Thursday, April 22, 2004

Hug a Tree Today

There are two days on the calendar that George Bush should consider laying low - Labor Day and Earth Day. Since it's Earth Day today, I'm not going to belabor (pun intended) his job record. I'm incredulous enough about the Bush Administration's environmental record.

Seems that Dubya was up in Maine today, touting his --cough cough-- stewardship of the planet. He presented a wetlands preservation plan, which on the face of it is a good thing. We can chalk that up to his love of bass fishing, I guess. What's not a good thing is that there's no funding for the program. What is even curiouser is that early this month, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that the White House manipulated scientific information to minimize the threat of mercury exposure, in order to roll back some emission rules for coal fired power plants. So, I guess angler George isn't interested in this tidbit from the NRDC:
In several cases, the edits toned down the link between power plants and elevated levels of methylmercury in fish, despite the fact that power plan pollution is the largest unregulated source of mercury air pollution. In fact, high mercury levels prompted fish safety warnings in more than 44 states over the past year.

Under the Clinton administration, the EPA recommended that mercury from power plants be strictly regulated under the Clean Air Act's requirements for hazardous air pollutants. However, the Bush administration reversed course last December, much to the delight of coal and utility lobbyists. Recently, 10 state attorneys general and 45 U.S. senators spoke out against the EPA's pollution plan, urging the agency to scrap its proposals and adopt more protective mercury requirements.
This is but one example of why the Sierra Club released a statement today saying "Bush has done his best, in only three years, to break our national compact on environmental progress and turn the clock back -- not years or decades, but a full century."

At least Christie Whitman, former governor of New Jersey, had the good grace to give up her cozy EPA Administrator position after the third or fourth time that her boss backdoored her. As a GOP governor, Whitman always had a strong environmental record - but when she recognized how the Bush cabal was literally gutting environmental laws, regulations, and EPA enforcement, she quietly bailed out.

If you'd like a good year-by-year look at the Bush environmental record, check out the annotated listing provided by NRDC.

There are so many issues with which to slap around the Bush Administration. This is one of them that barely registers with most Americans. But on this day, when we supposedly celebrate our stewardship of the planet, we need to start by changing the stewardship of our government in November.

Now, go hug a tree.