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[GreenYes] Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, Part 2 (NY Times Editorial)

To the items below add landfill deregulation,

gasification of garbage, allowing export of

toxic e-waste, and more.  Learn and take action

at the GrassRoots Recycling Network's website at

http://www.GRRN.org/subsidies/epa/index.html.

 

New York Times (Editorial)

November 2, 2002

 

UNDER THE POLITICAL RADAR 

 

Environmental issues are not resonating with

voters in this midterm election the way they

usually do. This is as much a rebuke to the

Democrats as it is a tribute to the

administration's ability to hide its assault on

the rules protecting the nation's natural

resources under the political radar.

 

According to the polls, the environment commands

voter interest about on a par with taxes, above

crime and corporate malfeasance but below the

economy, education and health care.

Environmental issues could yet make the

difference in several tight races, Colorado and

New Hampshire among them. But its national

impact is not nearly what it was in 1996, when

voters hammered Newt Gingrich and his Contract

With America Republicans for similar

transgressions - even though Mr. Bush's

indifference to the environment is every bit as

worrisome as Mr. Gingrich's.

 

There are several reasons for this. One, of

course, is the talk of war with Iraq, which has

taken the wind out of nearly everything. A

second is the miserable failure of the Democrats

to take a stand on the issue, as Bill Clinton

alertly did in 1996. One hears periodic

complaints about Mr. Bush from important members

of the Senate committee on the environment like

James Jeffords and Joseph Lieberman, but there

has been nothing resembling a sustained

Democratic counterattack.

 

Another reason is the clever way Mr. Bush has

pursued his anti-environmental agenda. Except on

the matter of global warming, when he stood up

and openly repudiated the Kyoto Protocol, the

president has stayed in the shadows - leaving it

to his cabinet officers to chip away,

administratively and in the courts, at the

various rules and regulations that his allies

and political contributors in the oil, gas,

mining, timber and other extractive industries

find so annoying.

 

These sorties have done real damage. The

Interior Department, for example, continues its

relentless search for oil and gas in places like

Utah and Wyoming without regard to the fragility

of the landscape or the niceties of the law. The

same department has reversed Clinton-era

regulations imposing stricter standards on

mining operations. The Corps of Engineers has

weakened protections for streams and wetlands.

Most of President Clinton's forest protection

program is now at risk - including his plans to

protect 60 million roadless acres from

commercial activity, to enlarge protections for

old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest and

Alaska's Tongass National Forest, and to manage

forest lands in ways that give greater weight to

environmental values.

 

Collectively, however, these actions - scattered

across government, hidden in obscure courtrooms

- have not coalesced into a decisive political

issue. There is no time to make them one before

Election Day. Still, there's a lesson here for

Democrats. Unless they start challenging Mr.

Bush's agenda in a serious, coordinated fashion,

his policies will sail on with minimum

resistance.


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