George W. Bush has definitely been a polarizing personality in his two terms as leader of the United States of America. From the beginning and his War on Iraq he has seemingly attempted to paint himself as nothing more than a moronic menace. Of late, Bush has turned his sights on becoming the world’s greatest environmental foe.
Some may call my words harsh. Others will praise them. They are however, nothing more than my personal opinion about him.
However his actions against the environment are both unquestionable and unconscionable.
A recent Reuters article stated that ‘In cases this week dealing with polar bears, ozone smog and environmental research, groups that monitor these decisions faulted the Bush administration for slighting science in favor of politics.’ I feel that, in looking at the past few months, this statement fails to explain just how Bush has thrown his weight around.
On Wednesday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new 8-hour primary and secondary ozone standards of 75 parts per million. This was down from the previous limit which set it at 80 parts per million, but was still well above limits proposed not only by environmental and advocacy groups, but the members of the EPA itself.
Senator Hillary Clinton said in a statement on her website that “President Bush opened a new front in his administration’s war on science this week. His personal intervention to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency’s new limits on ozone proves that he has abandoned even a pretense of scientific integrity in decision-making. His efforts are directly at odds not only with accepted science, but with his government’s own arguments before the United States Supreme Court.”
“This is only the latest in a long series of examples where the Bush administration’s perversion of science helps special interests at the expense of public health — though it is certainly one of the more brazen. I will work with Senate Environment Committee Chair Barbara Boxer to investigate the President’s decision and to hold him accountable,” she added.
In response to criticism and by way of explanation, White House spokesman Tony Fratto explained that “What we were trying to do on the smog decision was try to have a decision that was consistent with our interpretation of the statute. This was not a weakening of regulations or standards governing ozone, but it was an effort to make those standards consistent.”
However many groups believe that these new regulations are built around coal-fired power plants and other industries that emit ground-level ozone.
“This is a pattern unfortunately that extends across the Environmental Protection Agency, across pretty much every science based agency in the federal government,” said Tim Donaghy of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
I’ll hold it there for the moment, and come to the polar bears soon. Needless to say, if we continue to see behavior like this from Bush, or even from other world leaders, we’re screwed.
Photo Courtesy of rkimpeljr via Flickr