It is distressing to see that GWBush/Cheney has decided the time has cometo resume his aborted War on the Environment. GWBush/Cheney's firstdecision was to [remove the onus from industry to contribute to the EPA'sSuperfund program](http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/02/24/MN160386.
DTL). The industries that are in the business ofheavy pollution didn't feel it was right for them to contribute to a fundthat exists solely to cleanup the messes made by these sameindustries. Bush/Cheney, as a mouthpiece of big polluting businesses,want the public's tax dollars to pay for the environmental disasters createdby industry. The U.
Public Interest Research groups says:> "This is shifting the burden to taxpayers, and it isdramatically realigning the purpose of the program, which was to ensure thatpolluters pay, " said Grant Cope, a lawyer with the U.
Public InterestResearch Group. "Taxpayers are paying more, and fewer sites are beingcleaned up." Of course, Bush/Cheney wasn't about to forget his idiotic campaign pledgeto drill for more oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. Bush/Cheney is now [linking drilling in ANWR to our national security](http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2002/02/23/national1304EST0512.
DTL). This is, of course, complete and utter nonsense. Yes, the US shouldreduce its dependence on foreign oil (actually, it should reduce itsdependence on all oil, but that's another issue), but perhaps we cando it without drilling for a few gallons of oil in Alaska. One way todo that might be to increase the fuel efficiency of SUVs and other"light trucks."
Oh yeah, I forgot, increasing fuel efficiency is not only un-American butlegislating that automakers do so is going to cost millions andmillions of jobs. In a rare show of unity, and a less than rareattempt to create FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) amongst politicians andthe populace, [GM and the UAW are protesting a bill](http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2002/02/25/financial1703EST0261.
DTL) beforeCongress that would bring the fuel efficiency of SUVs and trucks into thelate 1990's, and out of the 1890's. The billwould force automakers to increase the fuel efficiency of light trucks andSUVs by 2013. The automaker's predictable response:
"No pickup, van or SUV GM builds today could survive the higherrequirements," said Guy Briggs, GM vice president and general manager forvehicle manufacturing. So? Chances are that GM won't be making the same SUVs in 2013 thatit makes today. Who cares about whether today's vehicles could meetthese standards? What about tomorrow's vehicles? Beyond that,automakers don't even want to try and increase the fuel efficiency oftheir cash-cow SUVs (every time you see someone driving an SUV or truck justremember that the average profit on an SUV or trunk is$10,000). The fact that some SUVs get 13 miles to the gallon in thecity and 15 on the highway tells you how much automakers have tried toincrease fuel efficiency of their SUVs: not at all. It is clearthat government action will be necessary to force automakers to come withthe rest of us into the 21st century.
Of course, government action isn't always helpful to American citizens,either. Take a gander at the latest report by the Institute for Energyand Environmental Research. An excerpt from their press release:
An estimated 80,000 people who lived in or were born in theUnited States between the years 1951 and 2000 will contract cancer as aresult of the fallout caused by atmospheric nuclear weapons testing,according to an analysis of government studies by the Institute for Energyand Environmental Research. Well over 15,000 of these cases would befatal. Other goodies include maps detailing where all the fallout is hiding inAmerica (everywhere, essentially) and "fun" fact sheets:> Cesium-137 (Cs-137) deposition is a good proxy for externalgamma dose distribution on a relative basis. Therefore, Cs-137 deposition isa good proxy for distribution of the excess cancers due to externalradiation. The two Cs-137 deposition maps show that most of the Cs-137deposition in the United States was due to global (non-NTS) fallout. Hence,most of the estimated 11,000 cancer fatalities in the United States due toexternal gamma radiation would be due to tests conducted outside of thecontinental United States. States containing counties with the highestCs-137 deposition include:ArkansasCaliforniaIdahoIndianaIowaMissouriNew HampshireNorth CarolinaOregonPennsylvaniaSouth DakotaTennesseeUtahVermontWashingtonWyoming