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Is Bush a better environmentalist than Obama?
Make no mistake, Bush was not an environmentalist. Though he did encourage wind power as Governor of Texas, as president he cancelled all satellites that would substantiate global warming, fired 13 scientists who refused to lie about the data, appointed non qualified politicians to squash the findings of scientists and experienced EPA officials, and cancelled a plant that could prove or disprove “clean coal” (probably disprove). Still, it is fair to ask if Obama is even worse.
Consider the areas where Obama has been worse than Bush.
-huge expansion of coal mining in the west at Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming
-Complete and utter cave in to BP (See “Obama Gave US Sovereignty to BP”)
-unqualified expansion of support with federal loan guarantees for nuclear energy over the Bush administration. The Congressional Budget Office says taxpayers have less than a 50% chance of getting their money back.
-Secretary of State Clinton, who like Obama campaigned for the environment, is working to import the world’s dirtiest oil from Canada where the tar sands are an even bigger carbon bomb than the Powder River coal. By some calculations, the tar sands contain the equivalent of about 200 parts per million CO2 -- or roughly half the current atmospheric concentration. The proposed pipeline into Minnesota and Wisconsin through North Dakota to Oklahoma to handle oil pouring out of the dirty tar sands of Alberta is still on track.
-The new Keystone XL pipeline that stretches from Canada straight to Texas and the Gulf of Mexico is still on track. It would take the bitumen from the tar sands and pipe it where it could do the most environmental damage possible: to the Cree and their ancestral lands in Canada, to Nebraska farmers trying to guard the Ogallala aquifer that irrigates their land, and of course to the atmosphere.
-establishment and expansion of off shore oil drilling twice after pausing under Bush.
-The eagerness to cooperate with republicans by cutting EPA 15% right off the bat and then "negotiating" for another 15% cut.
Consider the areas where Obama has been the same as Bush and continued his policies.
-Mountain top removal – blowing up mountains to mine coal – continues and the Obama administration recently told the EPA to slow down on efforts to start controlling it.
-The massive subsidies for fossil fuels many times that of renewable energy continues.
-Oil and coal companies continue to let the government pay for the clean up of the environmental disasters they make.
-RES Renewable Energy Standards specifying increasing use of renewable energy was supposed to be a done deal in 2009. The republicans had a goal of limiting action to RES, but Obama and the democrats gave up without even getting that far.
-Within 90 seconds of his first comments after the 2010 elections, Obama gave up on an energy policy and said he hoped republicans could do better.
-It is difficult to keep track of all the Obama environmental disappointments, but some of the latest are in an LA Times editorial saying that democrats think environmentalists don’t matter for the 2012 elections and Bruce Babbit , former Interior Secretary under Clinton, taking the unusual step of publicly criticizing the President in this article.
I know there have been many small, insignificant changes under Obama (see OFA for details). For instance, the stimulus included solar powered light for a bus station in Georgia. Nonetheless if you take a hard unsentimental look at the whole picture it certainly seems that Obama has let down the environmentalists who worked so hard to elect him.