W Vs. The Environment

"We need an energy bill that encourages consumption."
-George W. Bush in a speech on September 23, 2002.

Bush is winning. He's winning the duel by a large, large margin. And I'm not going to recap that margin play-by-play. That information is everywhere and fairly unexciting. Rather, I'm going to try to be fairly concise. This will be difficult due to Bush's long resume, but we'll see what I can do.

Bush became president. His first little batch of moves looked like this... First political move: push for oil development in national wildlife refuges. Weird. This was followed by attempts to increase the amount of pollution cars emit by countering Clinton's soon-to-take-effect laws regarding diesel emission standards. Then he backed down on the one big environmental promise he made during his campaign: his promise to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, being as it was the primary cause of global warming. Not too long after, this promise was publicly abandoned in its entirety.

Days later, Bush publicly announced that he would uphold Clinton's preservation laws of national forests- yay! But then immediately began industrial expansion into those exact forests in secrecy. The secret got out, and he received well over a million protest letter. He then carried on the industrialization of those national forests as if it were still a secret. He's a felon with an eye for wood- don't waste your time with the letters. More days later, the administration settled on a lawsuit regarding their choice to ignore information and twist data regarding the overuse of pesticides.

A few more days later, Bush upped the industrial production and associated waste. He did this by withdrawing standards on pollutants in drinking water, allowing a greater level of harmful toxins to be poured into our glasses. And a few more days later, Bush rejected the Kyoto Protocol. This was the international treaty aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Out of the 9 most industrialized nations in the world, Bush's decision made the U.S. the only one that didn't support it. Yay! When questioned about this quirky decision, Bush said this: "We would not accept a treaty that would not have been ratified, nor a treaty that I thought made sense for the country." He would not accept a treaty that he thought made sense for the country. Call it misspeaking, blame it on his inability to articulate sentences, but look at the facts too. We need this for the health of the globe- everyone else in the world seems to know this perfectly well, and Bush stood alone in opposition so that a few industrial friends could profit slightly more. There's no counter to the argument that Bush turned his back on the environmental policies supported by everyone else in the world, so that he could give his friends some money.

Shortly after shocking and/or mortifying the entire world with this one, Bush kept on pace by failing to protect endangered species and undermining the Clean Water Act protections. And this brings us to his first 100 days in office.

And this 100 day mark must have somehow built political capital, because immediately after, Cheney was addressing to the nation how we needed to increase America's production and reliance on fossil fuels. The word "need" was used. We need to use more fossil fuels.

Now this is probably a good time to bring up Cheney's "Energy Task Force." This mysterious organization is believed to be affiliated with plenty of these environmental changes. I say "mysterious" and "believed to be" for the same reason: Cheney refused to say who was affiliated, even when asked by the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court asked him that question specifically, and he refused to answer. Is this not weird to you? Clinton was misleading about an affair that had nothing to do with the nation in court and the Republican party broadcast it to the world. Cheney's put before the United States Supreme Court regarding his Energy Task Force, a national scandal that's taking money from you and everyone you know- he won't even give the courtesy of a fake answer. He gives nothing. This is weird. I just want to let you know that.

Okay, back to the environment. Bush gets back to business attacking our drinking water, and then shortly after, he's being criticized for global warming and further weakening of the environment in order to pay off members of Cheney's task force. This criticism soon escalated into lawsuits. So what does Bush do in the midst of an energy scandal? He makes a public appearance at the Department of Energy. The Bush supporters loved it, everyone else in the world was offended beyond words. I thought it was funny. It's so ridiculous it can't not be funny.

What's funnier, is that Bush actually took advantage of the global warming accusations as well. This is clever. He did this by addressing to the nation what he planned to do to counter this global warming problem. The nation began to focus on this plan, and meanwhile, the Bush administration was pressing for weakened air pollution laws for power plants. He was able to do this because he just addressed his plan to counter global warming and people weren't expecting it. Furthermore, he took advantage of the nation's diverted attention to synergistically attack wildlife on federally protected land. Yay!

And this brings us to the four-month-mark in Bush's first term in office. Realize this goes on for 8 years. That's 96 months and we've only covered 4. Considering the fact that his pace doesn't slow down, I'm not writing the rest. If you want to, look it up yourself- the information is everywhere. I just wanted to clarify the pace at which our environment is deteriorating. It's borderline irreversible now. If you have young kids, thank Bush for their youthful deaths via the forthcoming uninhabitable earth. I don't think of myself as the biggest environmentalist in the world, but I do consider myself somewhat of a realist, and realistically, if we don't get some green party members into the presidency, we're all going to die.

So the question you should rightfully be asking now, is this: if his environmental record is legitimately this bad, how could he possibly have gotten away with it?

Your answer comes via many paths. Presenting misinterpreted information is one. And it's a big one. Whether it's on purpose or not is hard to prove, but the volume and degree of misinterpretations is staggering, so either they're horrifically mentally disabled, or they have an agenda. Granted the misinterpretations only happen when they've actually acknowledged the scientific data at all. Often times they've ignored it completely or censored it such that nobody gets to know what it once said. Another sweet, sweet move they've pulled is the removal of independent people from the federal advisory panels. They've done this on numerous occasions such that there's no opposition to the agenda. It's very unethically clever. And by all of these means, the Bush administration has undermined science in order to overpower the environment with industry. The records of this are vast and clear, and therefore undebatable. Look it up yourself.

Now in the spirit of saving the best for last, my favorite technique to disguise a political agenda is the art of hugely deceptive naming. Here, they take policies and call them something that makes it sound vastly different than what it actually is. "All Sun Reforestation." "Clear-Skies Initiative." "Clear-Water Initiative." Names like this. These sound environmentally friendly. These are in no way environmentally friendly. They're actually horrifically devastating to the environment. But nobody actually knows that. They're only given the amazingly absurd titles. And we're all for forests, and clear skies and water. So we all agree with the initiatives for clear skies and water and the sunny forest one. But lets take a gander into what these fantastic sounding things are actually doing.

All Sun Reforestation means you remove every piece of thing from the entirety of the forests. You do not leave a single piece of plant-life. You completely wipe out entire forests, and often federally protected ones. This way, when you throw some seeds out on the now bare wastelands upon completion, nothing will cast any shade on them. There is not one piece of vegetation left, not one botanical anything to create an inch of shade. This way those seeds can have all the sun they want. Hence, All Sun Reforestation.

How about the Clear-Skies Initiative? Effectively what this one does is remove laws regarding air pollution. The name implies the exact opposite of what it does. At least All Sun Reforestation made sense, this one is pure deception. The Clear Skies Initiative allows the industries that funded Bush's presidency to essentially pollute as much as they feel fit. They no longer have to abide by strict pollution limits. If this lasts, the whole world will breathe like Detroit. I think the Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), summarized the Clear-Skies Initiative most accurately. "This is clear propaganda." (October 15, 2003). Short, honest, and direct. And because I don't have a better sentence, I'm moving right along.

Moving along to the Clear-Water Initiative. You should already be able to guess what this one does. It's the same exact thing but at sea level. Oceans, lakes, rivers, our drinking water, any water will do so long as you remove the pollution limits. We now get to dump countless tons of toxic waste into the world's water supply as long as it gives the Bush-funding industries a chance to make some more money. And when we label it the "Clear-Water Initiative," it doesn't sound too full of disgusting misery while it's being passed.

And all along the way, they further the damage of the initiative with that blatant disregard for science we talked about. I'll do the honors of giving you specifics.

In September 2002, perchlorate, a toxic rocket fuel ingredient, began to be researched, as it was being dumped into drinking water in excessive quantities. However, the government scientific journal that was researching perchlorate had the information regarding the dangers of its ingestion removed. Weird. What's weirder, is that this removal was completed by a group funded by the industry dealing with perchlorate. Weirder. So people profiting off the ability to pollute in your drinking water paid to have information concerning your health removed from a government journal.

Now, at this time, people obviously began protesting agenda-based issues. Not necessarily just the perchlorate thing, but it was certainly one of them. So later in that same month, the Bush administration replaced officials and whole committees from the Department of Health and Services with people who were financially backed by the exact industries that were being regulated by the laws they were covering up. Weirder still. So now independent people were out of a good chunk of the decision making.

Then less than a month later, the Bush administration rejected renowned independent scientists for service on a Centers for Disease Control federal advisory committee, and instead replaced them with people, again, from the industry the pollution issues are coming from. And again, more independent people removed from the decision making.

By mid-January, 2003, they declared that the drinking water, which had 1200% greater contamination than was legal of the pesticide, atrazine, was safe. It's not safe according to actual science. Science says it gives you cancer like crazy. Nonetheless, it was declared safe according to the non-independent industry-backed groups. We're growing increasingly sketchy here.

If this wasn't enough, in April, the Bush administration put a gag order on EPA officials from publicly discussing perchlorate at all. Obviously it's a massive problem. So instead of addressing it, and possibly curbing the issue and the income of the industry, we'll silence any discussion about it. Wow.

And then remember the pesticide-cancer issue? The atrazine problem? In October, 2003, the EPA not only declined a restriction on its use, but also reduced the amount that it was monitoring it altogether.

By March of 2004, the quality of our drinking water was already ridiculous and the EPA was furthering their weakening of restrictions. This was made known more blatantly when the inspector general reported that agency officials were repeatedly making misleading statements about the quality of the drinking water.

Mid August, the Bush administration was turning down petitions regarding beryllium, which also gives you cancer. And late August, the Bush squad relaxed their safety standards on excess toxin levels again, this time selenium.

Then we're back to the industry-funded groups, and this time they downgraded the cancer-acquiring likelihood of another substance (captan) from "probable" to "not likely." Why did they do this? Mankind didn't develop a sudden immunity to it, I promise. Rather, the exact industries that fund the groups who made this change, make money via the ability to pollute this specific substance.

Then around the turn into Bush's second term, a national report., ordered by the Bush crew, concluded that it was safe for people to drink water with 20 times the perchlorate content than the previous maximum established by the EPA two years prior. Again, humans didn't develop a resistance to it over those two years. This was just the next step made by those who were paid to do so. This change, the missing information from the government journals, the gag orders and so on. It's all for money.

And it goes on, but we would have a whole second term to discuss if we kept going, and that would be heavily unexciting. So we're going to stop now. We'll stop with the knowledge that your drinking water is progressively becoming more disease ridden at the expense of greater industrial income. But these little tricks aren't even the big-ticket-items. These are just little mini-acts they were pulling to duck accountability on issues associated with the Clear Water Initiative. The big ticket item is the Clear Water Initiative, where the actual waste-dumping into virtually any source of water becomes legally ill-monitored. And it's not just water. The water issues are one tiny piece of the big picture. The air, forests, wildlife, and so on are all hugely sacrificed as well.

There is literally no end to this. There is no end to the environmental destruction this administration is causing. All of that was just your drinking water, which is a diminutive part of the environmental issues as a whole. The rest of it is actually even more ridiculous. Like this, in April 2004, the pesticide industry was given clearance to block regulatory initiatives that protected children and wildlife from unintentionally ingesting rat poison. Or in August that year when a rule was established that allows industries the ability to treat toxin-laden towels as laundry, as opposed to hazardous waste.

In conclusion, I don't know what to say. You don't have to be an environmentalist to be nauseated by the degree we have devastated the environment via the dirty hand of politics. You just have to be not a moron. And I'm not telling you to save cups more in hopes to compensate. I Just prefer we all understand what's going on.

Helpful sources: BushGreenwatch, NRDC.org

The second Bush quote came from the Washington Post on April 24, 2001.