NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 27, 2004

Some eco-activists are distorting President Bush's record on the environment by reporting only half-truths, says the Heartland Institute.

According to attorneys Gary Baise and Bryan Brendt, an August 12 report issued by Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and other groups have accused the Bush administration of ignoring wetlands policies that will result in the loss of "tens of millions of acres," and of abandoning Clinton's "roadless rule" designed to preserve 50 million acres of forest from logging and other activities.

But consider the facts:

  • The hype over wetlands designations is not due to Bush's policies, but is the result of a 2001 Supreme Court ruling that prohibits the Army Corps of Engineers from using the Migratory Bird Act to claim jurisdiction over wetlands.
  • The Bush administration has moved to centralize and standardize wetlands decisions within the Army Corps of Engineers' headquarters in Washington, D.C., in order to reduce confusion among state and local regulators and private groups.
  • The report criticizes 15 decisions made by the Army Corps of Engineers regarding wetlands designations, but fails to mention the other 99,985 wetlands decisions made by the Corps that they did support.
  • The Clinton-era "roadless rule" was challenged by several states in federal trial courts, which have established varying interpretations of the vague and ambiguous rule; as a result, the Bush administration is proposing to rescind the rule altogether.

Bush is merely attempting to clarify a patchwork of environmental rules that have resulted in confusion and litigation, say Baise and Brendt.

Source: Gary Baise and Bryan Brendle, "Environmental Groups Distort Bush Record,"Environment and Climate News, Vol. 7, No. 9, Heartland Institute, October 2004; and Earthjustice et. al., "Reckless Abandon: How the Bush Administration is Exposing America?s Waters to Harm," Earthjustice, August 2004.


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