Effect Measure

Bush games, Bush Rules

The Bush administration wants to slow walk worker protection regulations, even when required by law, through the use of additional layers of review by the Office of Management and Budget. We wrote about this recently here (and see Celeste Monforton’s excellent work at The Pump Handle). But let’s be fair. The Bush administration doesn’t always want to slow up rule making. At least not when wealthy land developers or their cronies in federal agencies are concerned:

The Bush administration wants federal agencies to decide for themselves whether highways, dams, mines and other construction projects might harm endangered animals and plants. New regulations, which don’t require the approval of Congress, would reduce the mandatory, independent reviews government scientists have been performing for 35 years, according to a draft obtained by The Associated Press.

The draft rules also would bar federal agencies from assessing the emissions from projects that contribute to global warming and its effect on species and habitats.

If approved, the changes would represent the biggest overhaul of the Endangered Species Act since 1988. They would accomplish through regulations what conservative Republicans have been unable to achieve in Congress: ending some environmental reviews that developers and other federal agencies blame for delays and cost increases on many projects.

The changes would apply to any project a federal agency would fund, build or authorize. Government wildlife experts currently perform tens of thousands of such reviews each year. (Dina Capiello, Forbes)

If this evisceration of the Endangered Species Act has a smell reminiscent of efforts by vile California Republican former CongressThing Richard Pombo (an Abramoff crony flushed from Congress by the mild laxative of the 2006 election) it should. Pombo tried to gut the Endangered Species Act, too. He succeeded in the House but it went down in the Senate. If they couldn’t get it through a Republican Congress, they wouldn’t bother with the current Democratic one (spineless as it is) so they aren’t going to bother asking Congress. They are going to do it in the form of a Rule. Once published there is a 60 day public comment period and then presto: Endangered Species Act is neutered.

Understand what this does. Now a federal agency has to ask experts in one of the relevant federal agencies (Fish and Wildlife or Marine Fisheries) to assure that a project will not have a serious effect on endangered species and to minimize any effects the project might have. Now all the federal agency has to do is ask itself. No problem:

The Interior Department said such consultations are no longer necessary because federal agencies have developed expertise to review their own construction and development projects, according to the 30-page draft obtained by the AP.

“We believe federal action agencies will err on the side of caution in making these determinations,” the proposal said.

No one else believes this, however.

In 2003, the administration imposed similar rules that would have allowed agencies to approve new pesticides and projects to reduce wildfire risks without asking the opinion of government scientists about whether threatened or endangered species and habitats might be affected. The pesticide rule was later overturned in court. The Interior Department, along with the Forest Service, is currently being sued over the rule governing wildfire prevention.

It’s not just the courts, who are skeptical. Internal reviews by the National Marine Fisheries Service and Fish and Wildlife Service revealed that when there was no check by an independent agency on the wildfire prevention projects almost half weren’t legally or scientifically valid. Moreover the new Rules are not the product of experts but of attorneys. Experts weren’t consulted until the draft was finished last week. If you can call that consulting experts. I don’t. I call that lawyers notifying experts.

So while there are now only 159 days left in the Bush administration they can still do damage and this is an example of some damage it looks like they will do.

Who cares about biodiversity, anyway? Not when there is money to be made in real estate development and logging and who knows what other businesses Bush cronies are interested in.

The Bushies are one species I won’t mind seeing go extinct.

Comments

  1. #1 Lab Rat
    August 13, 2008

    ” “We believe federal action agencies will err on the side of caution in making these determinations,” the proposal said. ”

    Yes. Because big buisnesses are well known for putting the interests of the environment before their own money-making interests.

    Gak! This stuff pisses me off. A ten year old child could tell you why this is just such a bad idea :(

  2. #2 Big Cat
    August 13, 2008

    On the bright side, we can can hope that if Obama is elected, the first thing he will do is fire all the Bush appointees and reverse every regulation and executive order issued in the last eight years.

  3. #3 Doug
    August 13, 2008

    On the even brighter side. :)

    NOW is a great time to demand that the Shrub be impeached. He has done nothing but endanger the United States and the world in general.

    I don’t understand why more people aren’t thinking about impeachment. This is not good. The problem isn’t only with Bush, he isn’t acting alone. If those that support his policies see that he can get away unscathed they will follow in his footsteps.

    If you don’t care about the environment, you don’t love your grandchildren.

  4. #4 anon
    August 13, 2008

    Impeachment won’t really be an option. Although possibly deserved, people are going to be more willing to just wait Bush out than go through that whole process this late in the game.

    But, what can we do?

    This is not a rhetorical question.

    What can we do to stop this and all the other last minute “rules” from going through?

  5. #5 Doug
    August 13, 2008

    There is nothing else that we can do because, it is the bushies games, and their rules.

    If everyone that is just waiting it out because they don’t want to “go through the process”, would demand impeachment then it would happen. We can’t do anything by doing nothing and it won’t get any better. People were afraid to boot him out of office at the last election because sitting presidents are always reelected during times of war, supposedly it shows cohesion within the nation to the rest of the world. Ha, like the rest of the world can’t see what is happening.

    You want to wait? Well, I’m guessing he has some more surprises in store for the remaining months. Each day that he remains unchallenged is a day that he can create more problems.

    However, if you prefer to pick each one of his boo-boos up one at a time, here is a possible way to help.
    http://scienceblogs.com/digitalbio/2008/08/if_you_really_want_to_help_ani.php?utm_source=sbhomepage&utm_medium=link&utm_content=sublink

  6. #6 Big Cat
    August 14, 2008

    If impeachment aint gonna happen I would be satisfied with prosecution after he leaves office, with an extra bonus if he could be extradited to the Hague and beyond the reach of future GOP pardons.

    Meanwhile also go after all the underlings in DOJ and other departments. And get back the money stolen from the taxpayers by Haliburton, Blackwater, and all the other fraudulent “contractors”.

  7. #7 pauls lane
    August 14, 2008

    I thought for the most part that the folks who visited these pages were intelligent, rational and usually not subject to overblown emotional ridiculous idiotic rants. I am wrong. You people need to moveon (haha) to DailyKos. There you will meet folks, like yoursevles, deluded with their self-importance, stewing in their hatred and wasting time spewing garbage like what I’ve just read.

  8. #8 revere
    August 14, 2008

    pauls: I’d never know from your comments here you thought we were intelligent and rational since most of what you say has the same nasty edge to it. I do go to dKos daily (along with Open Left, MyDD and FDL), so your suggestion wasn’t necessary. I don’t know where else other readers go. You are still welcome here and that shouldn’t prevent you from going to Michelle Malkin, Little Green Footballs and the Freepers if that’s your interest. It’s a big world out there and we are only a tiny part of it. Arguing is permitted here and we don’t have a politically monochrome readership, but it’s usually nice if there is at least some content you are willing to defend instead of just expressing rage — if that’s possible for you.

  9. #9 pauls lane
    August 14, 2008

    for the most part when it comes to science revere, I bow to your opinions because I am not a scientist (although I think your wrong with the climate change issue because I think it was more of a political/money grab scheme)..you don’t think federal agencies should do their own enviornment impact studies, I can respect that (and probably agree) but Bush won’t be impeached, Bush won’t be prosecuted and extradited to the Hague…that was the garbage I was referring too.

  10. #10 Doug
    August 14, 2008

    The point isn’t whether Bush will be impeached and/or prosecuted. The point is that he should be, and those that agree should at least email or contact their representatives and the Judiciary Committee to express their opinion. Just stepping back and supposing it won’t happen isn’t helpful because, that sends a message of at least mild support for what is being done.

    The real problem is that what Bush has done becomes an accepted method of action for the future, that is, the Presidency becomes a four year dictatorship without oversight and review. That form of government will cost us dearly in the future if we are not willing to demand better.

    There is strong evidence against the Bush regime, he should face a formal investigation.

  11. #11 daedalus2u
    August 14, 2008

    We will see if Bush steps foot in Europe after he is no longer POTUS. My guess is that he will not. His advisors won’t let him tempt fate.

  12. #12 pauls lane
    August 15, 2008

    Doug – and what kind of message will be sent if Bush happened to be indicted for some cloudy reasonsing after he left office? Isn’t it bad enough we have the likes of Obama and McCain running for president right now?

  13. #13 Ann
    August 15, 2008

    Pauls Lane……..you think that the country is going to be worse after the next election. Yes, it might be if McCain (a Bush wannabe) is elected. But, Shrub and his cronies have done more to hurt our county than you apparently are willing to accept. I see the damage on a daily basis where I live due to the oil industries’ lies aboaut not hurting the land or the wildlife. Make no mistake, our land will never be the same and to top it off, all the oil and gas we have here will never even make a dent in this nations greed for that industries products. We live in the middle of the oil and gas production and yet our rates are still higher than other states. That and now our precious wildlife won’t even have a shred of protection. Give me a break….Schrubs only legacy will be in the damage he has caused everywhere he turns.

  14. #14 M. Randolph Kruger
    August 15, 2008

    Ann-That may be so and everything you say about the environment could be true. So for once, lets quit saving the world and let nature take its course. If your and others assertions are that man is mucking it up, then back off and quit feeding them. Its not humane, but it is the inevitability of what MUST happen to right the ship from both ends of the spectrum right and left. Either we will do it, or there will be wars and pestilence. Not biblical, I know better than to pop off with that here. But it is what has to happen. 7 billion people in 2012. They talk about peak oil, its really about peak people. If Al Gore is right, we signed our death warrants about ten years ago with the birth of the kids then. There are no other alternatives that are viable that can keep that number of people alive other than oil. 1900 acres of solar cells to power a city of 70,000 for 6 hours a day. Wind farms that by definition only would work 30% of the time. No more viable places to put hydro and the batteries that they want to use in cars are so dangerous that you could be incinerated in a rear end collision, not to mention the environmental problems of disposals.

    Nope, might have cleaner air and environment but it doesnt mean crap unless there are fewer people because adding another 500 million carbon footprints into what he considers to be an already unacceptable environment by 2012. Nature is about to take its course. Bird flu is just one of the constant gardeners choices. War is another. Stick around, we might see a few more slip in there.

    I also want to address something here. Its Revere’s blog and I disagree with him often. We jab, we punch but we never get disrespectul of each other. Hell, I would probably go to the bar and play foosball with him on Friday night because he has a very keen mind and isnt afraid to use it. He makes some absolutely fantastic points at times, many I agree with. Mostly not. But these posts are way out of line in basically making personal attacks. He makes his points but never whacks someone like a lot of you guys do. If this was the checkout line at WalMart there would be open warfare and people going for guns and knives.

    Make your position known folks, but dont make personal attacks on people. This doesnt apply to the public figures such as Bush, Cheney, Lurch (Kerry), My Pal Al, Michael Moore Government, Obamination, Hilbillary, Chelsea “I have healthcare thats paid for, but I dont like it” and on. They buy into it, bloggers dont. Respect where respect is due. I always hold my snarks unless someone goes after me personally and then it can get really nasty.

    Another thing is that I dont pee on Revere’s rug and that is when you go after someone here personally. By all ISP regulations thats what its considered to be. Disrespect of the highest order and in some cases actionable. But its just flat wrong. Everyone try to keep it clean and if you are going to fight, dont go for the low blows.

    It makes for a kinder, gentler blogosphere and its not necessary.

  15. #15 revere
    August 15, 2008

    Randy: So what’s your beef with Supari, then? A good pandemic would seem to be just the thing to cleanse the world of excess people. Same with terrorism. A few nukes in Memphis would do wonders for traffic there, not to mention gas prices. Or do I have it wrong?

  16. #16 pauls lane
    August 15, 2008

    Ann, my question relates to the caliber of person wishing to be president of this country. Bad enough every little detail about a person is brought to the nation’s attention from diapers onward but now couple that with a possible indictment hanging over your head because you ok’d something that might have caused the death of a snail darter or a spotted owl or ok’d the building of a biodefense lab in of all places Mississippi or ok’d a change that allows federal agencies to perform their own enviornmental impact studies.
    I think we can all agree that this country should be able to offer better than McCain and Obama (unless of course you are one of those star-struck Obama-is-the-savior people – then you simply are terribly young or terribly dense, possibly both).
    I would imagine that the president, any president would make decisions based on what they believe to be good for the country and not what is good for a couple of whitetail deer. I know you and others here don’t believe that Bush has acted in the interests of the country but instead has acted in the interests of his ‘cronies’. I’ve heard it all before, Bush is bad, Big Oil is bad, Big Pharma is bad, everything and everybody you folks disagree with are just souless, bad, evil, horrible, and nasty and should be impeached, indicted, hung from the nearest tree. Well I differ. If the writings on these pages and others like them are any indication you folks will make fine leaders of the next Inquisition. Congrats.

  17. #17 M.Randolph Kruger
    August 15, 2008

    Nope, you have it right Revere. The inevitability is what I am speaking of. Food supplies are dwindling across the planet. We are supposed to have 500 million more mouths to feed in the near future and something is going to give. No difference between nukes and gasoline, terrorism and corn tortillas. We are rapidly outstripping what we can do to offset it.

    Maybe a nuke or two in the US or somewhere else, H5N1 or one of its cousins. The problem is that the food supply drops to zip with another 500 mill on the planet. You have seen me comment about the 43 days supply of food being 21 days now, unevenly distributed. Something is certainly going to happen. I just want to make it clear that its not malicious, just that its going to happen. The flush with cash Saudi’s arent able to buy up enough food now on the open market and food inflation is starting.

    My beef with Supari? For starts she makes the opportunists here in the US look like rank amateurs. On one hand she wants to boot NAMRU out but then turns around and starts talking to the Chinese about operating….A NAMRU. They have UHC there. They take the money alloted for bird flu and outright and in front of the media admit that 20% of it was stolen via corruption. The rest? Not for bird flu, it paid for the shortfalls in their UHC for two years. Now they are flat on their tails again. But the worst part is that they agreed several years ago to report flu cases and its clear that they are hiding them now. They get pnemonia instead. They dont test them for bird flu… too expensive. Then when they do get a case they dont report it for about a month, sometimes two. Its blatant what they are doing and no one is calling them on it. They are negotiating… Hows this? Cut off that food and money aid and let things correct themselves. We wont build them a vaccine factory that might make a flu vaccine. The rest of the time they would be making what? So we wont build it for them because we dont like competition, then they bitch because the rest of the world isnt doing enough for them… I counted 3 billion dollars to them in the last two years without bird bug money. Seems a little strange that they would be biting off the hand that feeds them.

    But thats politics for you. Me, I just want to be one of the survivors of whats coming or for the lack of a better term, and to have a fighting chance. That means not necessarily me, but the US in whole and does include your liberal self. I dont give one bug shit worth of care about someone outside of this country if they are not one of our allies. This environmental stuff is all well and good, but it isnt going to change the fact that there are too many people draining against a system that is in decline. Its not just the US, its the rest of the world too. Food to fuel is going to come apart like a two dollar watch soon, and then unfortunately because I havent seen anything viable we are going to have to drill. If we dont drill we are going to starve a segment or more of the world population. That newly added up to 7 billion population by total numbers is going to pollute not less than (X). That X might be too much overall for the planet.to keep all of those things from happening such as wars, terrorism, starvation, and bugs. Its the ANN scenario magnified, pollution begets pollution, man creates GW or so they say so what are their big plans for the future? No viable fuel, no viable sources of electricity, and certainly no individualism in a future society as we become expendables.

    The only thing that might keep it at bay for a while is drilling and gives those things time to take their courses slowly, otherwise it comes in fell sweeping jumps. Pick a category and tell me which one you think it will be and you’ll be right. My bet (1) Energy wars, (2) Food wars (3) Terrorism wars (4) bug wars.

    What takes us out? Might be the bug factory in Mississippi? Might be a nuke on US territory… Might be a global Thermonuke war. Things are about to have a big shift one way or another. What is currently inhumane might just be a statement of thing that we used to hear about.

  18. #18 Lea
    August 16, 2008

    You are confrontational pauls lane, something I understand

    however, it can and does change. You’re old enough to think this through, please do so.

    With you all the way MRK, although I wouldn’t call it GW, I’d call it Global Change (GC).
    You did forget volcanic activity.
    And what takes “us” out? Our ignorance, something the ego is really incapable of admitting to.

  19. #19 pauls lane
    August 16, 2008

    Lea I have no idea what you mean.

  20. #20 Doug
    August 17, 2008

    It is interesting that the ones that support the shrub want to avoid the real legal issues. The things they comment about are his absolute disrespect for the planet that we call home. But they frame it as if his actions are a necessary evil without even mentioning the horrendous problems his actions have caused, are causing, and will cause for the future.

    Bush had an opportunity to lead a largely united world community into the future. He opted for destruction at any cost. That isn’t by accident, as an example, the christians now have asked for and of course the financial brokers have provided, mutual funds that buy into companies that have the greatest potential to speed destruction. The purpose is to increase their chance of being among the chosen.

    Drilling for oil off shore of the United States and in ANWAR is simply another deception. Going that direction is going to make it more difficult for your grandchildren to try to fix the problems. Of course, if you are only concerned with yourself by all means support selfishness. However, supposing that drilling as the only answer is bullshit.

    However, I agree that human population is a key factor that needs to be addressed. That could happen but, the leaders of the christian need to make a stand for responsibility instead of mythology.

    The United States needs to learn that it is not going to be able to be the dictator of world affairs. Our morals and ethics will not be found by following the christian-government agenda.

  21. #21 muhabbet
    August 21, 2008

    However, I agree that human population is a key factor that needs to be addressed. That could happen but, the
    now have asked for and of course the financial brokers have provided, mutual funds that buy into companies that have the greatest potential

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