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Faith in McCain

Published:

Bush team rushes environment policy changes

By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment CorrespondentMon Nov 3, 5:02 am ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As the U.S.  presidential candidates  sprint toward the finish line, the  Bush administration  is also sprinting to enact  environmental policy changes  before leaving power.

Whether it's getting wolves off the  Endangered Species List, allowing  power plants  to operate near national parks, loosening regulations for  factory farm waste  or making it easier for mountaintop coal-mining operations, these proposed changes have found little favor with environmental groups.

The one change most environmentalists want, a mandatory program to cut climate-warming  greenhouse gas emissions, is not among these so-called "midnight regulations."

Bureaucratic calendars make it virtually impossible that any U.S. across-the-board action will be taken to curb  global warming  in this administration, though bothRepublican John McCain  and  Democrat Barack Obama  have promised to address it if they win Tuesday's U.S. presidential election.

Even some free-market organizations have joined conservation groups to urge a moratorium on last-minute rules proposed by the Interior Department and theEnvironmental Protection Agency, among others.

"The Bush administration has had eight years in office and has issued more regulations than any administration in history," said Eli Lehrer of the  Competitive Enterprise Institute. "At this point, in the current economic climate, it would be especially harmful to push through ill-considered regulations in the final days of the administration."

John Kostyack of the  National Wildlife Federation, which joined Lehrer's group to call for a ban on these last-minute rules, said citizens are cut out of the process, allowing changes in U.S. law that the public opposes, such as rolling back protections under the  Endangered Species Act.

WHAT'S THE RUSH?

The Bush team has urged that these regulations be issued no later than Saturday, so they can be put in effect by the  time President George W. Bush  leaves office on  January 20.

If they are in effect then, it will be hard for the next administration to undo them, and in any case, this may not be the  top priority  for a new president, said Matt Madia of OMB Watch, which monitors the  White House Office of Management and Budget, through which these proposed regulations must pass.

"This is typical," Madia said of the administration's welter of eleventh-hour rules. "It's a natural reaction to knowing that you're almost out of power."

Industry is likely to benefit if Bush's rules on the environment become effective, Madia said.

"Whether it's the electricity industry or the mining industry or the agriculture industry, this is going to remove government restrictions on their activity and in turn they're going to be allowed to pollute more and that ends up harming the public," Madia said in a telephone interview.

What is unusual is the speedy trip some of these environmental measures are taking through the process.

For example, one Interior Department rule that would erode protections for endangered species in favor of mining interests drew more than 300,000 comments from the public, which officials said they planned to review in a week, a pace that Madia called "pretty ludicrous."

Why the rush? Because rules only go into effect 30 to 60 days after they are finalized, and if they are not in effect when the next president takes office, that chief executive can decline to put them into practice -- as Bush did with many rules finalized at the end of the Clinton administration.

White House spokesman  Tony Fratto  denied the Bush team was cramming these regulations through in a hasty push.

Fratto discounted reports "that we're trying to weaken regulations that have a business interest," telling  White House  reporters last week the goal was to avoid the flood of last-minute rules left over from the Clinton team.

There is at least one  Bush administration  environmental proposal that conservation groups welcome: a plan to create what would be the world's largest marine wildlife sanctuary in the  Pacific Ocean. That could go into effect  January 20.

Entry #433

Comments

1.
NBey6Comment by NBey6 - November 3, 2008, 8:55 am
This idiot knows that John McCain is almost certain to lose, that's why the big rush. As if George Bush hasn't ruined this country enough in 8 years, he'll try to do even more in the next 80 or so days.....watch. But those of you who voted for Bush, and you know who you are, hate it when this fact is brought to your dinner table!!

^_^
2.
Comment by harrisdel - November 3, 2008, 9:11 am
Hopefully yourtag " faith in McCain: means some how that you have lost faith as Sarah Palin, a self proclaimed rouge has her eyes on 2012. Let me guess, you think obama is a socialist or muslim. If so the then are so far from the truth. I would rather you tell me that you just cant vote for an African American than piss on my back and then tell me its raining.
3.
NBey6Comment by NBey6 - November 3, 2008, 9:42 am
You must have voted for Bush/McCain/Palin. Which is your right. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4.
Comment by Piaceri - November 3, 2008, 12:05 pm
NBey - I don't see McCain mentioned at all in this article. It is a well known fact that McCain is nearly left of center on environmental issues - one of many that conservatives object to with this candidate.

harrisdel - I'm not voting for Obama. I dare you to call me racist. I don't like his policies regardless of if he is black, white, yellow or purple. Give me a black conservative and I will vote for him or her if their issues agree with mine. I will not cast my vote for a liberal regardess or race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. YOU, harrisdel, are the racist.
5.
NBey6Comment by NBey6 - November 4, 2008, 9:13 am
Paceri - You don't have to. I stated the obvious and you just missed it.

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