Posted by Sadie from ? (22.214.171.124) on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 at 11:30AM :
In Reply to: Re: Global Fresh Water Supply Crisis info posted by Iraqi Panch from ? (126.96.36.199) on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 at 11:15AM :
&, furthermore, I'd like to declare my undying love for Greenpeace. Seriously: they are so wonderful, it makes me weep to think that they exist.
April 22, 2003
Administration Has Declared War on the Environment
by John Passacantando
As we celebrate the 33rd anniversary of Earth Day, Americans should be proud for many reasons.
We live in the country that created the very idea of national parks, as well as a myriad of environmental protections to ensure our access to clean air, water and food. We cherish and find respite in the beauty of our vast land from coast to coast.
Why, then, is the Bush administration systematically dismantling the laws designed to protect the health of the environment and of all Americans? How can this unraveling of rights occur in our country while the administration claims to promote freedom and democracy abroad?
It is this disconnect between President Bush's rhetoric regarding the Middle East and his lack of efforts to protect our citizens at home that has created his greatest credibility gap. A quick review of recent policy changes points to the staggering -- and dangerous -- nature of the environmental rollbacks put in place by this administration.
Take air pollution. Just as some of the nation's oldest and dirtiest power plants were about to be forced to reduce the amount of pollutants they emit, the Bush administration let them off the hook with a deceiving piece of legalese called the Clear Skies Initiative.
What about our pristine national forests? In the name of ''healthy forests'' and ''fire prevention,'' the Forest Service has proposed nearly unlimited clear-cutting of forests. Long-standing mandates for public input and environmental review would be eliminated.
Isn't clean water a necessity? Yet the Environmental Protection Agency has announced plans to reduce the number of wetlands and waterways protected by the Clean Water Act. This came on the heels of an earlier announcement that would essentially overlook the immense water pollution problems caused by millions of tons of untreated animal waste being poured into our waterways and drinking water from big factory farms.
Even whales are at risk. The Bush administration has proposed exemptions for the Department of Defense that will allow continued use of the Navy's new low-frequency sonar that can kill marine mammals by shattering their eardrums.
And though there is plenty of talk about homeland security, the Bush administration has blocked efforts that would require thousands of chemical and nuclear plants to become more secure.
Furthermore, while President Bush openly worries about instability in the Middle East, all measures to make the U.S. less dependent on oil -- for example, through increased auto fuel efficiency or the Kyoto Protocol -- have been stopped dead in their tracks.
So why aren't we all well aware of this war being waged against the environment?
Federal agencies with authority over environmental programs are working in a coordinated effort to help oil, coal, logging, mining, chemical and auto companies promote their short-term profits at the expense of our health and our public lands.
The bitter irony of this administration is that the patriotic language it has used to wage war on another nation seems desperately out of place here at home.
Our water, food, forests, air and oceans are at risk.
In turn, so are the futures of our families, our livelihoods and our personal health. In its efforts to promote a brighter horizon for those suffering abroad, the Bush administration should take a look first in its own backyard. What better day than Earth Day?
John Passacantando is the executive director of Greenpeace USA in Washington, D.C.
©2003 Greenpeace USA
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