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Policies & Politics

Bush Delivers Five Final Blows to the Environment

Though President Bush remains in office for only two more weeks, he has left a final trail of devastation to cement his legacy in place. From gutting the endangered species act to allowing toxic waste to flow freely, Bush is pushing 11th hour executive orders at a potentially record setting pace.

His list of last minute domestic atrocities is not limited to the environment, but many of his most egregious final offenses are those that spoil sensitive habitat and natural resources. This list is merely a sample of Bush’s midnight regulations, along with what is being done to stop him. Here are George Bush’s top five most disgraceful efforts to ruin our environment once more.

5) Actual pine woods to be replaced with a suburb named “Pine Woods”. Plum Creek Timber, the nation’s largest private landowner, has crafted a back door deal with the Bush administration to allow them to pave over logging roads and develop the previously inaccessible land. Local forest agencies are furious about the back door deal, which is being finalized this week. It might not be too late to stop it, so call 1-800-832-1355 and tell Forest Service director (and former timber industry lobbyist) to stop opening up our forests for development.

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4) No need to report hazardous waste and air pollutants. The EPA has allowed over 100,000 tons of waste to be exempted from the hazardous waste controls and is no longer requiring factory farms to report toxic air pollutants such as ammonia because “there’s no way our responders can deal with that”. But isn’t that the point of the EPA? Unfortunately, these have already been signed and there are no lawsuits yet to overturn them.

3) Mining waste can be dumped in streams and rivers. The 25 year ban on dumping mining waste within 100 of streams and rivers no longer exists, thanks to one of Bush’s deregulations early in December. This is opposed by prominent politicians in the states with the most mining, as well as conservation groups, but the effort to stop the deregulation failed. There is a lawsuit underway currently, so hopefully the ban will be reinstated soon.

2) Oil-shale industry in the Rocky Mountain states gets the green light. Bush and the Land Management Bureau have given the okay for oil production companies to go ahead with exploration without even considering the effects it would have on animals and plants listed as threatened by the Endangered Species Act. Oil-shale development, which obtains oil from rocks around surface level, is a polluting process that can endanger nearby wildlife. A lawsuit is being filed by at least a dozen conservation groups.

1) Endangered Species Act no longer required to use science? In conjunction with all of these deregulations, some are claiming that Bush’s new rules have gutted the ESA so badly that it is no longer necessary to use scientific reviews when enacting a potentially devastating policy or endeavor. California Attorney General Jerry Brown is having his entire state sue the Bush administration, claiming that a new regulation “circumvents a time-tested statute that for 35 years has required scientific review of proposed federal agency decisions that affect wildlife.” Considering only Congress can change the ESA, we may be able to count on success in overturning this most offensive deregulation by President Bush.

For the sake of the world’s future generations, let us all hope that the incoming administration stays true to its promise to make the environment a top priority.

Photo Credit: DougWW on Flickr under Creative Commons License.




16 comments
  1. Scott Collin

    I tried contacting the forest service and got the run around, I was told by one fellow the the deal to open up inaccessible forest to development was beat down. I tried my best. hope it helps.

  2. Jacob

    So you bunch of loons would rather have 3,4,5 dollars a gallon for gasoline, and no oil exploration, and save the black backed rascal cat, and the possibility of jobs being lost, and people being put out on the streets because the price of goods are super high because everything uses oil right now……what for it, ohh wait that has happened and is happening, im for alternatives but you people act like we can just switch tonight by midnight. And completely clean everything up.

    The whole basis of this article is crap to begin with, because Clinton and Bush the first and Reagan and Carter, all sacrificed some things in order to keep the country safe as they see fit. And all of them allowed certain enviromental policies to expire because at the time more pressing matters needed there attention.

    Im sick of idiots and imcompatent morons like most not all but most of these tree huggers on this site not supporting a person because there not affilated with there green tree party or whatever left bracket of a good democratic party you people sit at.

    We have to have oil, and may have to suspend some good strong protections and policies or allow them to expire for temporary in order to further the good of the country and not a couple different species of animals, or tree’s or any other enviromental , There are ways to do things in the environment without messing up the delicate balance we have in nature, and still keep the country working at maximum capacity. you guys have to understand that.

  3. Michael A. Weber

    Koze- that is true. I don’t know what his reasoning was for this, but here is on explanation offered in a Mercury News article:

    Environmentalists said Tuesday the news, while heartening, does not offset Bush’s numerous other efforts over the years to weaken environmental laws, increase offshore oil drilling or his leaving office without passing mandatory curbs on greenhouse gases.

    “These actions are substantive. They absolutely have value,” said Julie Packard, executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. “But they are also noncontroversial. There are not a lot of stakeholders who are going to be objecting to protecting a distant part of the Pacific. But we should be glad about them.”

    http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_11388905

  4. Koze

    I read that Bush very recently designated three areas in the Pacific as Marine National Monuments. IUCN provided scientific and technical advice that contributed to this decision, resulting in the creation of the largest protected area of ocean in the world spanning 195,280 square miles.

    Seems to stand in contrast with these other things he’s done.

  5. Pathos

    @Shinobi….Your answer would be Yes.At the cost of $500,000,000 the latest president has been purchased by the same people that bought the last….Same ‘ole dog and pony show folks sorry.

  6. crackgerbal

    This is so disappointing, but then again, not unexpected. I am glad that you posted this article because these are issues I had not heard of yet, and most likely few others have heard of them with the election commotion.

    Thanks for spreading the word about these very important issues!

  7. ravinglunatic

    I think these moves prove that Washington and politicians have been bought by industry (defense, energy, industrial, agriculture, construction, etc..). I think the Obama administration will and should reverse these orders and also strengthen the EPA and ESA before it is too late.

  8. Shinobi

    This puts me at such a loss for words. My only question is why? Has money really become that much of a ruling factor in life today? Has greed really consumed us so much? It is a reflection of American society today. No one is really doing anything to stop it so it keeps happening. : /

  9. Global Patriot

    It would seem the tragedy of a failed administration continues until it’s final breath. What I haven’t seen yet is a detailed analysis of whether these rulings can be reversed by the Obama administration or if it will take legislation from Congress.

    There is also talk of tying these up in court for years, as it appears California is prepared to do on some fronts. Such a shame that those in Washington will have to spend so much of their time dealing with this – but then, maybe that was the plan all along.

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