NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Bush Administration Earns C- for Environmental Policy

January 22, 2003

President Bush's administration only earned a grade of C- for its environmental and natural resource policies during its first two years, according to PERC -- The Center for Free Market Environmentalism. In a new report card, administration policies were graded according to free market environmentalism, an approach based on the recognition that private property rights encourage stewardship and trade encourages cooperation and cost-effectiveness.

The administration got some low marks for following policies proposed by the Clinton adminstration. On the positive side, the PERC report notes:

  • President Bush resisted European efforts to keep out genetically modified crops (which can reduce the need for some chemicals), and he issued food labeling rules that will give consumers objective information about organic crops.
  • The administration is trying to tie revenues from oil development in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to investments in environmental improvement.
  • The administration withdrew the Clinton administration's regulation expanding access to companies' risk management plans, although the plans can still be viewed at public libraries.

At the very last minute, the Bush administration raised its grade with an innovative policy that will allow watersheds to be protected through trading among interested parties -- including sewage treatment plants, farmers, industrial facilities and environmental groups.

Source: Press Release on Bruce Yandle and Jane S. Shaw, eds., "Mid-Term Report Card: Bush Administration's Environmental Policy," PERC -- The Center For Free Market Environmentalism, January 22, 2003.


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