Monday, December 6

Mile High President 

The Post fills us in on who is on Bush's mind during long ceremonies:
"'The president has even less patience with elaborate welcoming ceremonies and official dinners on foreign trips. 'He'll usually get on the plane and jokingly say, 'Thank you, Condi, I enjoyed that,' ' said a Bush aide, who asked not to be identified because the president's remarks reflected impatience with his job.'"

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Sunday, December 5

Bush Sets Out Plan To Dismantle 30 Years Of Environmental Laws 

In the December 5th edition of the British daily the Independent, Geoffrey Lean reports from Washington:

"George Bush's new administration, and its supporters controlling Congress, are setting out to dismantle three decades of US environmental protection.

In little over a month since his re-election, they have announced that they will comprehensively rewrite three of the country's most important environmental laws, open up vast new areas for oil and gas drilling, and reshape the official Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)."

The article goes on to list what Bush plans on behalf of his oil and energy campaign contributors, ironically overturning legislation enacted by Repbulican Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Here is the list:

1) As one third of the EPA staff retires over the next four years of Bush's term, the Bush-appointed head of the EPA, Mike Leavitt, intends on replacing them with pro-polluters;

2) the administration will open up the Arctic Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling. The refuge - home to caribou, polar bears, musk oxen and millions of migratory birds - may not even contain significant amounts of oil;

3) pass the energy bill - defeated in the last Congress - which would investigate vast new tracts for exploitation for oil and gas. It will also encourage the building of nuclear power stations, halted since the 1979 Three Mile Island accident. And it will repeal PUHCA (the Public Utilities Holding Company Act) enacted by Congress during the Roosevelt administration; repeal of PUHCA would mean the last remnants of the nation's power grid system would be completely deregulated;

4) a comprehensive review (see emasculation) of the Clean Air Act, one of the world's most successful environmental laws, announced by Texas Republican Joe Barton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee;

5) a review of the Endangered Species Act, for the protection of wildlife announced by the Republican chairman of the House Resources Committee, Richard Pombo. The law has been the main obstacle to the felling of much of the US's remaining endangered rain forest;

6) an attack on the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires details of the environmental effects of major developments before they proceed.

According to Philip Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust, "We will now see an assault on the law which will set the US in the direction of becoming a Third World country in terms of environmental protection."

Not surprisingly, almost every local referendum on environmental issues carried out on election day achieved a green majority.

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