Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Environment in Peril

The Progress Report


With Republicans in control of both the White House and Congress, environmentalists are becoming increasingly nervous about the future of environmental protections. At issue are " possible sweeping Bush-backed rule changes
(http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/10293634.htm) on clean air, Arctic
drilling, roadless areas in national forests, endangered species, sewage
dumping and mountaintop removal to mine for coal." Clean air is at
risk, for example, with industry groups pressuring industry-friendly
conservatives in Congress to "relax pollution limits for ozone, eliminate
vehicle tailpipe inspections and ease pollution standards for cars, sport
utility vehicles and diesel-powered big trucks and heavy equipment." As
clean air lobbyist Frank O'Donnell worries, "There are many breaks yet
to be dished out to big campaign contributors.'' Karen Wayland of the
Natural Resources Defense Council is pledging environmentalists will
fight back, stating the Bush administration "'risks a hornet's nest of
public opposition' if it rolls back health, environmental and conservation
protections to benefit oil, coal and mining industries."