• George Bush and Dick Cheney look toward November 7th.

With the presidential campaign nearing an end the airwaves are filledwith ads rich in impressions, but short on substance. This can leavevoters scratching their heads and wondering what the candidates reallybelieve, but both Al Gore and George Bush do have positions on theenvironment. In the first of a two-part series the Great Lakes RadioConsortium’s Lester Graham reports on the environmental views ofRepublican George Bush:


With the presidential campaign nearing an end, the airwaves are filled with ads rich in
impressions, but short on substance. This can leave voters scratching their heads and
wondering what the candidates really believe. But both Al Gore and George Bush do
have positions on the environment. In the first of a two-part series, the Great Lakes
Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports on the environmental views of Republican
George Bush.

It’s rare that George W. Bush talks about the environment, but when he does,
He compares himself to most other republicans, who believe in fewer federal
mandates on environmental issues. And… he says state and local governments
should have more control over the rules and regulations that affect
business. During the second presidential debate, Bush explained himself this
way: he believes the federal government should set standards for the
environment, but not dictate how states and businesses reduce pollution…

“It starts with working in a collaborative effort with states and
local folks. You know, if you own the land, everyday is earth day. And, uh,
people care a lot about their land and care about their environment. Not all
wisdom is in Washington, D.C. on this issue.”

Bush says this struggle between federal and local control is the fundamental
difference between his approach and Democrat Al Gore’s approach to
environmental issues.

In a recent debate between environmental advisors for the bush and gore
campaigns, Christopher de-Muth spent a great deal of time trying to place
his candidate’s views into a historical perspective. De-muth, who advises
George Bush, says there are major differences between the environmental
philosophies of Bush and Al Gore. Demuth says Gore’s is a pie-in-the-sky,
impractical view, while Bush’s is one that considers political realities and
economic impacts…

“George Bush is a practical environmentalist. Al Gore is a romantic
environmentalist. We are today in the world of practical environmentalism
and romantic environmentalism of the Gore variety is increasingly out of
step with politics and economics, dysfunctional and counter-productive.”

De-muth says as governor of Texas, George Bush has dealt with environmental
problems by devising practical compromises. And he says Bush has also worked
with businesses to find the best ways to reduce pollution. And while Bush
has been doing all that, says de-muth, his opponent, Al Gore, has been
preaching a different view of the environment… one that speaks of impending
catastrophe, and that becomes self-righteously indignant toward anyone who
suggests a compromise.

Many environmentalists have questioned governor Bush’s record in Texas. They
say pollution has gone nearly unabated… and that the governor has appointed
big industry employees to head up the state’s regulatory agencies. But
George Bush says he is an environmentalist… or more precisely a
conservationist. He says he wants to protect the environment just as much as
Al Gore…

“I think both of us care a lot about the environment. We may have
different approaches. We may have different approaches in terms of how we
deal with local folks.”

But the Gore camp says the differences between the two candidates are not
just a simple matter of different approaches. Katy McGinty is Al Gore’s
chief environmental advisor. She scoffs at Bush’s statements that he wants
to protect the environment.

“Governor Bush would have us believe that he too is an
environmentalist. He just has a different approach, a different philosophy.
Bunk! No one holds a candle to Al Gore when it comes to thinking of and
pursuing new and innovative strategies on the environment, reinventing the
way we achieve environmental progress.”

Bush’s environmental advisor says McGinty’s claims that George Bush is not
an environmentalist at all is the kind of condemnation typical of romantic
environmentalists. Christopher de-muth says that’s something governor bush
has overcome because of his political experience in Texas.

“I know that he feels the tug of romantic environmentalism, that
He is in his personal life a strong conservationist, but he has been the
Governor of a large, urbanized, industrialized state, which has a lot of
Pollution control challenges and where he has had to face the practicalities
On a day to day basis for several years.”

De-muth says if elected to the white house… George Bush would deal with
environmental issues much as he has in Texas… finding a balance between the
economic interests of industry and environmental protection… and making most
of the decisions on how to strike that balance at the local level.

For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.