of Crimes Against the Planet
July 25, 2001
As the days have turned to months this "administration"
has compiled a devastating record on the environment. The
American public is not happy and a majority clearly disapproves
of their policies. There is a growing realization that this
"administration" represents corporations over people. Quid
pro quo and the payback of political donors are a big factor
behind this pResident's motives and decisions, but I'm afraid
this only tells part of the story. Their appalling record
leads me to level a rather damning charge against this "administration"
- they have mounted a planned attack on planet Earth.
Exhibit A consists of the horrendous list of nominees that
they have chosen to be our environmental "caretakers". I will
never forget what I was doing when I heard of the nomination
of Gale Norton to head the Department of Interior. The chilling
reality sunk in when I reviewed her background. They chose
a person who had devoted most of her career to the gutting
of our most cherished environmental laws. The Endangered Species
Act is one of her favorite targets. This James Watts protégé
would like to sell off our Nation's wild habitats to private
interests and open up the rest to corporate exploitation.
She once openly defended the "right" of property owners to
The pick of J. Steven Griles to be her deputy is equally
odious. His stint as the head of the Office of Surface Mining
led to a gutting of that department and it's enforcement of
the law. This lifetime mining lobbyist has also spent most
of his career pushing offshore oil drilling. If that wasn't
enough, Secretary Norton has named the head of Arctic Power
to be her special advisor to Alaska. Camden Toohey headed
this consortium of Big Oil companies whose sole purpose is
the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil
drilling. Her other choice, Drue Pearce, was one of Big Oil's
biggest backers in the Alaska Senate.
Rounding out our "moderate" choices is Mark Rey, a top lobbyist
for the timber industry, to become the USDA Undersecretary
for Natural Resources and Environment. This position oversees
the Forest Service and land conservation programs. So many
people hostile to the environment chosen to oversee it. This
is more than a mere coincidence; the administration had to
dig deep to dredge up this crew.
The National Academy of Scientists and dozens of other groups
have studied environmental problems for years. Years of work
on global warming and the health effects of arsenic in drinking
water were thrown out the window by this administration. I
guess they plan to study the issues further until they get
the results they like. Corporate "science" states that there
is no link between arsenic in drinking water and cancer, no
link between CO2 emissions and global warming. These assumptions
have been repeatedly accepted as "fact" by this pResident.
How else can you explain the idea of spending hundreds of
billions of dollars on a missile defense plan that has never
been scientifically proven to work, while ignoring the evidence
of catastrophic global warming? This hostility to reason and
real science is Exhibit B.
Listening to Bush on the campaign trail, he talked about
supporting environmental initiatives that encouraged voluntary
actions by private citizens and business. The fact that this
administration really doesn't even support THIS constitutes
Exhibit C. The budget proposed by Bush guts many programs
that reward farmers for protecting and preserving habitat
and wetlands. Cuts in the Conservation Reserve Program, Wetland
Reserve Program, and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program reveal
that they oppose even programs that encourage private citizens
to do the right thing. The most glaring example of this is
the dismantling of the plan to reintroduce the grizzly bear
to the Northern Rockies. This recovery plan was in the works
for years and was supported by the people of the area. The
plan would have been managed by local citizenry, environmental
groups, and timber companies. It was flexible and held Federal
involvement to a minimum, but even this wasn't good enough.
The administration's opposition begs the question, is there
ANY plan that protects wild creatures and their habitats that
they would support?
Whenever an environmental initiative is proposed, you can
always count on the conservatives to roll out the old argument
that it violates "property rights" or "state's rights". These
supposedly bedrock principals of the political right are used
to oppose the ESA and habitat preservation at every turn.
The reality is this "administration" does not really believe
in these principals. They are used as clubs to attempt to
smash common sense laws that protect the environment. When
these principals stand in the way of their agenda they become
The push to drill for oil in the Great Lakes and coastal
Florida is heavily opposed by those States. The State of Nevada
is very much against the Yucca nuclear waste dump, but no
worry; the administration is hell-bent on pushing these things
anyway. Their proposal to allow power companies the power
of "eminent domain" will legalize land grabs to facilitate
the building of transmission lines. Exhibit D is the abandonment
of "fundamental conservative principals" whenever they stand
in the way of their agenda.
Exhibit E is a stunning collection of broken promises and
bait and switch tactics. Promises to cut Carbon Dioxide emissions
from power plants were broken when they faced pressure from
their corporate donors. A campaign promise to fund rainforest
conservation was broken for unknown reasons. They are creating
a long record of saying they will do one thing while doing
the exact opposite behind the People's back. The quiet dismantling
of the Roadless Forest Rules are a prime example of this.
The public was told they would uphold the Rules, but they
failing to defend it in court. Meanwhile a strong effort was
made to cut the heart out of the Roadless initiative and open
these wilderness areas up to extractive industries. This bait
and switch policy was repeated with the proposed ban on jetskis
and snowmobiles in National Parks. The "administration" publicly
stated that they would support this ban, but quietly reversed
themselves when faced with opposition from the fairly impotent
snowmobile lobby. This shows that they will cave on ANY pro-environmental
regulation when told to. Any anti-environmental lobby, no
matter how small, will get their wish.
The attempt to subvert the will of the People and silence
public input on environmental policy is Exhibit F. The pResident
proposed a restructuring of how Endangered Species are listed
under the ESA. Their idea was to eliminate the ability of
the People to have a say on this issue and place sole jurisdiction
over this issue with his Secretary of Interior, a sworn enemy
of the Endangered Species Act.
President Clinton's Roadless Rules were not rushed through,
as the extreme right would tell you, but were years in the
making. Over 600 public meetings were held on the subject
and over 1.6 million comments from the public were received
(mostly in favor). Apparently this was not good enough for
the administration, as a new comment period has begun, this
time for only about two months. We've all known that what
a majority of the American People want is unimportant to this
pResident and this is a glaring example of it.
Presented with this growing body of evidence against this
administration, it is hard to believe that a reasonable jury
would not find them guilty of high crimes against the Planet.
Guilty of planning and executing a war against the Earth.