W is seemingly unsatisfied to stand on his already substantial record of inaction and obstruction on the most important issue facing humanity. In the last month of his presidency, he is closing the “back doors” on regulation of carbon dioxide, creating additional climate policy barriers for the Obama presidency to overcome.
Specifically, the Bush Administration barred the Environmental Protection Agency from considering the effects of global warming on protected species. It also excluded carbon dioxide from a list of pollutants that the EPA regulates under the Clean Air Act.
Environmentalists view the moves as a last-minute attempt to block speedy, executive action by the president-elect on climate change. Obama "now has to clean up a mess," said David Bookbinder, chief climate counsel for the Sierra Club, which has challenged the EPA over the Clean Air Act decision and plans to sue to block it.
Bush is also using his final days to hand out goodies to his friends in the coal industry. Environmental groups are challenging another last minute anti-environment edict from the Bush Whitehouse allowing coal companies to fill streams with mine tailings.
“With the stroke of a pen, President Bush has made unlawful acts by the coal industry legal and will allow their assaults on our homes, our way of life and the destruction of our headwater streams to continue,” said Chuck Nelson, a former deep miner, now a volunteer organizer and board member of the West Virginia-based Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.
“A change in the stream buffer zone rule on Bush's watch only adds to his pathetic legacy as one of the worst presidents in our nation’s history.”
The coal industry wasted no time in demonstrating what toxic mine tailings do to a river. Two weeks after Bush granted them the ability to destroy creeks with poisonous coal sludge, there was a massive tailings dam failure in Tennessee, which covered 400 acres of land with toxic ash up to six feet deep.
According to local news reports millions of yards of ashy toxic sludge broke through a dike at TVA's Kingston coal-fired plant, covering hundreds of acres and knocking one home off its foundation. Coal ash can carry toxic substances that include mercury, arsenic and lead, according to a federal study.
So much for the $35 million PR industry myth of “clean coal”.
As for Bush, it is remarkable that a man who has already so thoroughly discredited himself and the Office of the Presidency still feels there is more left to do.
There are as yet no reports of W burning the furniture in the Oval Office, or trying to plug the executive toilet, but he still has 20 days to go...