Former EPA Republican Chiefs Slam Bush's 'Environmental' Policies
From the Washington Post:
Six former heads of the Environmental Protection Agency _ five Republicans and one Democrat _ accused the Bush administration Wednesday of neglecting global warming and other environmental problems.
"I don't think there's a commitment in this administration," said Bill Ruckelshaus, who was EPA's first administrator when the agency opened its doors in 1970 under President Nixon and headed it again under President Reagan in the 1980s.
Russell Train, who succeeded Ruckelshaus in the Nixon and Ford administrations, said slowing the growth of "greenhouse" gases isn't enough.
"We need leadership, and I don't think we're getting it," he said at an EPA-sponsored symposium centered around the agency's 35th anniversary. "To sit back and just push it away and say we'll deal with it sometime down the road is dishonest to the people and self-destructive."
All the former administrators and the EPA's current chief, Stephen Johnson, raised their hands when asked whether they believe global warming is a real problem _ and again when asked if humans bear significant blame.
Agency heads during five Republican administrations, including the current one, criticized the Bush White House for what they described as a failure of leadership.
Defending his boss, Johnson said the current administration has spent $20 billion on research and technology to combat climate change after President Bush rejected mandatory controls on carbon dioxide, the chief gas blamed for trapping heat in the atmosphere like a greenhouse.
Bush also kept the United States out of the Kyoto international treaty to reduce greenhouse gases globally, saying it would harm the U.S. economy, after many of the accord's terms were negotiated by the Clinton administration.
"I know from the president on down, he is committed," Johnson said. "And certainly his charge to me was, and certainly our team has heard it: 'I want you to accelerate the pace of environmental protection. I want you to maintain our economic competitiveness.' And I think that's really what it's all about."
His predecessors disagreed. Lee Thomas, Ruckelshaus's successor in the Reagan administration, said that "if the United States doesn't deal with those kinds of issues in a leadership role, they're not going to get dealt with. So I'm very concerned about this country and this agency."