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Bush is making progress on environmental issues
By Alan Caruba
I would not want to be George W. Bush even if I did get free lodgings in the White House, free rides in Air Force One, and a chance to hang out with a lot of big shots. Being President has to be one of the most thankless jobs. Then there's all those morons going around saying you're too stupid to chew gum and walk a straight line. These are usually the same people who won't publicly criticize Congressman Gary Condit and have just added a couple of million-dollar pork barrel projects to the budget so the folks back home can enjoy a bike path. Named after them, of course.
Trying to figure out what the Bush environmental policy is from week to week takes a lot of work and, even then, it's like watching some crazed break-dancer make up the steps as he goes along. I think Bush wants to do the right thing, but all those polls he's not supposed to be using to guide policy are coming back saying, "environment issues will get you kicked out in 2004 if people think you want to chop down all the forests, drill a lot of wells, and hate fuzzy little animals." There is only one, hard fast rule in politics and it is "Get re-elected!"
It is testimony to the decades of brainwashing and lies that the Greens have foisted on America, infiltrating the nation's classrooms to make sure kids grow up thinking the Earth is doomed, urban sprawl is threatening all the wildlife, generating energy is a bad thing, the ozone is disappearing, pesticides will kill humans, not the bugs, et cetera. Frankly, it is very hard for a President to push too hard against this wall of ignorance.
So let's start by giving the President credit for dropkicking the UN Global Warming Treaty into the twilight zone. In its current form, meteorologists estimate it would reduce the calculated temperature in 2050 by 0.02 degrees. That's one fiftieth of one degree and an ordinary thermometer can't even measure it. It already exempts nations like China and India. Combined, their populations represent a huge chunk of humanity and, if global warming was real, it would kill them like flies in a microwave oven. Only, it isn't real.
No more than the Green threats of a coming Ice Age back in the 1970's. The Greens are stone killers, soulless liars for whom their secret agenda of bringing about the triumph of Marxism requires the destruction of industrialization and democracy.
The President is trying to cover his backside by pledging an additional $120 million to study global warming. This is an utter and total waste of money because the Earth has not warmed in a half century of measuring such things. Politically, though, the proposal gives him cover.
The professional environmental activist organizations have been mounting a full-scale attack on things like Bush's effort to gut the Endangered Species Act that would keep them from launching an endless series of lawsuits like the one that ruined the lives of 1,400 formers in the Klamath Falls Valley. Ironically, the proposal to change the Act comes from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency with the primary responsibility to enforce it. What the Green groups are really worried about is the fact they will lose millions of taxpayer's dollars that go into their coffers when they get paid for successfully suing the government. Take away that incentive and the lawsuits will end!
The Bush administration has been enjoying a number of victories of late. In May a federal judge in Idaho blocked a new government regulation that would "protect" 60 million acres of national forests from logging and road construction, a leftover from the Clinton years. Under Clinton, the US Forest Service and environmentalists had worked hard to make sure that Americans would never enjoy the use of their forests for the reason they were set aside.
In mid-July, the administration announced that a rule aimed at reducing storm-water and agriculture pollution of some 21,000 lakes and streams needed to be put on hold for closer examination. Yet another leftover regulation from the Clinton years, it would require billions of dollars be allocated to cleanup these waterways, but the truth is no one really knows if any "pollution" exists. A lawsuit challenging the program was brought by the American Farm Bureau, along with other trade groups who believe, correctly, that it exceeds the Environmental Protection Agency's authority. EPA Director, Christie Whitman, favors their position.
In another under-reported move, the Bush administration is advancing a plan to cut federal environmental enforcement operations and to shift resources back to the states. This is a particularly clever notion-considering the man is supposed to be a big dope-because most states are unable and unwilling to vigorously enforce most of the federal environmental laws. Why? Because they are idiotic, but mostly because they drain scarce financial resources that would be better applied to maintaining roads, bridges, and other needs. America's basic infrastructure is in bad need of repair because of sheer neglect.
There is more evidence that EPA Director Whitman, is finally getting good guidance on why she was chosen for the office. Christie is the anti-Carol Browner, the woman who ruled the EPA throughout all of the Clinton years. So, now we hear that Christie is proposing sweeping changes in the regulations of power plant pollution that would replace five of the government's toughest programs with a single, flexible approach favored by the utilities. Why is this a good thing? Because this more sensible approach would encourage them to invest the billions needed to upgrade existing generation facilities and build more. America could face brownouts and blackouts from coast to coast without these changes.
Two steps forward. One step backward. Christie has spoken of proposing rules "to help sweep away the haze at many of America's national parks." The scientific name for the haze is volatile organic components. For those who slept through science class or were probably never taught this, all forests naturally emit VOCs. That's what trees do. They give off all kinds of VOCs, especially when they die and begin to decay. The real reason our forests have haze is that these trees have not been logged or cleared away. It's also the real reason we are encountering more and more horrendous fire fires. This is all part of the Green agenda. They hate timber companies and love forest fires. Meanwhile, the cost of building a new home has soared and we're actually importing wood from Canada. That makes a lot of sense, eh?
The Bush energy program is, of course, coming under fire because the Greens fear that America might actually be able to reduce its dependency on foreign oil by drilling in Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico for our own damned oil. So you will hear them bleat and carry on about the horrid energy producers who only want to profit off of heating your home or putting gas in your car's tanks. This nation would go to hell in a week without this energy.
As far as I can tell, the Bush administration is really trying to make the right moves to pull the plug on a lot of bad environmental laws and regulations that only serve to drive up the cost of everything while strangling this nation's ability to provide the energy we need, the food we need, the timber we need for new homes, and everything else required to get our economy back on the fast track.
Alan Caruba writes "Warning Signs", a weekly commentary posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. (c) Alan Caruba, 2001
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