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The Bush Mockery Of Earth Day


A lot of people marked Earth Day recently by planting trees, cleaning their yards or reflecting on their appreciation of the Mother.


President George W. Bush and his staff joined with oil company executives to mock the day in their own perverted way. They met with Environmental Protection Agency officials to talk about a plan to relax pollution standards for gasoline.


The plan, which is expected to reduce the price of gas by about a nickel, would change the way gas is refined, allowing more sulfur content in the fuel we burn. That, in turn, will generate more urban smog and soot from the tailpipes of our cars, and make those dirty brown skies even worse than they already are.


It is perhaps with a twist of irony that the EPA just issued a notice to various counties and cities all across the United States, notifying them that smog levels are on the rise and that local governments are going to have to do something about it.


The statement, which can be found on the EPA web site, suggests that cars in these high smog levels be tested for emissions coming out of their exhaust pipes. This, in effect, will put the burden of cleaning the air on the local consumer while relaxing the laws affecting big industry. It will mean that the older cars will be forced off the road and drivers required to buy new ones if they want transportation.


Earth Day was marked by still another dark move by Bush and his team. It seems that the administration also is lobbying to exempt the Defense Department from the standards set by the federal Clean Air Act at military firing and bombing ranges. If Congress goes along with the plan (wartime you know) expect increased perchlorate contamination in our drinking water.


Perchlorate is a chemical by-product from solid rocket fuel as well as nitrate fertilizer. It has recently been determined that the perchlorate levels have been rising in our water supplies and the culprit is believed to be military rocket firings. The chemical affects the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism in the human body. High levels are believed to cause deformed births, gland tumors and numerous other problems related to thyroid deficiencies.


One must wonder how a man with the clout to get the top administrative job in the land can purposefully avoid, or inadvertently miss the impact his actions are having on the planet under his feet.


The Bush sell-out to the industrial powers that bought his way into the White House may influence much of his thinking, but we must wonder how this father of twin daughters can coldly make some of the decisions he makes. Everything he has done, from the sell-out of the Kyoto agreement to opening of protected lands to oil well drilling, roads and logging has been an open assault on the environment.


Understandably, Mr. Bush as a Bible-thumping fundamental Christian expects a god savior to step out on a cloud and rescue him and his family at the last moment, just as everything is collapsing. He might not care. But not all of us believe this.


We consequently think it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the Mother Earth, our garden, if we expect it to continue providing for our children and grandchildren. It is irresponsible for Mr. Bush to ignore this most sacred duty for the sake of the real god he worships . . . money.