Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Environmental injustice

The Bush administration has been backing off from the federal government's traditional role as enforcer of pollution laws, the Washington Post reported. Criminal cases filed against polluters have dropped off by more than a third, and civil cases have fallen nearly 70 percent, EPA and Justice Department data reveal, the newspaper said. Of course, administration officials say this merely reflects a new approach to environmental enforcement that concentrates on cleanups, not criminal enforcement. But the administration has repeatedly failed the truth test on its statements -- think Iraq. More likely, the relaxation of enforcement relects a classic Republican tactic of bowing to the demands of large corporations that usually are the party's biggest campaign contributors. Of course, businesses have a huge stake in what the government does and have a right to object to things they disagree with. But let's not forget -- the president didn't get to the top of the Republican Party by disappointing its most important supporters.

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