Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Earth to Libs: Bush Won't Kill You!

In his "earth day" speech yesterday President Bush said, "I would remind people today is...a day in which we recommit ourselves to being good stewards of our land. We didn't create this earth but we have an obligation to protect it." My liberal aunt read this and commented in an email that
[Bush] sounds like an environmentalist to me! Sounds very much like what I wrote to you about a month ago about being good stewards of our world. Unfortunately his policies have not done much to achieve a better environment. We need a better energy policy that conserves our resources and reduces our consumption. Perhaps if we had some rationing of gas and oil so that people were only allotted a lifetime amount, they would consider more wisely the types of vehicles they drive and how they drive and what kind of houses they inhabit, etc. If we want our children to have something we must do our part now to preserve and conserve.
I'll save my comments on the gas-rationing idea for another post. But the dissonance she sees between Bush's words and his environmental policies is important because it's a result of liberals believing their own propaganda. Many of the differences between conservatives and liberals on environmental issues boil down to preferred methods and priorities rather than overall goals. This makes it unfortunate that so many environmentalists prefer to propagandize conservatives as intentional or careless despoilers of the world. For example, Bush was pilloried by environmentalists in the media when his administration delayed changes to the EPA's arsenic regulations for drinking water from 50 to 10 parts per billion in 2001. This despite the fact that the Clinton administration had accelerated the rule change to 5 months ahead of its original schedule so Clinton could implement it in the last days of his presidency. The rule change was finally adopted by the Bush administration in November of 2001, just a few months behind it's original schedule and just two months after NAS, NDWAC, and SAB released final reports on the health effects, costs, and benefits, respectively, of the rule change. (The net benefits are perhaps still questionable, but that is a topic for another day and not one which I have fully explored.) Bear in mind also the following points:
  1. The rule change is irrelevant for most of the country where arsenic does not naturally surpass even the 10 ppb threshold.
  2. The new rules will not be enforced until 2006 because public water systems need time to implement the new standards.
  3. Individual states can and do regulate their own arsenic levels and water quality and some have already adopted even stricter standards (such as NJ at 5 ppb).
The previous standard of 50 ppb was implemented in 1942. So after almost 60 years (including all 8 years of the Clinton administration) of the old rule, what was the response of the environmental community? Bush wants to poison your children! Here are some quotes: Friends of the Earth:
President Bush's message rivals Marie Antoinette for callous indifference: 'Let them drink arsenic,'" said Friends of the Earth president, Dr. Brent Blackwelder. "Millions and millions of Americans are drinking tap water laced with poisons like arsenic. It is clear that the administration is more concerned about the wealthy mining companies who pollute our water than the government agency responsible for protecting it.
Now if this were cocaine being knowingly added into our national food supply, you just know the Bush administration would have a zero tolerance policy. But it is only dioxin, which like arsenic, seems to be one of the condiments of choice of the current Bush administration. George Bush the 1st did not like his broccoli, which is good for you. Here is the question: Does George Bush the 2nd like arsenic and dioxin, which are bad for you? What's your bet?
Maureen Dowd in the NYT:
You can just hear Rummy [Donald Rumsfeld], slugging back a Scotch with Cheney in the Oval after they’ve put the Kid [Bush] to bed, grousing about the gazillion dollars’ worth of investments he has to sell to avoid a conflict, and growling: “Real men can drink twice that much arsenic. And how soon can we get some lead back in the lousy paint?”
DNC TV ad:
Little girl holding up glass of water: "May I please have some more arsenic in my water, mommy?"
Never forget: Republicans are evil and want to kill you!

The arsenic rule was just one of a whole host of environmental poison pill regulations signed by Clinton as he left office. And each time the Bush administration reversed or delayed the implementation of these rules to first study their costs and benefits, the mainstream media dutifully charged Bush with an offense against mankind.

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