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After Earth Day, Mother Nature Beckons Bush
April 24, 2001
by B.A.E.

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Many people dread holidays because they know they will find themselves alone, outcast in a world full of people celebrating a special event. Until now, Earth Day was not known to cause this kind of dread in anybody. But now Earth Day 2001 has come and gone, and we find ROTUS in a state of panic. The White House Office of Damage Control (ODC) is desperately seeking ways to change the image of their boy, Shrub, from that of a complete, total, outright, unconditional, full-fledged, through-and-through Enemy of the Environment.

In less than four months, Shrub's moves against the environment have been so nakedly aggressive that the effort to create an exact opposite image in just a few days is quite a challenge for the ODC. Not helping the cause is Shrub's abysmal environmental track record in Texas. Since leaving Texas, Shrub has pushed for drilling in ANWR by talking up an energy crisis (even as he talked down the economy) and playing up the stereotype of Arabs and other foreign oil producers out to "control the US" through the viscous black gold. Why should US consumers pay foreign companies for oil when they can pay the same jacked-up prices to American companies.

Oil is also apparently thicker than blood. Or is it? Shrub gave the go-ahead to drill in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida's coast despite opposition from his brother, the governor. This tweak at Jeb is all the more astounding because without Jeb's supreme efforts, Shrub would likely be back in Texas not commuting death sentences, not cleaning up the environment, and not helping the state return to fiscal health after two huge tax cuts left crushing budget shortfalls. Jeb must be very disappointed that he must settle for watching this exploitation of the Gulf enrich his family's oil interests.

Then, of course, there's Shrub's claim that reducing arsenic in drinking water to 10 parts per billion is "unscientific" and "too expensive." The greenhouse gas limitations in the Kyoto Treaty are also "unscientific" and "too expensive." As if this wasn't enough to establish Shrub as Earth Enemy #1, he also did a 180 on his own campaign promise to support limits on CO2 emissions. To Shrub, science and partisanship go hand in hand. If science supports his friends it's good, otherwise, it's bad.

In terms of expense, it is true that the cost to industry of lowering arsenic and greenhouse gas levels is higher than the amount of their donations to Shrub's campaign and post-installation festivities combined.

So Little Time, So Much Spin

Even though Shrub backpedaled on his idea to feed irradiated beef to our kids, the ODC is clearly not resting on that particular laurel to show how great he is for the environment. The ODC's ambitionless goal is to have Shrub appear "green enough" for those ordinary Americans who aren't paying attention to what he actually does (i.e., the gullible "swing" voters who, with the radical right plus and buttinsky justistas voted for Shrub.) So this past week, ROTUS has been busy, busy, busy. At an elaborate ceremony on the White House lawn, with Whitman and Colin Powell in tow, ROTUS signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which the Wall Street Journal, of all newspapers called "a relatively minor treaty."

The right-wing press, it appears, has no problem here. The treaty has the backing of environmentalists and, significantly, of the chemical industry. No conflict of industry there. Plus, the twelve toxic chemicals banned by the treaty are already banned in the US and other developed nations. Even better, the treaty does not go into effect until four or five years after it's approved. So there will be no chance for the good ol' chemical boys to complain to Shrub if they then decide the treaty is "unscientific" and too expensive to implement.

The ODC has also decided to take the unprecedented step of letting two whole Clinton administration environmental rules in effect. Shrub is ballyhooing his support for a Clinton rule that sets aside thousands of acres of wetlands and closes a loophole in the Clean Water Act that was favorable to the construction industry. Of course, how effective this rule will be depends entirely on how much scrutiny those big, bad construction boys come under from Christie Whitman's EPA and on how vigorously John Ashcroft's justice department defends the government in the construction industry's lawsuit over this rule.

Shrub is also busy tooting his own horn because the ODC has allowed him to uphold a Clinton rule slashing factory emissions levels that trigger reporting requirements, which expands the number of companies that now have to report lead emissions. Of course, how effective this rule will be depends entirely on how much scrutiny those big, bad lead-producing factory owners come under from Christie Whitman's EPA and on how vigorously John Ashcroft's justice department defends the government in the industry lawsuit over this rule.

One would think that Mother Nature would have had it with Shrub by now. His last name must be an even further affront to her sensibilities. Why hasn't Mother Nature just swallowed him up to save herself? The truth is, she'd probably have to spit him back out again.

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