Recently in Environment Category
This conflates two very different things. Katrina was an example of the type of disaster that the federal government is specifically tasked with handling. And for most of the 90s, it was very good at handling them. But when George Bush became president and Joe Allbaugh became director of FEMA, everything changed. Allbaugh neither knew nor cared about disaster preparedness. For ideological reasons, FEMA was downsized and much of its work outsourced. When Allbaugh left after less than two years on the job, he was replaced by the hapless Michael Brown and the agency was downgraded and broken up yet again. By the time Katrina hit, the upper levels of FEMA were populated largely with political appointees with no disaster preparedness experience and the agency was simply not up to the job of dealing with a huge storm anymore.
The Deepwater Horizon explosion is almost the exact opposite. There is no federal expertise in capping oil blowouts. There is no federal agency tasked specifically with repairing broken well pipes. There is no expectation that the federal government should be able to respond instantly to a disaster like this. There never has been. For better or worse, it's simply not something that's ever been considered the responsibility of the federal government.
But there is one way in which they're similar. As Levin says, Katrina would have been an immense disaster no matter what. But it was far worse than it had to be because a conservative administration, one that fundamentally disdained the mechanics of government for ideological reasons, decided that FEMA wasn't very important. Likewise, the BP blowout was made more likely because that same administration decided that government regulation of private industry wasn't very important and turned the relevant agency into a joke. If you believe that government is the problem, not the solution, and if you actually run the country that way for eight years, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But we shouldn't pretend it's inevitable.
In the end, it all boils down to having competent people in government positions, not ideological cronies scratching their balls.
sfgate.comOh, for Christ's sake, since when is deliberating over greenhouse gas regulations suddenly an attorney-client privilege? And yes, that was a rhetorical question.
Invoking executive privilege, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency refused to provide lawmakers Friday with a full explanation of why it rejected California's greenhouse gas regulations. The EPA informed Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., that many of the documents she had requested contained internal deliberations or attorney-client communications that would not be shared with Congress. "EPA is concerned about the chilling effect that would occur if agency employees believed their frank and honest opinions and analysis expressed as part of assessing California's waiver request were to be disclosed in a broad setting," EPA Associate Administrator Christopher Bliley wrote.
BushCo™ is becoming more and more brazen in it's reach for any lie to cover their asses. These bastards are in the pocket of both the auto industry and the oil industry. What other reason would they have to prevent stricter emission caps, and increased fuel efficiency for cars? The argument that it is too costly simply does not stand up to the fact that cost is far from a concern for this administration.
The Environmental Protection Agency's pursuit of criminal cases against polluters has dropped off sharply during the Bush administration, with the number of prosecutions, new investigations and total convictions all down by more than a third, according to Justice Department and EPA data.
The number of civil lawsuits filed against defendants who refuse to settle environmental cases was down nearly 70 percent between fiscal years 2002 and 2006, compared with a four-year period in the late 1990s, according to those same statistics.
Gee, another government agency not doing it's job? Under the Bush administration? Who'd a thunk! Oh, and while doing so, failing to follow the rule of law?
"You don't get cleanup, and you don't get deterrence," said Eric Schaeffer, who resigned as director of the EPA's Office of Civil Enforcement in 2002 to protest the administration's approach to enforcement and now heads the Environmental Integrity Project, a watchdog group. "I don't think this is a problem with agents in the field. They're capable of doing the work. They lack the political support they used to be able to count on, especially in the White House."
The slower pace of enforcement mirrors a decline in resources for pursuing environmental wrongdoing. The EPA now employs 172 investigators in its Criminal Investigation Division, below the minimum of 200 agents required by the 1990 Pollution Prosecution Act, signed by President George H.W. Bush.
Imagine that, failing to follow a law signed by his father, no less. Color me surprised.
Not buying that last statement, are you?
Ya, I find it a stretch too.