In these waning days of the Bush administration, a lot of folks are reflecting on his environmental legacy. Here’s just a dabbling of his largest enviro-blunders:
Spin Over Science. The Bush administration has valued its own political agenda over scientific facts time and time again–perhaps most notably in the administration’s refusal to listen to its own scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency regarding carbon emissions.
Polar Bears, Schmolar Bears. The Bush administration listed the polar bear as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, yet made it clear that the ESA will not provide any additional protections from the harsh consequences of global warming. Rather than take up the challenge of global warming, the administration basically passed the buck to the polar bears.
Clean Air, You Say? Despite a 2007 Supreme Court ruling telling the EPA that it can regulate carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act, the agency has stalled, failing to do anything.
President Bush could have coasted these last days of his presidency–cleaning up the brush at his Crawford ranch or picking out new drapes for the new home he and Laura plan to buy closer to Dallas. Instead, George W. Bush has been engaged in hard work, trying to water down as many of the major environmental safeguards that protect America’s wildlife, national parks and rivers as possible.
His legacy also puts the greatest environmental challenges of our time squarely in the hands of the next administration to figure out, repair or undo. But don’t think I’m all doom and gloom. I believe we are poised to benefit from these lessons learned into the coming years. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but seriously, I think the fun is just beginning.
I’m an activist at heart, and take immense pride in that. I believe in the power of the grass-roots–of ordinary people like you and me–and I know we’ve got it in us to start solving these challenges.
What do you think will be the No. 1 environmental issue for the coming years? In my next post, I’ll round up some of your ideas and a few of my own about what’s coming around the corner.