Friday, April 22, 2005

President Bush and Earth Day 

I found it interesting this morning when I heard that Pres. Bush would be visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park today to celebrate Earth Day by working on some trail restoration and of course giving a speech. This was right after the news item about one of the riders attached to the war spending bill being to open up ANWR for drilling, an effort that Bush feels is important for reducing American dependence on foreign oil. This is also shortly after Congress failed to pass an amendment that would have required federal research over the next 13 years on how to reduce oil consumption by 1 million barrels per day. Why reduce usage when we can just suck more oil out of a wildlife refuge?

Of course, the particular park of choice was appropriate, given that it's the most polluted national park. Sort of a glimpse of things to come should the President's environmental agenda come to fruition.

Now I see that his trip to the park was cancelled due to inclement weather. Yeah, this sounds more like him. He's willing to get his hands dirty and do some environmental work, as long as he'd look good for the camera while doing it. But he did make a brief speech at the airport outside Knoxville (in the general vicinity of the park), where he had these words of praise for the citizens who live near this park plagued by soot, smog, and acid rain:
"One of the greatest responsibilities in a free society is responsible stewardship of our natural environment," Bush said Thursday at the White House. "All of you have taken that duty seriously. You have set a clear and strong example, and you're inspiring others to do their part."
Oh yeah, I'm feeling inspired. After his laudatory speech on the locals' environmental efforts, he hopped back aboard Air Force One to jet off to Crawford, where he'll be hosting the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia starting this coming Monday. Think they'll be talking about ways in which we can reduce American reliance on foreign oil?

For more inspiration, see the following posts on endangered species (and ANWR), mercury, Clear Skies Initiative (and here). I see that the environment isn't included among the list of highlighted issues on the White House website. There are four items under "Environment & Energy" on the expanded issues page, though. The listings are Energy, Environment, Everglades and Healthy Forests. Go ahead and poke around, but be sure to read the documents themselves, not just the titles and glowing press releases.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 12:54 PM