Co-written by Sam Graham-Felsen.
Of all of the disastrous hallmarks of the Bush presidency, Bush’s darkest legacy in the long run may be his unmitigated assault on the environment and his deliberate campaign to cover up the immediate threat of global warming.
The Bush Administration has undermined the Environmental Protection Agency, appointed corporate cronies in the oil industry to critical environmental posts, and muzzled top scientists from warning the public about the imminent climate crisis. It was no exaggeration when Al Gore said “George W. Bush has by all odds been by far the worst president for the environment in the entire history of the United States of America — bar none.”
Yet, Bush’s actions have brought the environmental movement closer together than ever before, as activists have redoubled their efforts to combat Bush’s relentless assault on the planet. On Earth Day 2006, we salute those who took part in the top five environmental victories of the past year.
Saving ANWR: In what the Sierra Club called an “against-all-odds victory for wildlife, wild places and all Americans,” the Senate rejected Sen Ted Stevens’ (R-AK) attempt to attach provisions to the Defense Appropriations Bill last December that would have opened up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling for oil. And weeks ago, the House Budget Committee also refused to appropriate funds for ANWR drilling in the FY2007 budget. Thanks to overwhelming pressure from environmental advocates, one of our nation’s most pristine natural refuges remains safe from corporate poachers.
Governors Embrace Apollo: In July, The Apollo Alliance, one of the best progressive ideas of the millennium, gained some important new supporters. Six new Democratic governors–Rod Blagojevich (IL), Jim Doyle (WI), Christine Gregoire (WA), Ted Kulongoski (OR), Janet Napolitano (AZ), and Brian Schweitzer (MT)–joined an earlier trio–Jennifer Granholm (MI), Ed Rendel (PA), and Bill Richardson (NM)–in embracing the Alliance’s goal of achieving sustainable American energy independence within a decade. The nine governors are all leaders in state-based efforts at energy efficiency and increased use of renewables, the core twin planks of the Apollo program. That program calls for a national investment of $300 billion over the course of ten years to build the basic production and distribution infrastructure needed for a cleaner energy economy.