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Conservatives Want To Strip Policy Allowing Public Involvement in Environmental Decisions

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Following heavy lobbying from various corporate interests, the Bush Adminstration and conservatives in Congress are trying to strip a nearly four-decade rule allowing public involvement in government decisions affecting the environment.

In this latest example of conservatives choosing Corporate America over individual rights, conservatives are trying to place broad limits on the National Environmental Policy Act. The Nixon-era statute, known as the Magna Carta of environmental law, requires the government to guarantee the public information and a forum on environmental actions that could harm natural surroundings or disturb neighborhoods.

The federal government takes an estimated 50,000 actions each year — including building campgrounds in national forests and plotting the routes of superhighways. Each of those actions, involving federal land, funds and permits, is subject to scrutiny under NEPA.

A number of industries, including mining, timber, energy, construction, ranching and farming, have argued that the law has held up progress on everything from highway construction to drilling for oil and gas in the Rocky Mountains.

But the number of NEPA-related lawsuits has been minimal. Just 137 in 2001 and 150 in 2002, according to the nonprofit Environmental Law Institute in Washington. That’s .0003. Put another way, the public seeks to get involved in just three of every 1,000 government actions. Meanwhile, the number of full environmental impact statements required under the statute has declined from up to 3,000 a year in the 1970s to about 500 annually, according to the University of Minnesota.

But that’s not good enough for Corporate America and its conservative friends in Washington.

“It has been used as a stick in the spokes of the wheels of progress,” Russ Brooks, an attorney with the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, told the Los Angeles Times for a July 7 story. According to its website, the foundation supports Bush in his efforts to fight “hard-core environmentalist organizations.”

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The Bush Administration, working with their lackeys in Congress, says it wants to “reform” the act. Critics say they want to “gut” it.

So far, conservatives have been able to exempt some categories of federal actions from NEPA assessments. And they aren’t done. The energy bill passed by the House would insulate certain oil and gas drilling projects on public lands from NEPA reviews. Although the Senate version of the bill does not include the exemptions, conservationists are concerned that the House exemptions will resurface in a final bill.

“NEPA is at a crossroads,” Bradley C. Karkkainen, a University of Minnesota law professor who is an expert on the statute, told the Times. “We could end up undoing 35 years of progress or [providing] a NEPA that can address the environmental challenges of the 21st century. It could go either way.”

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This article first appeared on Journalists Against Bush’s B.S. (JABBS)

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About David R. Mark

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Pretty soon this David Brock book is going to become the equivalent of Ann Coulter’s book in marking an article as pure partisan trolling.

    Dave

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    Dave Nalle: Do facts bother you? Is it easier to insult me than to discuss the issues at hand?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I didn’t even read the post. Like the Coulter book, the Brock book means don’t read the post, it’s too partisan to take seriously. Facts I take seriously. Partisan ranting I take a pass on. BTW, the title of your own blog has a similar effect on me. Can’t take a word you say seriously.

    Dave

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    That’s unfortunate. Ignorance is bliss.

  • Nancy

    Let me see: “Public” means anyone who’s a citizen of the united states, right? Or it means things paid for & supported with tax dollars paid by all citizens of the united states, right? So, now Smirk & co. want to exclude the public from commenting about proposed federal uses of public lands, so that private (i.e. NON public), for-profit corporations can use these lands as they will? Is there a disconnect here? What part of “public” does SmirkCo not understand?

    Swear to God, Smirk gets more & more brazen every day. Guess he figures since he’ll never be up for re-election again, he might as well gouge what he can for his rich buddies while he can.

    Dave, when someone knee-jerk refuses to listen to FACTS because they’re detrimental to their political party, it’s called willful blindness. You’d have a lot more credibility if you’d at least listen first before rejecting, like some of us try to.

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    if the Administration has it’s way on this, then so much for a government “by the People, of the People and for the People”

    especially when it comes to concerned citizens and their environment

    but hey…it “the End of Days” and who cares…the Trump and Shout are coming!!

    /end sarcasm

    Excelsior!

  • Nancy

    It was the end of government by, for, & of the people when Smirk got elected, IMO; it then became openly the government by, for, and of the rich & privileged. I thought you knew that.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Dave, when someone knee-jerk refuses to listen to FACTS because they’re detrimental to their political party, it’s called willful blindness. You’d have a lot more credibility if you’d at least listen first before rejecting, like some of us try to.< <

    I'm not rejecting his 'facts', I'm rejecting his extreme partisan bias. Give me the same facts without the rhetoric and prejudice and I'll gladly consider them.

    >>t was the end of government by, for, & of the people when Smirk got elected, IMO; it then became openly the government by, for, and of the rich & privileged. I thought you knew that.<<

    This, by the way, is utter crap. The policies which you say support the rich, actually support everyone, you just have personal blinders which continually make you think that what benefits everyone only benefits the rich.

    Dave

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    I don’t know how anyone can look at the facts (in this case) and think the Bush Administration is looking out for individual rights.

    Dave, I doubt you’ve read the David Brock book, and I doubt you’re all that familiar with things Ann Coulter has said over the years. For you to make a comparison between me (or my blog) and Ann Coulter just shows your ignorance.

    If you want to have a debate on the issues, fine. If you want to cite flaws in my reasoning, go ahead. But don’t reduce the debate to such silly things as comparing me to Coulter.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>I don’t know how anyone can look at the facts (in this case) and think the Bush Administration is looking out for individual rights. < <

    Did I ever claim that? The Patriot Acts alone are enough to tell you that individual rights aren't this administrations priority.

    >>Dave, I doubt you’ve read the David Brock book, and I doubt you’re all that familiar with things Ann Coulter has said over the years. For you to make a comparison between me (or my blog) and Ann Coulter just shows your ignorance. < <

    I'm actually quite familiar with both. Not with this book by Brock, but with much of his other writing. I'll admit he's not as bad as Coulter, but he's the same kind of writer. All rhetoric and bias with little substance.

    >>If you want to have a debate on the issues, fine. If you want to cite flaws in my reasoning, go ahead. But don’t reduce the debate to such silly things as comparing me to Coulter.<<

    I never compared you with Coulter, I compared Brock to Coulter and those who use the Brock book as their only amazon link with those who use Coulter as their only amazon link. I suppose that specifically I was comparing you with John Bambenek who seems to be your mirror twin on the right.

    Dave

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    Dave Nalle: I’m actually quite familiar with both. Not with this book by Brock, but with much of his other writing. >>

    So, you don’t know what you are talking about.

    All rhetoric and bias with little substance.>>

    Actually, Brock cites everything, both in his book and on his website. Unlike Coulter, who mis-cites things (you can read any number of criticisms that look at her mis-citations point by point, most notably by http://www.dailyhowler.com)

    Again, if you want to say that my reasoning is flawed, fine. But I attribute, I cite, I run entire quotes, etc. That’s hardly like Coulter.

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    Furthermore, all this talk about Brock and Coulter has nothing to do with the original post.

    Maybe, Dave, you could argue the merits of the actual article, rather than stereotyping it?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    David, did I ever, ever try to defend Coulter? She’s absolutely beyond defense. But the point I originally made is still valid. It would be nice to see something in your amazon links which was more useful than a purely partisan political attack book. Same for Bambenek and a few others. Why not offer several Amazon choices, or at least something of some interest to a general audience?

    That’s all I’m really saying here.

    As for the merits of the actual piece, what is there to discuss? As you describe it the threat to NEPA assessments appears to be mostly hypothetical with very little of real substance behind it. It’s an interesting issue, but there’s nothing in your article except for some slams on Republicans for even considering exempting anything from NEPA assessments.

    Dave

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    I didn’t say you were defending Coulter. But why let the facts get in the way of a good argument.

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    BTW, my new post uses different ads.

    You win. If this will get you back to discussing the elements of my posts, rather than the name of my blog or which books I favor, so be it.

    But, before you slam the Brock book or suggest it is the equivalent of a Coulter book, you might want to read the Brock book. Just like before you suggest that Richard Mellon Scaife and George Soros are not comparable, you might want to know first who Scaife is.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I did read up on Scaife once he was brought up, and it’s clear that he’s not comparable to Soros. Scaife is to Soros as Brock is to Coulter. They’re in the same category but not in the same league, if you know what I mean.

    Dave

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    true enough..Scaife is much more insidious , and has been doing this for much longer and at a much higher level than Soros has even dreamed of yet

    so, how about the points raised in the original Post?

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I already addressed them, Gonzo. As for Scaife, I just don’t see it. He’s got a couple of things going, but nothing on the scale or pervasiveness of Soros.

    Dave

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    then might i put it to you that you have not looked hard enough yet?

    Scaife has been around for quite the time, and is much more adept at putting layers between himself and the final project…

    compared to what he has accomplished since Reagan, Soror is a rank amatuer

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I can only go by what I’ve scene documented, Gonzo, and if you made a map of the documented web of influence for Soros vs. Scaife, right now Soros is ahead. Other more shadowy connections that Scaife has may just be hard to track down, as you suggest.

    Dave

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    not really, it’s just that some of them are old, and most involve Agencies that Scaife bankrolled, whereas Soros is pretty up front about the things he has backed…

    http://mediamatters.org/items/200506090002

    popped up , top of the google search, and it leads to quite a few instances of Scaife’s actions in some of these matters

    i fully realize you may not liek the source of the Article, but i do think you will find the meat of it, as well as the content and links, are accurate and can lead you to further information relevant to our particular sub-discussion

    all i am trying to point out here, is that if you look…for every “Soros” you can find plenty of “Scaife’s”

    kind of like the difference between Brock and Coulter…each are quite partisan…but some utilize facts and are aboveboard in their endeavors…while others stay behind the scenes, and don’t always do their fact checking accurately

    but i think you get my point…

    Excelsior!

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    Thanks, gonzo marx, for doing some research on this.

    It’s always amazed me how conservatives are quick to mention Soros, but simultaneously are unaware (or pretend to be unaware) of Scaife’s long history.

    Maybe it’s because so many conservative pundits — John Fund, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, etc. — were given big boosts in their careers by Scaife? Hmmm.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I had truthfully never heard of Scaife until he was mentioned here on BC. Guess I’m not part of the great conservative blog conspiracy.

    As for people being above board, Coulter has a way more prominent public profile than Brock does, even if she doesn’t check her facts terribly well. She’s certainly not working behind the scenes nefariously. Anything but.

    Dave

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    the “behind the scenes” bit was for Scaife

    i first heard of him, and his ties to Cheney and various other neocons, back in the 80s

    to me, Soros is much closer to Rupert Murdoch…both are very aboveboard in what they are doing…granted, soros doesn’t own a ton of media outlets…but if he bought some newspapers, radio stations…and then CNN…calling it “unbiased and objective” or something…then he woudl be in Murdoch’s league…give him time…i fairly certain the two are similar enough

    Scaife is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish…as Ciccio put it in the Godfather II, “yeah Senator..the Family has a while lot of buffers”…

    so it does not suprise me that you are unaware of just who he is…it’s like knowing who hid behind Ralph Reed for the last 10 years and so on

    no worries Mr Nalle…i honestly don’t think you rise to that level of ethical bankruptcy…i think you’re just misguided…

    heh

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I see the Soros to Murdoch comparison. It makes some sense. So then who’s the liberal equivalent of Scaife – working behind the scenes and all? Robert Raich?

    >>no worries Mr Nalle…i honestly don’t think you rise to that level of ethical bankruptcy…i think you’re just misguided…<<

    I’m just guided by my own moral compass, which I trust more than Bush’s or most anyone else’s.

    Dave

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    Reich, to the best of my knowledge, was never behind a multi-year, multi-million effort to dredge up old, previouslt debunked rumors about a sitting president and first lady.

    Scaife was.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I guess the question on Scaife is whether he’s really a pervasive partisan influence or just anti-Clinton. From what I’ve read he came into his shadowy political role to go after the Clintons, and isn’t necessarily motivated against Democrats in general.

    Dave

  • http://uncledexterity.blogs.friendster.com/lameass_blog/ Tristan

    (This is going back a ways in the thread, but…) Actually, the of, by, and for the people ended not when Bush was elected, but… wait… can something end if it’s never begun? This country has always had barriers in place to prevent the uneducated masses from getting any real power. (electoral college anyone?) So that statement is and has always been bolgna.

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    Dave — Scaife may have placed a large target on the Clintons, but he remains a prominent backer of think tanks, books and other journalistic efforts, etc., today.

    And if a Democrat were to regain the White House, I’m sure there would be a new Scaife-led effort against him/her.