign aides and experts working with the transition team…

The president-elect has said, for example, that he intends to quickly reverse the Bush administration’s decision last December to deny California the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles…

Before the election, Obama told others that he favors declaring that carbon dioxide emissions are endangering human welfare, following an EPA task force recommendation last December that Bush and his aides shunned in order to protect the utility and auto industries…

They’re reportedly keeping the list open to reverse Bush’s parting blows to the country planned for the next few months.

It’s hard not to be giddy about the administration-elect, actually.  I’m sure they’re going to bug me one day, but for now, I will float upon the realization of my wildest dreams.

The Lamest of Ducks

America did a serious, considered, and inspiring thing yesterday.  Let us savor this for a minute.

Now let us take a deep breath, and smile.

Now let us dance in the streets!

Good.  Now to work.  The current administration still has 76 more days to pile up the mess they’re leaving behind.  With the help of the his flacks Stephen Johnson and Dirk Kempthorne at the EPA and the Interior Department, Bush will spend his last days rolling back environmental regulations around the country.  From a NYT editorial summarizing the planned changes:

In coming weeks, we expect the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a final rule that would weaken a program created by the Clean Air Act, which requires utilities to install modern pollution controls when they upgrade their plants to produce more power. The agency is also expected to issue a final rule that would make it easier for coal-fired power plants to locate near national parks in defiance of longstanding Congressional mandates to protect air quality in areas of special natural or recreational value.

Interior also is awaiting E.P.A.’s concurrence on a proposal that would make it easier for mining companies to dump toxic mine wastes in valleys and streams.

These men have betrayed their public trust time and again:  it should not surprise us that they will continue to do so as long as they hold any power.  It should, however, make us mad.  The Obama administration must reverse these policies, and take the responsibilities of the Int. Dept. and EPA seriously.  Fortunately, as with most things, the Pres-elect is on it already.

He’s considering Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for the position of EPA head.  Kennedy is an environmental lawyer and environmental activist.  Puttin’ the protection back in the Environmental Agency, whoop!  Well, except for that time he was all against the wind farm off Cape Cod, that was not very helpful.  So, mixed bag, but overall good.

I’m looking forward to hearing more on the cabinet over the next few weeks, but the first news is all right.

McCain Not Serious About Capping Emissions? Whatevs.

During an interview on CNN last week (with Glenn Beck, a conservative commentator who “disbelieves” in global warming), one of McCain’s economic advisors said he doubts McCain will follow through on his promise to implement a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases.  Because limiting greenhouse gases is silly and pointless, and of course McCain knows better, no matter what he says to fool those crunchy independents.  There’s a video and transcript, along with reference to another incident this month when McCain’s campaign undermined itself on the topic.  Well, undermine might be too strong, as it would indicate an actual foundation to upset.  His campaign has been having plenty of problems with advisors (and McCain himself) talking against and around his alleged platform, so this kind of contradiction is neither new nor surprising- nor that disruptive to his “message”.

I disagree with the guy on plenty of issues, but I tried to give him credit for at least talking up the environment.   ‘Course, Bush said the same stuff (including praise for cap-and-trade) in 2000, and every SOTU since, and look where that got us.  I should probably cut out the benefit-of-the-doubt stuff, it’s wasting my time.

Looks like after Nov. 4th, we won’t need to worry about what his plan might have been anyway.

Slow Week

Not environment-wise, but rather on my part.  I’ve been sick since Wednesday and have fallen behind in both posting and the vegetarian challenge.  But I’m on the mend, and I’ll get back into this with a couple of quick stories about disgusting Presidential decisions on the environment from the past week.  Perhaps it is  just as well to only link and describe them briefly, because anger and outrage is wasted on these people.  Best to channel all that into ensuring our future governments are never this blatantly, loathsomely anti-science and anti-human, ever again.

Bush and his drones won’t recognize their own EPA’s conclusion that greenhouse gases are air pollution and regulable under the Clean Air Act.  Their oh-so-classy way of rejecting this decision?  Why, just refuse to open the report!  Because if you don’t read it, it means it’s not true!  Congrats to the White House, for bringing pushy stupidity to a new low.

Meanwhile, they were working on a way to squelch science that they accidentally found out about (one assumes that the EPA hid it in the President’s funny pages, and he read it while looking for the punchline to Family Circus).  Mukasey and Bush are withholding a number of pertinent documents from a Congressional investigation on Bush’s role in neutering greenhouse gas and smog regulations, on the grounds that releasing them is unnecessary to the investigation, and harmful to the office of the president (which trumps harmful to America now).  While the latter is simply ludicrous (if he’s doing something that would denigrate the “presidency” if openly known, that’s something we DEFINITELY need the documentation about), they’ve got a point on the former: the documents they already released are quite clear that Bush and his White House staff directly intervened on at least two occasions to water down smog regulation, and reverse EPA decisions on Californian fuel efficiency standards.  If that’s not enough to conclude that Bush’s political pressures are preventing the EPA from doing its job, Congress is dumber than they look.

Maybe it’s the virus making me pessimistic, but it feels like it’s really just the Bush administration making me sick.

Words, words, words

Bush did his last State of The Union gig last night, which usually ends up being a very cathartic political experience for me. I invited a few people over to heckle. I don’t remember which channel we watched it on, but the camera person managed to locate all the sleeping and yawning people in the audience and show closeups of them during the blather, so it was very entertaining- all until the Democratic response, which actually made the President’s speech look good.

While the president has addressed climate issues in the last couple of SOTUs, this year he said greenhouse gases exist and that we should do something about it- big talk! His plan is to let his successor take care of it, though- he’s proposing a three-year commitment to give $2 billion to an international fund, so that other countries can develop clean technologies. This allows him a two-year getaway, plus it’s a bad idea in the first place. First off, $2 billion is a small sum and shows indicative of Bush’s real lack of concern about these issues- even the UAE beat Bush by 2 weeks and $13 billion, and Japan set up it’s own international fund this weekend with $10 billion in financing. Secondly, if we’re in such a financial crunch, why are we giving money to other countries for technologies we don’t have enough of here at home?

Invest the $2 billion in the US for clean technology, Bush, then we can sell it to the rest of the world. That will give us something valuable to export, stimulate the economy,  create good jobs, and it’s a lot better than that ridiculous plan of yours to mail me a $600 check to fix the recession.

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