Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Bush administration's environmental end-run

[Photo of Bald Eagle by wildnatureimages]

When the Bush administration doesn't want to play by the rules, it makes up its own, new rules.

Time magazine (Aug. 25, 2008, p. 13) notes that "The early 1970s were a golden age for U.S. environmentalists, with a wave of proposals passed into law that transformed the way Americans thought of their air, their water and their natural resources. The crown jewel of that legislation was the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which has helped iconic animals like the gray wolf and the bald eagle rebound to healthier numbers. Once a species is classified as endangered, no federally approved project affecting the animal--like a highway or a dam--can go forward without an independent scientific review."

The ESA has long been a thorn in the side of the Bushites because it flies in the face of their commitment to green light any corporate project that has potential to create a profit.

Amanda Terkel, at Think Progress, writes that "The Bush administration has been attempting to bypass or kill the Endangered Species Act for years. Recently, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff used his power to waive federal laws, including the Endangered Species Act, in order to expedite building the U.S.-Mexico border fence."

A little over a week ago, on August 11, "the White House proposed an overhaul that could gut the ESA. The new rules--which could go into effect in as few as 90 days and won't need approval from Congress--include measures that would allow federal agencies dealing with projects affected by the ESA to bypass an independent review. And that means the evaluation of whether an action harms an endangered species would be made not by trained biologists but by bureaucrats." (Time, Aug. 25, p. 13)

As pointed out by Ms. Terkel, "This measure mirrors legislation proposed in 2005, by then-Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), a close ally of Jack Abramoff [and, I would add, one of the most anti-environmental members of Congress in its long history!]. ... Pombo's GOP-majority House cleared his bill, but it failed to go anywhere in the Senate. Bush is now bypassing Congress to push the legislation forward before he leaves office."

The rationale for this change was explicated by the Bush Interior Secretary, Dick Kempthorne, and it is provides a glimpse into the corporate mindset of the Bushites, who see, even our precious natural resources, as simply a means of increasing their wealth.

According to the AP, "...Kempthorne said ... the changes were needed to ensure that the Endangered Species Act would not be used as a 'back door' to regulate the gases blamed for global warming. ... The draft rules would bar federal agencies from assessing the emissions from projects that contribute to global warming and its effect on species and habitats.

"It is important," said Kempthorne, "to use our time and resources to protect the most vulnerable species. It is not possible to draw a link between greenhouse gas emissions and distant observations on species."

This moron speaketh nonsense even as the Polar Bear fights for its life on the melting Arctic ice! This moron underplays the onslaught of global warming which is knocking on the world's door in order to allow his cronies to pile up the cash in their vaults! This moron, who is responsible for ensuring an environment (including the various species) survive for our children and grandchildren, wants to allow the destruction of that very environment.

Again from Time: "It's ironic that such a proposal should be made just when millions of Americans are worrying about, and acting on, the most pressing environmental challenge they will ever face--climate change. ...

"... it's hard to avoid the conclusion that with less than six months in office, the Bush Administration is set on dismantling some established environmental protections while it has the chance. Like a forest lost to arson, the damage could take years to repair."

If it can ever be repaired. Once a species becomes extinct, the species is "non-repairable" - forever!

Is there no way to stop these criminals who occupy the highest offices of our land?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The last sentence is so sad! There is apparently no way to stop these things from happening unless both Houses of Congress can convince the man in charge to stop. Time is wasting. If the administration is wrong, their kids and ours will not be able to reverse climate change! Money will not help. the risks are so high it is a wonder that people are willing to bet their grandchildren's lives.
Bob Poris

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