FALL 2008

 

FALL 2008 FULL ISSUE

PUSHBACK: HOW BUSH LOST HIS WAR ON THE ENVIRONMENT

By PAUL KOBERSTEIN

History is certain to judge the Bush years as a disaster for the nation's - and the planet's – environment. But as his second term winds down, it's worth noting that ancient forests in the Pacific Northwest are still standing, despite the administration's vigorous efforts to help timber companies cut them down, and thanks to countless citizens who stood in the way.

The administration's approach to nature has been driven by two myths: what's good for industry is good for the environment, and the extent of our resources is without limit. But there is much work to do. For the last eight years, Bush has been at war with the planet's complex and fragile life-sustaining systems in his rush to aid industry.

Aside from his last-gasp attempt to gut the house on his way out (see story page 4), Bush has lost his war on the environment. Witness the fact that the ancient forests are still standing, despite almost eight years of concerted efforts to liquidate them. A broad campaign to suppress science and intimidate scientists has been exposed, and  administration officials have been  forced to reverse several unlawful  decisions. Many more decisions arc under investigation by Congress, the courts and independent government watchdogs. The clock will soon run out, leaving behind a mangled mess that the next president should be able to fix.

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Paul Koberstein