League of Conservation Voters Gets It Wrong on Bush Record, by Tom Randall

BACKGROUND: The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has released a report claiming President Bush deserves a grade of “D-” for his handling of environmental issues during his first years in office. In arriving at this grade, LCV president, Deb Callahan, a former Al Gore campaign aide, leveled a number of absurd charges. A few of the more flagrant of those charges, and responses to them, follow:

LCV Charge: The President deserves a low grade for “breaking a campaign pledge to curb carbon dioxide emissions at the behest of power companies.”

Response: The opposite is true. Major power companies, particularly ENRON, were lobbying hard for caps on CO2 emissions so they could profit by selling emissions credits to smaller competitors. The tool they used to push for these caps was the Kyoto Protocol or global warming treaty. The President wisely pulled back from the treaty because it would harm the U.S. economy for no purpose. The President paid no attention to the views of large corporations in doing this.

Response: Among objective climate scientists, the theory of man-caused global warming has been discredited. Computer models used by the proponents of the theory that man causes global warming to predict warming trends predicted that the lower atmosphere, or troposphere, would warm first. According to NASA measurements, it has not. These computer models also predicted the polar regions would be the first part of the earth to warm and that it would warm the most. These regions have been cooling.1,2

For more information on this subject, see: “A Global Warming Primer” at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA361.pdf for information on the science issues involved, and “Global Warming: Charges and Responses” at http://www.nationalcenter.org/Bonn2001.html for a review of the global warming policies of the administration of George W. Bush. A collection of other short papers on various global warming topics is available at http://www.nationalcenter.org/Kyoto.html.

LCV Charge: LCV faults the President for “a proposal to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as part of an energy plan drafted by corporate interests behind closed doors.”

Response: The Administration’s unwillingness to interfere in the workings of the market during the ENRON collapse in the President’s home state has demonstrated that the President has been deaf to the pleadings of large corporations.

Response: When Congress created the 19.5 million-acre ANWR in 1980, under then-President Jimmy Carter, it set aside broad, desolate areas within the refuge’s boundaries for future oil and gas exploration. Now President Bush is proposing exploration in just 2,000 acres –1/10,000th of the total refuge — which, with modern techniques, can be done with little-to-no environmental impact.

For more information on this subject, see “Environmental Groups Target Congress on Bush Energy Plan/ANWR” at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR73001.html and “Senate Democrats Fight Energy Bill” at http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR101801.html plus “Wishes Won’t Fuel Our Economy: We Need Oil Drilling” at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA375.html.

LCV Charge: The LCV criticizes the President’s “choice of Gale Norton, who spent a career undermining the very environmental laws she was appointed to enforce, to be Secretary of Interior.”

Response: Perhaps LCV is unhappy to have a Secretary of the Interior who recognizes that humans live on earth, too. The previous Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt — a former president of the League of Conservation Voters — led a campaign to end legal cattle grazing and mining on federal land and pushed the Clinton administration to place millions of acres off limit to most human activity through the designation of national monuments. At Babbitt’s instigation, Bill Clinton created more national monuments than any other President in history, 22, eight of them during his last week in office.

LCV Charge: Also criticized was the “appointment of never-met-an-environmental-regulation-he-didn’t-hate John Graham” to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget.

Response: LCV may be concerned that the office will now actually do its job of reviewing the appropriateness of environmental regulations. The office did not do that during the Clinton administration, as it permitted regulations that polluted well water in 31 states with the gasoline additive MTBE; allowed toxic municipal sludge to be spread on farm fields; supported logging bans which added fuel to record forest fires in 2000 and helped prevent the use of numerous harmless chemicals that could have been used to protect and enhance the nation’s food supply.3

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