Saturday, January 24, 2009

Farewell Kisses From George W. Bush

The lede:

President Barack Obama has promised change for America, but when it comes to environmental regulations, he's still in the grip of yesterday. In his last few months in office, former President George W. Bush's Administration pushed through over 150 "midnight regulations," many of them weakening existing environmental protections. Although Obama is now in charge, most of Bush's new rules are on the books, and changing them will take time and effort from an already burdened White House. "The Obama Administration will be saddled with reversing harmful Bush rules at the same time that Obama wants to enact his own agenda," says John Walke, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Some of the rules can be stopped or countermanded fairly easily (and already have been), where the Bushies missed a key deadline on getting the paperwork in order. Most, though, not so much. Among the ones that'll have to be dug out:

They include regulations that allow mountaintop-removal mining projects to pollute streambeds with leftover dirt, and a Bush move to begin to permit drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf. Worse, they also include a drastic weakening of the Endangered Species Act, allowing federal agencies to bypass expert advice from federal scientists on whether proposed projects would have an impact on endangered species, essentially cutting the heart out of the act. "The number of regulations where the Bush Administration succeeded far outnumbered the ones where they failed," says Walke.

The rest.

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