Magazine

Is George W. Bush Doing Right By The Environment?


"How Green is the White House?" (Government, Nov. 3) and "Bush's enviro report card" (Editorials, Nov. 3) are based on a premise that all environmental laws and regulations are good and benefit the environment. This is not the case. Many environmental laws and regulations (and public land-use policies) are based on questionable science, as with the effect of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 on timber harvesting. The benefits have not been evaluated with respect to the costs of implementation. Also, the approach to regulating environmental matters has led to unintended consequences, causing the environment to suffer at the same time that business investment has been thwarted, as with the implementation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act. I would have hoped a business publication would have taken a wiser and more thorough approach.

Carl B. Barnes

St. Louis

Sulfur-dioxide emissions into the air are currently 11 million tons per year Under current law, they would be reduced to 2 million tons by 2010. Under President George W. Bush's new approach, they would be capped at 4.5 million tons by 2010. Yet the article states: "The Bush plan will result in cleaner air." I'd rather have the 2 million tons.

Clyde Lawrence

Mars Hill, N.C.

George Bush could give the enviros everything and they would still wage "holy war" on him. Why? Because they have hijacked the movement for partisan politics, and the environment be damned. The radical left is rapidly marginalizing the environmental movement and destroying its credibility. Their "all or nothing" approach will result in much more of the latter than the former.

Daniel H. Houck

Albuquerque

Despite John Carey's characterization, it is not "hyperbole" to say that Bush has the worst environmental record in history. It is a fact. The League of Conservation Voters Inc. 2003 Presidential Report Card gives Bush an "F" for his environmental record, the first time a President has ever earned a failing grade. The report can be accessed at www.lcv.org.

This assessment comes not simply from the environmental community -- it comes from within Bush's own party. The very week that Carey's article appeared, 13 states filed suit against the Bush Administration for its efforts to gut important provisions in the Clean Air Act. Two of the states in the lawsuit have Republican attorney generals, and seven of those states have prominent Republican governors, including George E. Pataki of New York, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, and Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. of Maryland.

Deb Callahan

President

League of Conservation Voters

Washington

Implied in Carey's piece is the idea that environmentalists "want" something, and this "want" is somehow equivalent to and to be balanced against what polluting entities want. What environmentalists want is the preservation of the commonwealth -- a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment for all of us and our heirs. What polluting entities want is the right to profit by degrading the commonwealth, and for the rest of us to pick up the tab. These are equal considerations? The White House has made it clear that it stands firmly behind the right of polluting entities to profit by degradation of the commonwealth.

If the Bush Administration has not received credit from environmentalists for a precious few environmentally positive actions, it is because in every case it did the minimum it could get away with in order to create some positive "spin."

Michael Cuddehe

Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Environmentalists were repeatedly referred to as "enviros," but Administration advocates were never referred to as "politicos." Please be consistent and use nicknames for both sides or neither.

Allen Arata

Los Angeles

The President could have been the one person to change the planet for the better without any new regulations or twisted trading schemes. He could have used his pulpit by declaring: Let us all improve the air, land, and water around us by using fewer inputs, increasing the fuel efficiency of our rolling stock, reclaiming wherever possible, renewing efforts in related research, and changing our personal habits to become stewards of the earth.

When Jimmy Carter asked people to slip on a sweater, they laughed. If George Bush had done it, they would have listened.

Wolfgang Sailler

Salem, Ore. Your piece "Qwest: Off the critical list, but..." (Information Technology, Nov. 3) captured the enthusiasm and optimism employees at Qwest Communications International Inc. (Q) feel about its improving prospects. I say this as someone with an intimate knowledge of the company. The last year has not been easy. The management team, led by Richard C. Notebaert, faced daunting challenges and, despite dramatic progress, has more hurdles ahead. We demonstrated our faith by reaching an early labor agreement largely based on our confidence that Notebaert will bring Qwest to profitability.

Dick Notebaert is both an optimist and a realist -- he recognizes the challenges and is willing to face them head-on. He will roll up his sleeves and work shoulder-to-shoulder with 48,000 other employees for Qwest's future. That attitude builds confidence among the workforce.

Morton Bahr

President

Communications Workers of America

Washington Speaking from experience, the "Dell way" must pertain only to co-managers, not low-level staff -- and certainly not customers ("What you don't know about Dell," Cover Story, Nov. 3). For a year I endured the other "Dell way," which is anything but "admitting a problem, sharing responsibility, or challenging the boss." This company is an information-technology Wal-Mart whose temporary success is based on price and distribution, not innovation or service.

Bradford Zak

Rochester, Mich.

In its zeal to be highly efficient and save costs, Dell Inc. (DELL) has chosen to set up its phone bank in India and have its e-mail reps offer canned solutions. While that's fine for Dell's bottom line, it is not so good if you're a Dell user in need of assistance in a timely fashion.

Michael Koehl

Orono, Minn.

I own two Dell computers, both bought in the U.S. You couldn't pay me to take another. Bad computers? No, not at all. But the after-purchase service? "Stinks" is a polite word. The first time I sought after-purchase help, Dell (Puerto Rico) sent the parts to the Bahamas. On another occasion, after a three-month wait for a part, I was told they could not replace it at all. Then, after many phone calls, it was suggested I start all over and reorder the part. I have since bought three more computers. None of them is a Dell.

J.A. Mark Emmerson

Pembroke, Bermuda Re "What's in a name for black job seekers?" (Economic Viewpoint, Nov. 3): I thought conservatives doggedly fought to have every individual judged on his or her own merits. Apparently not. Discrimination based on white-sounding vs. black-sounding names seems to be acceptable because it is simply the human-resources system brilliantly detecting underlying socioeconomic status (SES) patterns and miraculously choosing, based solely on a name, those whose parents have a higher SES. Discrimination by any other name is discrimination.

Peter D. Jacobson

Ann Arbor, Mich.


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