The coming attacks on the environment

Don't miss the New York Times's coverage of the administration and GOP Congress's plans for weakening and dismantling environmental policy. The article identifies several specific targets:
  1. Weakening air pollution controls. "The administration initiative known as Clear Skies, which generated lukewarm support in Congress during Mr. Bush's first term, is about to come out of mothballs.*** Clear Skies establishes lower emission standards for pollutants like nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury, but environmental groups complain that it does not reduce them as much or as soon as levels set forth in a competing bill or by enforcement of the Clean Air Act."
  2. Allowing global warming. "For now, the Bush administration has no intention of regulating the heat-trapping gases, like carbon dioxide, which scientists believe contribute to global warming."
  3. Eviscerating the Endangered Species Act. "A top priority of powerful Congressional Republicans is the 31-year-old Endangered Species Act. Representative Richard W. Pombo of California, chairman of the Committee on Resources, has made efforts to raise the hurdles that scientists must clear to ensure a government determination that a species is endangered and cut back the amount of critical habitat required. Habitat designations pave the way for land use controls."
  4. Destroying public lands for oil and gas drilling. "The energy bill will pass, [Richard W. Pombo (R-CA)] said, adding that any bill produced in the House would open 2,000 acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for energy exploration.*** Several pending actions to open up wild areas of the West to energy development could be made final in the coming weeks, touching on areas like Roan Plateau in Colorado and Otero Mesa in New Mexico."
  5. Disrupting ocean ecosystems. "[Another] priority, Mr. Pombo said, is a package of legislation dealing with ocean resources, including issues like the controls appropriate for commercial and sport fisheries, the protection of endangered marine mammals and the mandate of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration."
See Felicity Barringer & Michael Janofsky, "Republicans Plan to Give Environment Rules a Free-Market Twist," N.Y. Times, Nov. 8, 2004, at A14.
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