Tuesday, July 29, 2003

More PERC: And just to show that the Bozeman think tank isn't just a Republican apologist group, they positively slammed W. in his Mid-Term Report card on environmental policy (pdf link available for the whole report). Some highlights.

On the 2002 Farm Act:

Like all major farm bills over the last
two decades, the 2002 farm bill became a
political Christmas tree, with ornaments
attached by politicians representing specific
commodity interests as well as other
constituents of their various states. The act
induces land, labor, and capital resources
to remain in the farm sector–where they
will be inefficiently utilized. In addition,
the act produces an inequitable distribution
of income. The principal beneficiaries
will be large commercial farmers who already
have incomes and wealth above the
average for all Americans. Environmentally,
the act is a step backwards because
it motivates farmers to use more chemicals.
On "Changing the Debate" about air quality:
Although the Bush administration can’t
control what other organizations claim, it
has missed an opportunity to change the
debate by focusing on real trends in air pollution
levels and risks. Instead, it has played
by its critics’ rules, implicitly conceding a
false view of the nation’s air quality and then
asserting that policies like Clear Skies will
solve an artificially inflated problem.
He even blew it on ANWR:
For trying to tie revenues from oil development
in ANWR to investments in environmental
improvements, the Bush administration
deserves high marks. Because
it did not give environmental interests a
more direct stake in how oil revenues would
be invested, however, the administration
receives a C.
The fun part is looking (deep) for an issue where he gets a good score. Let's see...Ahhh, "B's" on Chemical Plant Security, Regulatory Review, and Water Quality.

I can only hope that some of this was Chrisite Whitman's fault, but I'm not very hopeful right now. Anyone who was hoping that Bush's rhetoric on the environment would offset his, ahem, less than consistent free market record (finger pointing at self, stomach turning) needs to read this report. If something doesn't change in the next two years, I may consider a protest vote myself.

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