David Dreisin - Bush Policy Paper

David Dreisin - Bush Policy Paper - Dreisin 1 The Bush...

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Dreisin 1 The Bush Administration’s Environmental Policy and its Impacts on Marine Life Overview Since the start of the industrial revolution in the late 19 th century, the human race has increasingly relied on technologies which damage, pollute, and deface the world in which we live. The factories necessary to supply us with the goods we are accustomed to spew waste into our streams and lakes, which flow constantly into the world’s oceans. The modern conveniences that we rely on every day emit billions of metric tons of car- bon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, dramatically shifting natural climate patterns and accelerating global warming, a problem with more consequences than simply melting of the ice caps, such as the decimation of countless marine species and the disruption of ecosystems (Harley). Over the last 40 years, however, great strides have been made towards regulating this arguably necessary evil, with legislation such as the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, or NEPA, which forces federally funded industries to properly dispose of all waste (NRDC). Other examples of such efforts include the Clean Air Act of 1966 and the amendments which followed it, and the Clean Water Act, which consists of legisla- tion to reduce SO 2, CO 2, mercury emissions, and other gases, from major polluters (NRDC). There has also been a strong international effort to face the global dilemma. The Kyoto Protocol, which has been signed by every major industrialized nation other than the U.S. and China, puts a cap on the CO 2 emissions of the countries that have rati- fied it (CNN). The federal government has also, in the past, stepped in to prevent the over-fishing problem off the shores of our east coast, restricted the mining waste that was being dumped into our streams, and curbed the destruction of estuaries and wetlands (NRDC). However, as we progress further into the 21 st century, it is becoming more appar- ent that President Bush and his administration are willing to undo much of the substantial progress that has been made in environmental protection in order to accommodate large industries and local economies. As such, the steps being taken to allow the destruction of our skies and oceans is not the work of some inexplicably evil man seeking to destroy our planet, but of a man with priorities which do not run parallel to those of someone with concern to the lands we inhabit. Throughout President Bush’s term, he has taken a very troublesome stance to- wards the environment and its preservation, starting with the quiet dismantlement of the Clean Air Act. Although he has not tried removing any of the well advertised aspects of the act, he is still changing it for the worse, pressing large factories to bypass Mercury treatment of their emissions, which in turn increases Mercury levels in the ocean. Re- strictions on CO 2 levels have also been lessened for the big polluters, increasing the CO 2 in the air and ocean. However, his potential ideas for “helping” the CO 2 level issue is
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