Read All About It

Just so you know what my job as editor of E is like, this week"s column consists of brief excerpts from just a day or two of the anti-Bush press releases, op-eds and news stories that cross my desk. As many commentators have pointed out, the Bush environmental policy is rarely fully visible. To understand all its scorched-earth implications, you have to read the fine print in thick government regulations, Presidential orders and agency filings. But poring over that material is exactly what some of our dedicated environmentalists do, with the results you see below.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of green groups, few of these analyses actually reaches the public, which gets most of its environmental information from quick television news summaries, fact-free radio talk shows and Internet hits. While most independent sources would say that the Bush administration is failing to act on global warming, the President"s website offers these reassuring words: "The President is implementing a comprehensive global climate change strategy that is science-based, encourages innovation through the development of cutting-edge energy technologies, and takes advantage of the power of markets."

So here"s a look at the Bush administration"s actual on-the-ground policies, culled from the relentless electronic assault that often turns my happy smile into a frown by the end of the day.

NEW YORK—This week the GOP approved its environmental and energy platforms—an elaborately worded facade concealing plans for another four years of corporate giveaways at the expense of our health, safety and environment.While the platform is full of sugarcoated phrases and cynical lip service, the real record of the two oilmen heading up the GOP ticket reflects the corporate polluters and other special interests, like Halliburton, who stand to benefit tremendously from the Bush energy policy.

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New York, NY—By placing most of the 2002 Farm Bill"s economic and conservation funding in the hands of immense industrial farms, Bush Administration farm policy is forging two rural Americas: one a fading sect of traditional family farmers with little funding and a diminishing supply of land, and the other a small but wealthy agribusiness elite driven by taxpayer-funded incentives.

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WASHINGTON, D.C.///NEWS ADVISORY///Several dozen points along the 1,200-mile route of the Appalachian Trail (AT) will be endangered by the Bush Administration’s plans to roll back the roadless forest rule that could permit the clear cutting of wooded areas adjacent to or nearby the AT, according to a detailed analysis to be released on August 31, 2004 by the Campaign to Protect America"s Lands.

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The outcome of the transatlantic trade dispute on genetically modified (GM) foods has been substantially delayed as scientists are called in to debate the safety of GM foods and crops. The move is a blow to the Bush Administration, which fought to stop any debate over scientific safety.

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Newly released plans supported by the Bush administration for more than six million acres of environmentally sensitive areas in Utah, Wyoming, Montana and New Mexico open up more than 80 percent of those lands to oil and gas development, according to a new analysis by The Wilderness Society.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ignoring the expressed concerns of citizens groups, including Public Citizen and the Washington, D.C.-based Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) today published in the Federal Register its final policy statement on the issue of environmental justice. The Bush administration"s NRC has bowed to industry pressure to inexorably weaken its ability to ensure that its licensing actions are fair, just and free of economic and racial discrimination, NIRS and Public Citizen said today.

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As America"s waters get more contaminated, the Bush administration continues dragging its feet, even endorsing a plan that would delay cleaning up mercury emissions from power plants for at least a decade and setting targets so weak that the industry will be allowed to emit three times more mercury after 2018.

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The Bush administration, critics say, has taken advantage of the public"s distraction since 9/11 to govern via regulatory initiatives and rollbacks—which, unlike new laws, do not require congressional approval.Pro-business measures enacted by the Bushies include a rule allowing Forest Service managers to circumvent environmental reviews on logging projects and the rollback of new-source review rules for power plants.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is still misleading consumers with incorrect information posted on its website and in its publicity materials about irradiated meat in the National School Lunch Program, despite repeated efforts by Public Citizen to fix the factual errors, according to a letter sent today by the consumer advocacy group to the Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services at USDA.

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New York, NY—Nevada Attorney General Brian Sandoval has made it clear that Bush"s plan for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump is not based on sound science and makes the nation more vulnerable to terrorists. So why was Sandoval stumping on behalf of the President at the GOP convention? "We"ll agree to disagree on that issue," Sandoval told reporters. But that explanation makes little sense to Americans concerned about deadly nuclear material falling into the wrong hands.

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New York, NY: While friends of the Bush administration invoke the heroes of September 11, 2001 at the Republican National Convention, it is likely they will not discuss how President Bush mishandled the cleanup and misled the public about the safety of Ground Zero. Rescue and cleanup workers, area employees, volunteers, and residents were told the Ground Zero area was safe when administration experts knew the pollution was harmful. And now the Bush administration is turning the failures in the aftermath of 9/11 into official policy for handling future emergencies or attacks.

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