(From the Guardian – one of Great Britain’s two national newspapers, founded in 1821) President Bush is decimating America’s environmental law. Two million acres of land in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado will be opened to development of oil shales, the dirtiest fuel on Earth. Coal-fired power plants will no longer be required to install pollution controls or clean up soot and smog pollution. The have cut short the timeframe for public comment. In one instance, officials claimed to have reviewed 300,000 comments about changes to wildlife protection within the space of a week. The interior department can approve development such as mining or logging without consulting wildlife managers about their impact. The new regulations include a provision that would free industrial-scale pig and cattle farms from complying with the Clean Water Act so long as they declare they are not dumping animal waste in lakes and rivers.Mountain-top mine operators could dump waste into rivers and streams. They would weaken regulation of perchlorate, a toxin in rocket fuel that can affect brain development in children, in drinking water.
Bush plans to change the Endangered Species Act to ensure that federal agencies do not have to take global warming into consideration when assessing risks to endangered species.
50,000 acres within site of Utah’s Arches National Monument are up for oil lease. In the latest such move this week, Bush opened up some 800,000 hectares (2million acres) of land in Rocky Mountain states for the development of oil shale, one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet. Restrictions will be eased so power plants can operate near national parks and wilderness areas and pollution controls on new power plants will be downgraded.
The Washington Post adds: the rules changes would allow current emissions at a power plant to match the highest levels produced by that plant, overturning a rule that more strictly limits such emission increases.
Discover Magazine adds: One of the rules would relax requirements that road- and pipeline-builders consider the impact of their projects on endangered species.
The Sierra Club adds: Bush plans for Oregon’s forests are an "unprecedented and unsustainable increase in clearcut logging". Bush Administration’s plan will:
- Remove BLM forests from the scientific framework of the Northwest Forest Plan.
- Ramp up clearcut logging across hundreds of thousands of acres and get over 70% of the timber volume from clearcuts.
- Reduce streamside buffers that protect clean water and fish by 50%.
- Log some of the last remaining older forests in western Oregon.
- Increase logging by nearly 400% compared to current logging levels.
- Add 180 million tons more carbon to the atmosphere compared to no logging. (equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from 1 million cars driven for 132 years).
- Result in 1,300 miles of new logging roads.