by PAT MURPHY
collection of corporate scoundrels created personal fortunes by cooking
their company books. Now, oil refineries and electric utilities have the
White House nod to legally cook the environment, in a manner of
speaking, to increase their profits.
congressional elections out of the way, President Bush is risk-free to
uncork his plan for relaxing environmental rules.
cynical is this policy? The White House arranged for a low level
Environmental Protection Agency official to make the announcement while
headlines concentrated on the president’s NATO meeting in Europe; EPA
administrator Christie Whitman ducked the session to avoid answering
questions, and cameras weren’t allowed.
classic Bush doublespeak, the EPA insists that looser controls
eventually will encourage improved air quality. Americans with memories
know better: only after industry was dragged into complying with stiff
new laws did air and water quality improve.
Bush’s callousness about the environment is notorious. He abandoned
the Kyoto treaty on global warming, insisting he wants "sound
science" to prove global warming (although he rejected EPA research
about global warming as the suspect work of "bureaucrats").
is, Bush is repaying political benefactors in industry by sparing them
the inconvenience of protecting the environment.
EPA relaxes air quality for utilities and refineries, a new two-year
study by researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the
U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Washington and the U.S.
Department of Energy predicts dark days in western states for the next
25 to 50 years because of global warming.
predicts reduced snow packs; shrinking reservoir levels in the Colorado,
Sacramento and Columbia river basins, and 40 percent less
hydropower—all while exploding populations use more water. Note to
Idaho: the study forecasts not enough water available for more people
and salmon at the same time.
sounds like the "sound science" Bush demands. It’ll be
published in the journal, Climatic Change.
as Bill Clinton quibbled over the meaning of "is" when
questioned under oath about his Monica Lewinsky peccadillo, Bush and his
advisers—all archenemies of environmental laws and willing to shade
the truth about industrial damage to air and water—have their own
convenient idea of "sound science."
Bush denies the existence of global warming, some corporate sharpies
anticipate water shortages due to warming: companies are leaping into
the hot new growth industry of privatizing water supplies.
buying private water rights against the day that demand for drinking and
cooking water will be so intense that one of humankind’s basic
commodities will generate new fortunes for those who control the
mid-21st century spectacle: families at the mercy of
corporations doling out dwindling water supplies at profits that keep
Wall Street beaming.
of course, President Bush and his cronies will be gone and won’t care
whether they were right or wrong when they belittled global warming.
grandchildren will be left to write the history of how America’s 43rd
president gambled on global warming and whether the country won or lost.
Daschle once again proves he should be dumped as Democratic leader of
the U.S. Senate.
eve of returning the Senate to Republican control, what’s Daschle’s
important parting thought? Whining that mouthy radio talker and GOP
shill Rush Limbaugh’s party line rants lead to threats against
not the message that Democrats complained they want to deliver to
recapture public support. Daschle’s whimpering simply fueled Limbaugh’s
appetite for more belittling tirades.
has become the Democratic equivalent of Republican Newt Gingrich, whose
downfall as House Speaker began after he whined like a spoiled brat that
President Clinton made him sit in the rear of Air Force One.