Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Great Deregulator or Great Despoiler"

It's no secret I'm not a fan of our current president but seriously, what is this guy doing??
This editorial appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

George W. Bush may be the undisputed champion when it comes to presidential vacations, but his staff is working overtime. As the clock ticks down to Inauguration Day, the Bush administration is working feverishly to dismantle at least 10 major safeguards of the nation's air, water, endangered species and national parks.

Most of the damage took place before Nov. 15, 60 days before Inauguration Day. That's because most new federal rules take effect 60 days after being published in the Federal Register. Once in effect, they are more difficult and time-consuming to undo.
In recent weeks, the Bush administration has:

Opened up 2 million acres of Western land to the development of oil shale, one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet. Another 360,000 acres - including large swaths of public land near Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park in Utah and Dinosaur National Monument on the border of Utah and Colorado - were opened to oil drilling.

Exempted large factory farms and mountaintop mining operations from parts of the Clean Water Act. The prohibition against dumping mining waste into rivers and streams dates back to the administration of President Ronald Reagan, who was not exactly an environmental radical.

Loosened clean-air rules to make it easier to build power plants, refineries and chemical plants near national parks. It also changed rules to make it easier for coal-fired power plants to avoid installing pollution controls or clean up soot and smog emissions.

Changed rules to prevent Congress from blocking uranium mining on claims filed near the Grand Canyon. Higher prices for uranium have prompted hundreds of new mining claims on federal land. In June, a House committee ordered that about 1 million acres of land near the Grand Canyon be exempt from mining. The rule change would block that.

And several days ago, the Washington Post reported that a new rule that is close to being finalized would prevent federal agencies from taking climate change into consideration when they make decisions about imperiled animals and plants. That's apparently being done because polar bears were added earlier this year to the list of species in jeopardy. The administration reportedly believes that the move could serve as a pretext for imposing a cap on carbon emissions.

The Bush administration previously had eliminated rules that require independent scientific reviews of federal agency decisions that could harm protected plants and animals. The effect of that change, for all intents and purposes, is to institutionalize conflict of interest by allowing agencies that propose new projects to avoid the complications that would ensue if other federal agencies asserted that those projects would harm endangered animals or plants.

Many of the proposed rules changes, such as the Clean Air Act rule on coal-fired power plants, would accomplish things the administration tried and failed to win in Congress.

Bush seems determined to cement his place in history as the Great Deregulator. Given the amount of damage he's doing to popular environmental protections, it seems more likely he'll be remembered as the Great Despoiler.


Bryce and Mandy said...

It irritates me that we even bother to elect people to represent us when the President can just go and do what he wants when things don't go his way.

It has always bothered me that Presidents (rep & dem) do these things at the end of their presidency. Not too mention the pardoning they all do. It just seems pretty pathetic to me.

Lula O said...

Remember when Clinton pardoned that lady's husband because she donated alot of money to his presidential library??
Nice...what a great legacy.

Knowing how stubborn Bush is, I'd be surprised if he went that route. I doubt he'll pardon very many. He wants to do what he wants to do, and he doesn't care if anyone agrees. If he can't pass what he wants to in Congress, he'll just do it in his final decrees.

okbushmans said...

I have tried to research this out as much as I could, with Christmas around the corner. I read the article on the website, which you posted. It was entered on a blog website, by an unknown author, which has to be approved by the blogs editorial board. After looking up the facts given, I could not find those specific ones anywhere. I did find on several other websites similarlly environmentally harmful ones (clear obstacles to some commercial ocean-fishing activities, ease controls on emissions of pollutants that contribute to global warming, relax drinking-water standards and lift a key restriction on mountaintop coal mining.) With that said...

As you have pointed out, it is typical of an out-going Pres. to pass 'midnight regulations'. Although I can't excuse (or agree with) what some of his deregulations call for, I can maybe explain it. (Remember, this isn't what I believe) I'm guessing Bush believes that in an economic difficult time, companies need less regulation to slow their progress down. If the security of a company, and in turn 100's of jobs, rely on drilling in some rural part of New Mexico, then screw the hare who might be inhabiting it. Jobs and companies producing is more important than keeping the soil in S. Utah clean and the water off the Cali coast. I am guessing that is his reasoning. Or he could just be waving a big middle finger to the left environmentalists who hate him!

Ben and Christina said...

My guess- he is waving the middle finger:) I am sure Bush believes what he is doing is right- I honestly, truly believe that he really believes history will vindicate him and he will go down as one of the best presidents of all time. The man is completely dillusional, I don't know what planet he is living on, or what rug he is living under to believe such things. But, for whatever sad reason, he has this great conviction that he is the greatest gift to America that we have ever seen. He has been praised for his stalwart conviction- but the pilots who flew into the WTC had conviction, Saddam Hussein had conviction, Hitler had conviction- just because you have conviction doesn't make you right. That's why we have checks and balances- and is why it is scary that most politicians starting with Bush but going on down seem unwilling to compromise or work beyond their own party lines (I do admire McCain at least on that part- he was willing to cross party lines, and I have great respect for him on that). Bush has been nothing but completely partisan, as is most evidenced by his lack of compromising with Congress the last 2 years. But, he believes he is always right- he believes God is working through him (he has said similar statements in the past). I think he is crazy, and can't wait until this (him) is over!!!

@okbushman: I am surprised you haven't found resources (not that I have tried, because I haven't) but several of our news broadcasts have been talking about this- it was on NBC with Brian Williams as well as on our local news. I am absolutely NOT trying to say you are wrong in not being able to find resources, I really am just surprised because I have seen a bit of news coverage on this...

okbushmans said...

Just a few comments: When I look for resources, I really try to find the ACTUAL text, legislation, laws, quotes, etc. I couldn't, I just found summaries on news websites. (probably not available yet, or still 'top-secret') I'm not discounting what has been written, but I typically reserve judgement till I see what was actually proposed.

Second: Your point about conviction is right on. A misguided person with stubborn conviction can be dangerous, and I know you would argue that describes Bush. I agree in some cases, financial bail-outs most recently, his conviction is damaging. Which leads me to my next point:

Partisanship: Yes, Bush has voted with his party. I would argue recently, he has gone completely opposite of traditional consv. values (bail-out). But, look at the flip side, when has Obama worked with Republicans on anything? (campaign finance, is the only one I could come up with) He has voted with the democratic party almost 100% of the time. Again, both sides are guilty of partisanship. (And yes, that is one reason I voted for McCain, because he is beyond parties).

Lastly: Your comment about Bush believing he is the "greatest gift to America", I completely disagree. He is stubborn, beyond convicted, honestly believes he is doing whats right, etc. But, he does not take himself that seriously to think of himself like that. I think he believes America is the greatest gift to the world. And he believes history will vindicate the war in Iraq, it will be interesting to see.

Merry Christmas!

Lula O said...

Man, you women are good! (Notice how I used man - AND - woman in that sentence.)

I'm saving my precious gem on this subject until the 26th. Hopefully there will be some environment still left by then.

Until then, enjoy your green toilet brushes ladies!!

Happy Festivus...

Lula O said...

I have two main problems with our current pres.
#1 - Like Christina said, he has an ego the size of Mt. Rushmore (like most presidents). I think he believes he's right, at all costs. And when I say 'he' I include his closest ally in the White House, Dick Cheney. I believe they are one in the same. That one doesn't move without the other.

My #2 - Science has had no place in the Bush Administration for the past 8 years. Bush/Cheney have viewed science as some evil entity come to tell them what to do. How dare someone tell them what to do!!!Their administration has injected the influence of politics and idealogy into decisions that are best left to science. The Department of Interior has become nothing but a soft target for corruption, it's coziness blatant with the industries it's supposed to regulate.

All of this has happened under their watch and as far as I'm concerned, with their blessing. This sort of meddling has become the standard for this presidency. I cannot wait until it ends.

I agree Bush was, until recently completely partisan, and when it came time for him to work the field so to speak with the econ crisis, he had not clout whatsoever. No one really cares anymore. To me, he didn't even look to be trying hard. He's done his time. He's spent.

I also agree that Obama was very partisan in the Senate. Ah, politics as usual. If only Ted Kennedy could run for pres again, one of the few bipartisans.
How will Obama be as president? As far as science goes, he's given every indication so far it will have it's own room in the Whitehouse. Hopefully right next to Lincoln's..:o)

Lula O said...

Also on pardons, I saw that his, as was predicted, only equaled about half of what Clinton and Reagan did.
And that he gave Scooter Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, a get-out-of-jail free card for his conviction in the case of the **release the name of the CIA agent to the public because her husband spoke out against the war ** Whitehouse debacle.

Anybody hear about Karl Rove? Was that snake ever actually convicted in that scandal? If he was, we can probably count on his name being added soon. Hate for him to spend some time in jail...

Jen said...

Not convicted. Innocent. I happend to really like Karl Rove. Have you ever seen interviews of him or heard him on any of the news channels? He often is brought on to commentate. I'd say, not a snake.

Lula O said...

Democrats, and John McCain feel otherwise. I've read a bunch of his commentaries in Newsweek and while he has smart political savvy, and has mellowed some in his old age, "the architect" at the height of his political power was a master of dirty politics. He was mean and vicious to McCain during the 2000 primary (think McCain father's black baby, Cindy's drug use, he's a homosexual, tried to discredit his war hero status, etc.)
He was ruthless against his enemies, a fact he'd probably announce freely as, he too has a gigantic ego.

It's pretty well known he leaked stuff all the time. It was one of his best strategies, and that CIA agent mess is classic Rove. It's too bad he let Scooter take the fall, but not surprising.
His moral compass points in one direction only - Republicans winning at all costs, and revenge.

Jen said...

Well, since you seem to know so much more about this than me, I'll default to you. But I still like his political commentary. I think he's really smart.

Lula O said...

Wow are you being serious?? Then I will concede in part. He is really smart.
It must be Christmas time...

Jen said...

True, I don't know much so that was a sincere default. I did know about the Scooter Libby case and I thought it was blown out of proportion but I don't know much from before that, ie the McCain garbage--it seems pretty lame to me I mean, can't these politicans grow up! I'm really tired of the media. It's so tough to know what is true and what isn't true. That's why I try to do my best to judge the character of the person and look at their policies at the same time. With Karl Rove, I'm not sure that the media gave him a fair shake, but then again I could be wrong. This is soooo true for most politicans. It's interesting to watch the media give some a pass and then attack others. That's why I'm so defensive of Sarah Palin. I really think that the media was trying to tear her apart--and succeeded. However, when I looked at what she had done for Alaska and what she stood for, I couldn't help but like her. The same is true for many other politicans. For the most part I really don't trust any of them, so I just try to hear what they have to say and then go with what seems right to me. That's why Karl Rove is so smart to me, he may or may not be a punk, but he really knows a lot about politics and I find that he says things that really make sense to me. And that's why I don't like Obama, he seems like a nice enough guy, but I completely dislike his policies. But, whatever, they really are all lame. I mean, are we ever going to really get the guy who rides in on the white horse. I don't think he or she exists.

Lula O said...

I knew it was too good to be true..:o)

Jen said...

not too good to be true ;) The media is just lame and it's tough to know how they are spinning things.