Monday, November 11, 2002
: . Earth in the Balance:
From Sound of a Tree Falling by Elizabeth Kolbert:
- During the past two years, the Bush Administration, with remarkable single-mindedness, has set about undoing more than thirty years of work to protect the nation's air, water, and shrinking wilderness. Highlights of the Administration's record, which read like a "Wish you were here" card to regulated industries, include: encouraging road-building through wildlife habitats, pushing tax cuts for energy exploration on public land, rejecting the Kyoto treaty on global warming, and devising new rules that allow mining companies to fill in valleys and streams with waste. In recent months, the Administration's anti-regulatory efforts have grown even more ambitious. Over the summer, the President unveiled his Healthy Forests Initiative, which, in spite of its cheery, public-spirited name, represents an attempt to open up more national forestland to the timber industry. Just a few weeks ago, the Administration sent representatives to climate talks in New Delhi to argue that less effort should be devoted to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and more to preparing for the floods, droughts, and pestilence that are likely to follow from that policy. Sometime very soon, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue new power-plant rules that will absolve many older, dirtier plants from having to upgrade their equipment. It is generally assumed that the Administration held off on these rules so that they would not become public before the election.