Friday, September 28, 2007

Woo ah, mercy mercy me, Ah things ain't what they used to be, no no, Where did all the blue skies go?

When scientific knowledge has been found to be in conflict with its political goals, the administration has often manipulated the process through which science enters into its decisions.
-- excerpted from a letter signed on February 18, 2004 by more than 60 leading scientists, including Nobel laureates, medical experts, and former federal agency directors, voicing their concern over the misuse of science by the Bush administration.
WASHINGTON - "Myth: The president refuses to admit that climate change is real and that humans are a factor. Myth: The U.S. is doing nothing to address climate change. Myth: The United States refuses to engage internationally."
So begins a hand-sized handout, easy for reporters to pocket, issued at the State Department where President Bush on Friday was to cap two days of talks at a White House-sponsored climate change conference that is as much about salesmanship as it is about diplomacy.

Actually, it's more about bullshit. Despite the apparent attempt by Iron Eyes Bush during his waning days in office to whitewash his legacy, his pretending to care about the environment only rings hollow, and most look on with skepticism that nothing more will come of the U.S. portion of the upcoming global climate conference other than presentations, organizing groups to study and discuss the issues and overall faux proactiveness. Kind of like the co-worker who all day just shifts piles of papers from one side of his desk to the other pretending to be busy.

It's hard to take the words "Bush" and "environment" without laughing out loud given his track record. But don't take my word for it. Here's an excerpt from the Wilderness Society's website:

By and large, the Bush administration has shown less legitimate interest in environmental protection. On issue after issue, the president and his appointees have created new threats to our air, water, land, and wildlife, siding with those special interests eager to make a quick profit. A large percentage of the president's appointees represented those interests before taking office. It is up to the American people and their representatives in Congress to turn back the administration's efforts to undermine environmental protection.

[...]One modus operandi for the Bush administration is "sue and settle." An industry or other special interest files a lawsuit challenging a federal action (such as the snowmobile phase-out for Yellowstone), and then the administration settles the lawsuit on terms favorable to the plaintiff. Among other things, this m.o. enables the administration to bypass Congress.

Another common thread is the Bush administration's proclivity for ignoring or misstating the findings of the scientific community. [...]

Then-Interior Secretary Norton told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that she supported its wetlands proposals—but failed to pass along criticism from biologists at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. She gave inaccurate testimony to Congress on caribou calving facts, later claiming she fell victim to a typo. When the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) issued a report concluding that Arctic Refuge drilling would, in fact, harm caribou and other wildlife, the administration directed other employees to produce a different forecast and gave them ten days to do so.

[...]The only voices that this administration wants to listen to are those pushing for exploitation of our natural resources.

Concealment of documents from the public is yet another way that the administration pursues its agenda. Again and again, federal agencies are refusing to allow the public access to decision documents and reports that form the background and rationale for decisions impacting federal lands.

[...]Mr. Bush once told reporters recently that he'd read Edmund Morris's latest Theodore Roosevelt biography and was a great admirer of the 26th president. We urge him to emulate the man who, more than any other Republican, established the GOP as a party committed to conservation. Right now, the contrast between these two presidents on land conservation could not be starker. Roosevelt started the National Wildlife Refuge System; Bush wants to allow oil drilling in the most spectacular refuge. Roosevelt protected a number of the areas in our National Park System; Bush is fighting Park Service efforts to temper off-road vehicle traffic. Roosevelt greatly expanded the National Forest System; Bush is undermining protection of pristine portions of those forests. Roosevelt was the first to create national monuments by using the Antiquities Act; Bush is trying to weaken protection of the monuments created during the past five years. In each of the four systems of public lands, then, Bush's record is the polar opposite of Roosevelt's.
I'm sure if conservationalist and nature-lover Roosevelt were here to come face-to-face with Bush, he'd know just what to do with that big stick he carried.

[graphics by Dancin' Dave]