16
Apr
2004

Leading Republican Blasts Bush Environmental Actions

April 16, 2004

Russell Train, a lifelong Republican who played a key role in
forging environmental policy under Presidents Nixon and Ford,
charges in his recently published memoirs that the current
Republican Administration not only lacks leadership on crucial
environmental issues, it fails to grasp the "long-term
implications" of its bias toward the energy industry.

"The George W. Bush Administration appears to view most issues
as either black or white -- that, for example, environmental
protection and energy supply are mutually exclusive objectives,"
writes Train, in Politics, Pollution and Pandas: An
Environmental Memoir (Island Press, December 2003). "Such
simplistic approaches may lend themselves to good sound bites or
to easy political communication, but they do not serve us well
in terms of developing effective solutions to the all-too-real
problems that face this country and the world."

Train, who served as Undersecretary of the Interior under Nixon
and later the second Administrator of the newly created
Environmental Protection Agency (1973-1977), left the Ford
Administration to serve as President of the World Wildlife Fund
(WWF) - U.S. His memoirs provide a "behind-the-scenes account"
of bipartisan efforts under two Republican Administrations to
craft the laws and regulations that have protected our
environment for more than three decades.

Now chairman emeritus of WWF, Train also offers his insights on
the current lack of U.S. leadership on environmental issues,
going so far as to say that President Bush "is not playing
square with the American people" by "blatantly ignoring" solid
scientific research, particularly on man's contribution to
climate change.

Train writes that he does not blame the EPA or other federal
agencies, because "it has been clear from the beginning of the
George W. Bush Administration that it is the White House that is
calling the tune. Moreover, it seems that the tune is being
called not by program staff in the White House, but by political
operatives. I find it unacceptable that the current U.S.
political leadership should demonstrate such disregard for and
disinterest in values that are among the most crucial concerns
of humanity today."

Not only does President Bush ignore his ethical responsibilities
in matters of environmental stewardship, he fails to understand
the complex relationship between economics and environmental
concerns and the longtime consequences of setting policies
slanted so strongly in favor of the energy industry, Train
writes.

"On a broader scale, we need to recognize as a society that the
economy and the environment are not antithetical to each other
but are instead different sides of the same coin," he concludes.
"Economic activity is to a great extent the conversion of the
earth's environmental resources to human use and enjoyment...a
healthy economy that is sustainable over the long term can be
achieved only in the context of a healthy environment. The two
must go hand in hand."

Previous American political leaders -- both Republican and
Democratic -- understood that, writes Train. "We need to find
that road again; it is the only path to a sustainable future for
humanity."

http://www.bushgreenwatch.org/mt_archives/000097.php
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