It sure didn’t take long for the Bush administration to start settlingpolitical debts at the environment’s expense:Lawmakers back business approach
WASHINGTON (AP) - A business approach to managing the environment that usesterms “performance-based” and “market-driven” won the backing Thursday oftwo senior Republicans and a Democrat who help steer natural resourcespolicy. In an 18-page document described as a nonpartisan blueprint forlawmakers, the Business Roundtable laid out a program for “constructivechanges in our environmental protection system.” The group, which compriseschief executives of large companies, said free trade and environmentalflexibility should be emphasized. The document also recommended thatlawmakers help shift regulatory controls away from the EPA and toward thestates along with voluntary self-auditing, approaches that have beenendorsed by new EPA Administrator Christie Whitman, New Jersey’s formergovernor. Other goals include a “better alignment of energy andenvironmental policies” and an overall climate of fewer regulations onbusinesses in order to reduce barriers on developing new technology.

Industry leaders were represented by Earnest W. Deavenport Jr., chairman andCEO of Eastman Chemical Co.; Fred Webber, president of the AmericanChemistry Council; and American Forest and Paper Association PresidentHenson Moore. </i> The three business representatives on this council are certainly from trustworthy industries, too. I’m certain the chemical industry wouldnever pollute if they didn’t suffer government oversight. Infact, I’m sure that the less government oversight industries like chemical,steel, and paper manufacturing (to name just three out of thousands) suffer,the better they will behave. It’s not sloppy, lazy, greedy corporatemanagement that leads to chemical spills, cover-ups, and environmentaldisasters, it’s government regulation! This line of logic, of course, isnot so cleverly disguised crap. Thereare over 1200 (!) Superfund sites in the United States. Industrymight want you to believethat these Superfund sites were caused by industry trying to meet governmentregulations. Toeven hint that ridding industries like chemical manufacturing, wastedisposal, or other heavy polluters of government regulation willimprove our lives and the environment is implausible, at best. Of course, as Molly Ivins detailed in her most recentcolumn, the Bush cabinet is/will be run by corporateAmerica, so none of this is a great surprise.

Looking at Superfund data is actually pretty frightening. There are 17(!) Superfund sites in Delaware (1.3 million acres of total land). California (99.8 million acres of land) only has 95 Superfund sites(that’s irony dripping off the word “only”, btw). Massachusetts has 30 Superfund sites spread over 5 million acres. Thatmeans that while California has 75 times as much land as Delaware, it onlyhas five times as many Superfund sites. California is nearly twentytimes bigger than Massachusetts, but only has a little over three times asmany Superfund sites. Unsurprisingly, and perhaps stereotypically, NewJersey has 111 Superfund sites. The big surprise to me was thatPennsylvania (28.7 million acres) has 94 Superfund sites.

We saw the movie Ghost Dog the other night and it was pretty good. Worthrenting, if nothing else catches your eye in the video store.