Illustration by Lou Beach GEORGE W. BUSH DECLARED in last week’s debate that the air has gotten cleaner since he’s been in office.
Thanks to the continuing effectiveness of the Clean Air Act, which became law at the end of 1970, that’s a little bit true. But it’s like saying that, since Bush has been in office, porcupine caribou haven’t done too badly in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
And it’s not even that simple: Overall emissions have continued to decline — though not by much — since 2001, but some pollutants have gone up.Sulfur dioxide, for instance, the main component in the acid raid that’s rendering lakes and rivers sterile from Maine to Montana, rose 4 percent — 600,000 tons — thanks to lax enforcement of existing rules regulating emissions from coal-fueled power plants. (See chart below.) If Bush gets his way in November, both the Clean Air Act and ANWR will likely be history.
Now That’s a Scary Thought
“The Bush administration continues to fumble around in the darkness of ignorance and the quagmire of special interest, while the Russians are demonstrating world leadership.”