City of Roses
There's no question that the Bush Administration is the worst environmental administration in our nation's history.
73% of Americans have said in a last major survey that the environment is a major issue to them and must be protected. And while about 3/4 of Americans embrace Mother Nature, she has been choking under this Administration.
Three times the level of mercury is being released into the atmosphere from coal-burning power plants. In result, almost half of Americans, 130 million, are exposed to unhealthy air pollution levels. In result of this, premature deaths caused from pollution by coal-burning power plants have risen 24,000. As much as 16% of women of child-bearing age now, in fact, have blood mercury levels such that their fetuses may experience mercury levels in the womb at levels higher than what the EPA considers safe. They have rolled back many Clean Air Act protections and their so-called "Clear Skies" initiative is nothing but one of those Orwellian euphemisms which, in contrast to its pleasant-sounding name, has now allowed twice as much sulfur dioxide, one-and-a-half times as much nitrogen oxide, and as up to five times as much mercury up till 2018, into our skies.
In addition, this act has let corporate polluters off the hook in weakening "new source review" program requirements, allowing them to increase emissions without following any pollution control requirements.
What affects our air also affects our water dramatically. Mercury is emptying into our waters. Studies have detected over 5 million acres of polluted lakes. 218 million Americans are living within 10 miles of these lakes and streams. 300,000 miles of polluted streams and shorelines have been researched, and among them, 49% of estuary land and 61% of rivers and streams are unsafe for fishing.
Now, after six administrations with the much-loved Clean Water Act, the Bush Administration has approved big bucks and profit over health for everyone. 20 million acres of wetlands that Bush claimed he is protecting have lost protection from industrial pollution or unlawful development. In California, they have allowed 36 sites to start oil-drilling despite the objections of state officials. Logging in the West Everglades has now been permitted.
Once again, the winners are the polluters. Factory farms have been allowed to write their own pollution laws that the public and the EPA don't know about, and demand that factory farms monitor groundwater for contamination on routine. A quarter of the largest industrial plants violate Clean Water Act standards, yet few get penalized. Since Bush first took office, formal enforcement actions by the EPA under the Clean Water Act declined by 45 percent.
Same goes for environmental enforcement. New civil pollution enforcement cases referred by the EPA for federal prosecution are down by more than 25 percent since the start of the Bush administration, and new criminal referrals are down by more than 40 percent. Civil penalties assessed in fiscal years 2001 and 2002 declined by $35 million (14 percent), compared with the last two years of the Clinton administration, and criminal penalties dropped by $27 million (15 percent). Bush has reduced the EPA staff by 210. In fiscal year 2002, the EPA conducted 2,700 (13 percent) fewer inspections to detect violations of environmental laws, compared with those that occurred in 2000.
In result, the EPA is experiencing management and funding defiencies and are struggling to afford tackling major environmental crimes.
Deforestation is prominent, and our last remaining old-growth forests are in danger. The Bush Administration has even exempted the Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, allowing commerical logging in previously "roadless" wilderness areas. Nine million acres that make up one of the largest forests in North America is endangered because of this, and 100-year sequoias are being cut down in the Sequoia National Monument.
Being a great lover and believer of the environment, I could go on and on and on and on and on about the terrifying environmental record of this Administration.
And, despite all the obvious signs of environmental degradation, Bush has successfully been able to deceive the public in saying his so-called "Clean Skies" plan has cut air pollution by 70 percent, and Bush has refused to listen to EPA's alternative suggestions of reducing emissions at an only slightly-higher cost.
Bush has successfully been able to label the time frame of October 18, 2002-October 17, 2003 as, "The Year of Clean Water," when in fact he's secretly been undermining the Clean Water Act by curtailing environmental inspections, etc.
Bush has successfully been able to claimed a record number of enforcement cases were initiated in 2002, while more than a fourth of these cases were anti-terrorism efforts not related to suspected environmental crimes, and four-fifths of the original EPA staff have vanished.
I mus be one of the most upset tree-huggers right now, and I am sure so many of these 73% of Americans feel likewise. And to see that the environment was never even mentioned as a question in the domestic policies debate, is saddening to me.
I can guarantee Kerry will do better on the environment if elected. ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE IT! No doubt whatsoever. Health care and the economy too. On the other issues, I wouldn't say it's a guarantee, but in all, proven Kerry's acclaimed environmental record by many environmental organizations, including a 93% grade from the League of Conservation Voters and the fact the Sierra Club awarded Kerry with an endorsement, the first time they have ever endorsed a presidential candidate since political conventions ever started, Kerry could not possibly do worse than Bush has on this particular issue.
"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20