Bush and big oil

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Mar. 23, 12:36 EDT

Bush and big oil

President George W. Bush promised to run the U.S. like a business.

It's looking more like government of business, for business, by business.

His decision on global warming makes it virtually impossible for the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as it promised at Kyoto in 1997.

In one fell swoop, he flip-flopped on a campaign promise, humiliated the head of his Environmental Protection Agency and made the coal, oil and power industries very, very happy.

If there is a silver lining, it is that Canada no longer has a tenable U.S. position to follow on global warming.

We may actually have to develop one of our own. We would hope it would be one based on actually reducing emissions rather than trying to claim credit for emissions being absorbed by the trees and grass the good Lord placed on the Earth.

Realistically, however, Canadian Environment Minister David Anderson may find it even harder than before to convincie his cabinet colleagues to meet our Kyoto commit- ment. There are several ministers willing to invoke U.S. competition as the current reason of choice for letting the world end, not with a bang, but a steam bath. What is surprising is how swiftly Bush bent when the dirtiest corporations pushed.

He promised last September to reduce four major pollutants sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and carbon dioxide. It was no off the cuff error. He gloated about his "mandatory reductions" while "my opponent calls for voluntary reductions."

There was some question at the time as to whether Bush understood the issue carbon dioxide can't be filtered or scrubbed from power plant emissions like the others.

But only three weeks ago, his new environmental administrator, Christie Whitman, restated the promise as policy. The coal lobby went ballistic and Bush turned turtle.

As if to underline the point, he helped the power lobby again yesterday, cancelling a regulation cutting arsenic levels for drinking water. Arsenic causes bladder, lung and skin cancer. It also comes from coal.

Bush's explanation for his flip-flop on carbon dioxide emissions? "I was responding to reality."

Actually, as with arsenic, he was responding to his biggest campaign contributors.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), March 24, 2001

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