Utah Governor Leavitt, with his "Enlibra" fake-out,is headed to Washington to take over the Environmental Protection Agency.
And that's not a good thing.
Though enlibra sounds like some ancient principle derived from Caesar Augustus, its origins can be traced to a meeting a few years ago in the Utah governor's office. According to one former staffer who attended the meeting, Leavitt came into the room and said, "Let's invent a word. Let's invent a word that means balance and reasonableness in environmental debate." After some informal discussions, the result was enlibra — the type of trendy term that could promise a better night's sleep, better sex or, in this case, a "balanced" environmental policy. It may be the first manufactured political trademark.
Leavitt found that the phrases "dirty air for higher corporate profits" or "fewer trees mean more roads" were not instant sellers. However, calling for enlibra was something that few could contest — or understand, for that matter. If anyone objected, Leavitt would simply respond with an element of sympathy that they simply did not understand enlibra. They were "unenlibrated." [Jonathan Turley, L. A. Times]
And another story:
Larry Young, the executive director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, said the governor has never been willing to use enlibra principles to resolve the perennial dispute over Utah wilderness. "He invites people to the table who he knows are going to agree with the decisions he's going to reach and calls everyone else an extremist," Young said.
This administration did not have a great record on the environment even before Leavitt, as in this story from the WestVirgian Gazette:
THE U.S. Department of the Interior wants to provide coal operators with "one-stop permitting" for mountaintop removal mining, new government records reveal.
Scientific studies ... have confirmed that without much stronger restrictions, mountaintop removal will destroy huge portions of Appalachian forests and streams.
" Mountaintop [removal] mining operations in the Appalachian coalfields involve fundamental changes to the region's landscape and terrestrial wildlife habitats," the draft [Environmental Impact Statement] study concluded. "With the increasing size of these operations, a single permit may involve changing thousands of acres of hardwood forest into grassland.
... On Friday, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved a final rule that helps to legalize valley fills.
I doubt this appointment is going to improve things.