Green Groups Grade Bush's First 100 Days

Environmental advocates are calling the first three months of Bush's presidency "the most anti-environmental 100 days of any administration in history."

Environmental advocates gave President Bush an "F" for his environmental performance over the last three months of his administration calling it "the most anti-environmental 100 days of any administration in history."

"This has been the worst three months for environmental protection in the last 30 years," said Gregory Wetstone, Natural Resources Defense Council''s (NRDC) director of advocacy. "At this rate, by the end of President Bush''s four-year term there will be little remaining of the popular environmental programs that protect our air, water, land and wildlife."

Gene Karpinski, executive director of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, echoed Wetstone''s words, saying that Bush''s broken promises on the environment are a "betrayal."

"In his first three months in office, President Bush has delayed new standards for arsenic in drinking water, reversed a policy requiring mining companies to pay clean-up costs for toxic waste sites, delayed implementation of the National Forests protection policy and broke his own campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants," said Karpinski.

Karpinski also said that Bush derailed years of international efforts on global warming by turning his back on the Kyoto Protocol, and proposed deep budget cuts in already underfunded environmental enforcement agencies.

Environmentalists are accusing Bush of favoring his campaign contributors over the environment.

"Instead of serving the public and protecting our environment, this administration is taking its cues directly from the oil industry, the mining industry and other corporate polluters that put George W. Bush in office," said Alyssondra Campaigne, NRDC''s legislative director.

The Sierra Club and the Mellman Group released a poll finding that after Bush''s first 100 days, most Americans do not trust President Bush to protect the environment.

The poll found that by a 2 to 1 margin, Americans prefer to solve the energy shortages by reducing demand rather than increasing supply. In addition, Americans strongly disapprove of President Bush''s plans to drill the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and our national monuments.

"This poll shows that President Bush''s anti-environmental actions are out of step with Americans'' values," said Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. "Even people who voted for Bush did not vote for more arsenic in their drinking water or more global warming pollution."

According to the Sierra Club poll, overall, 58 percent of voters polled gave Bush a negative rating for protecting the environment and 27 percent gave his a positive rating.

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed opposed President Bush''s decision to change the arsenic standards, while 32 percent agreed with it.

"President Bush''s environmental policies are costing him public support," said Mark Mellman, president and CEO of the Mellman Group. "The more these issues are debated and the more the public learns, the greater the damage to President Bush. President Bush''s job performance on the environment is strikingly low, and Americans do not trust him to fight for them on environmental issues."

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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