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Column: Next Presidency Needs To Protect The Environment

This story was written by Cathy Wilson, The Post

It wont be difficult to bid farewell to the Bush Administrationconsidering its recent attempts at weakening environmental regulationsbefore January, and it is more evidence of why a new presidency nomatter who wins will be advantageous to environmental protection.

According to The Washington Post,many of the Bush administrations last minute regulations involveeasing up on environmental regulations. If it doesnt put theseregulations into effect fast enough, the succeeding president and hisadministration can work to withdraw those regulations.

Why a presidency would want this to add such baggage to a legacythat already is tarnished is beyond me at the beginning of the BushAdministrations two terms in office, climate change was stilldescribed as uncertain; eight years later, the scientific consensus isundeniable.

One of the administrations most outstanding attempts atderegulation is trying to change the power plant emission standardsfrom being measured at an overall rate to an hourly rate, allowingoperators to pollute more if they extend their hours.

Other regulations include allowing increased emissions of coal-firedpower plants near national parks and from oil refineries, chemicalfactories and other industrial plants with complex manufacturingoperations, according to The Washington Post.While the Environmental Protection Agency has often been the puppet forthe Bush Administrations desire to ease environmental regulation, ithas professed some opposition to these last-minute deregulatoryattempts.

Citizens look toward the EPA as an agency that works to protectthe environment. Another four years of the government interfering withEPA scientists, relaxing about pursuing polluters violatingenvironmental laws or making proposals that would violate legislationsuch as the Clean Air Act (like trying to cap-and-trade the toxicchemical mercury) is not what citizens deserve from an agency whosepurpose is to protect their environment.

When citizens expect the government to protect them and their healthand instead are met with an administration advocating more pollution,it completely defeats the purpose of having an agency meant to protectthe environment. Individuals can make great strides to reduce theircarbon footprints, but its not an outrageous assumption to expect thegovernment to take over when it comes to industry, business, etc.

It will be refreshing to have a president who has some kind ofconcern toward environmental protection, as both presidentialcandidates have expressed concern about climate change. It wouldnt beterrible if these regulations werent created in time and could beoverturned by the next president, and considering the focus bothcandidates have had on climate change, one would hope they would detourthem if at all possible.

While it might be disheartening to see this administration trying tofinalize efforts that could prove difficult to reverse by the nextpresident, at least the next president has the option to discontinuesuch practices. The Bush Administration hasnt been entirelyanti-environment, but it definitely has a reputation for makingenvironmental protection a last priority. Its attempt to deregulate,especially concerning environmental protection, is further proof thatnew leadership cant seem to come soon enough.

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