NRDC Report Claims White House Is "Rewriting Rules" for Industry

In its third annual assessment of Bush administration environmental policies, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) documents what it claims are more than 150 destructive policy actions committed over the past year.

"Rewriting the Rules: The Bush Administration's Assault on the Environment 2004" describes recent regulatory changes that allegedly impact landmark protections the environment. In addition, the report profiles what the NRDC claims is new evidence of industry's direct role in crafting the administration's most controversial policy proposals.

"America's environmental laws have succeeded in improving and protecting our air, water, lands and quality of life. Today, it is clearer than ever that these laws now face a fundamental threat more sweeping and dangerous than any since the dawn of the modern environmental movement," said NRDC senior attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

After years of steady improvement, data indicate that the nation's water and air pollution are getting worse under Bush's tenure. The report cites the following actions by the administration as being detrimental to the environment:

  • Granting special exemptions to allow the injection of sewage into deep wells in Florida, despite the government's own studies that show that pollution could contaminate drinking water supplies.
  • Loosening restrictions on the release of inadequately treated sewage into waterways while shelving long-standing proposals to reduce sewage spills that every year contaminate beaches and coastal waters with bacteria, viruses, and fecal matter.
  • Cutting a deal with the state of Utah that threatens to open millions of acres of wilderness-quality public lands to drilling, mining, road building and other developments.
  • Rejecting tough new mercury standards in favor of a plan that would allow nearly seven times as much mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants for nearly 20 more years.
  • Easing environmental safeguards and public participation requirements to promote logging in national forests and oil and gas drilling on pristine public lands.

"With the blessing of the White House, federal environmental policy has been hijacked by the least responsible industry interests," said Gregory Wetstone, NRDC's director of advocacy. "The environmental excesses documented in the report reflect a system under siege."

"Rewriting the Rules" is available on NRDC's Web site at

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