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THE REAL BUSH ENVIRONMENTAL AGENDA
by John Demos
The Maine Woods
April
2004 edition

"I've got a very real reasonable position on guns and the environment. And I think people are going to be pleased on my position on those issues." - Candidate Bush--Washington Post interview March 23, 2000.

True to his word, the President Bush has been busy the past three years eliminating regulations on his friends in the gun, logging, mining, energy, manufacturing, and other industries. Most Americans are not ≥pleased≤ with these actions, or are unaware of the scope of the attack. While we have been preoccupied with chasing terrorists and watching jobs disappear, the Administration has been busy dismantling our nation's most important environmental protections.

As they pitched rhetoric about clear skies, healthy forests, restoration, sound science, and reasonable approaches, the Administration has been working to weaken the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, public lands protections, the Endangered Species Act, and numerous other regulations that have served the country well for over thirty years.

"George W. Bush will go down in history as America's worst environmental president." - Robert F. Kennedy Jr. - December 11, 2003

The assault has been so broad, that even those working in the environmental field have had difficulty keeping track. Just the number of revisions to forestry-related law is staggering.

President Bush has appointed former corporate managers, lobbyists, and politicians with establish anti-environmental records to head the very agencies that they once worked to undermine. Passages in government reports that counter Administration policy are edited out, and experts and officials that are not bought into the plan are removed. Even the details of Vice President Cheney's secret meetings with energy executives are still being hidden from the public.

BUSH'S FIRE SALE

The following is an unlikely bit of honest advertising:

"Attention corporate shoppers. Due to a perceived overstock on our nation's public forests, the federal government is liquidating its inventory of trees at unbelievably low prices! We're not talking puny trees and brush, but fine old growth! Roadless Areas and the big stuff! Act fast. This deal may not last long should there be a leadership change in Congress and the White House."

With great fanfare this December third, President George W. Bush signed into law the "Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003". According to the President, "The bill expedites the environmental review process so we can move forward more quickly on projects that restore forests to good health. We don't want our intentions bogged down by regulations. We want to get moving." In a separate press statement, Republican Congressman Richard Pombo, one of the chief architects of the bill, effused, "This is the strongest environmental protection bill signed into law since the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act".

"Healthy Forests Act"? "The strongest environmental bill since the Clean Water Act"? "Restore forests to good health"? What's the matter with them bum environmentalists always dissing Bush on his environmental record?

For the past three years I have felt like I have been living a bad dream as the Bush Administration has conducted a sweeping attack on the laws that have brought Americans cleaner air, cleaner water, greater protection from toxic substances, and protected endangered wildlife and habitat.

While the country has been distracted by terrorism and war, the President and his partisans in Congress have been using administrative actions and legislation to weaken most of our country's environmental regulations, while conducting a public relations campaign designed to fool the public into believing their actions are eco-friendly. Titles like the "Clear Skies Initiative" and the "Healthy Forest Initiative" have successfully masked an agenda that seems designed solely to pay back big campaign contributors in industry. The rhetoric has been bad enough to date, but with Pombo's above-quoted statement, it has reached new levels of disingenuousness.

Through Bush's appointments, former corporate lobbyists and politicians with shoddy environmental records now control all the federal agencies charged with protecting human and ecological health. They are driving through policies that threaten the progress we have achieved in the past thirty years. Bush is quickly establishing a record as the worst president in history on environmental matters.

Despite all the bull being pumped out faster than the mercury from an aging power plant, the truth is readily available. A close look at the "Healthy Forest Restoration Act" reveals that it will do little to protect lives and communities from tragedies like this fall's California fires. It will, however, feed a lot of cheap timber to logging corporations at the public's expense. Read the fine print of the "Clear Skies Initiative" and you will discover that it will worsen our air quality, while bolstering utility profits. Administration rule changes to gut water quality standards will foul our waterways, and mining companies will reap the monetary rewards.

This Administration publicly speaks about applying sound science, while they quietly squelch their own experts' reports, such as the adverse effects on wildlife by drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve or the dire consequences of global warming. The Administration has ignored non-partisan reports that run up against their wishes, like the numerous Government Accounting Office studies that prove environmental regulations are not slowing down fire thinning projects. Also, as with the Cheney Energy Task Force, they have been conspiring in secret with industry executives, while leaving the rest of us out in the cold.

Do not be fooled America. Take the time to check out the facts and confirm for yourself that the Bush Administration is no friend of the environment.

John Demos is the Northeast Representative of the American Lands Alliance - www.americanlands.org

John Demos
Northeast Organizer American Lands Alliance
59 Rodier Rd.
South Berwick, Maine 03908
demos@americanlands.org

Topplebush.com
Posted: March 9, 2004

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