Presidential Profiles – Bush

The candidates running for president have had plenty of opportunities to talk about the issues during the last year. Seldom have they talked about the environment. In the first of a series of reports on the candidates’ positions on environmental issues the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham looks at Republican George W. Bush.


The candidates running for president have had plenty of opportunities to
talk about the issues during the last year. Seldom have they talked about
the environment. In the first of a series of reports on the candidates’
positions on environmental issues. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
Lester Graham looks at republican George W. Bush:

Some supporters say they like George W. Bush because they liked his father.
While in the White House President Bush declared himself the
“environmental president.” Environmentalists generally concede some
advances were made in environmental protection such as in revising the
Clean Air Act and protecting wetlands.

But environmentalists in Texas say Governor George W. Bush does not
have the environmental record his father did. Ken Kramer is the Director
of the Lone Star chapter of the Sierra Club…

“Well, basically under Governor Bush, environmental policy has been

Pretty much dictated by
whatever business and industry wants.”

Kramer says Governor Bush has appointed former industry executives and
industry lobbyists to head environmental agencies that regulate
Kramer feels it’s a natural reaction for Bush. He says Bush is a former oil
wildcatter. He was raised among Texas oil and gas industry executives.

“So, he tends to think of the industry people as folks that he turns

to for information, support,
and advice. He doesn’t turn to environmental organizations or to people who

have a long record of
working with environmental issues to really get information about what

environmental policy should be.
so, pretty much since Bush has become governor, our environmental policies at

the state level have been a
reflection of what business and industry wants.”

The environmental regulations Bush has supported in Texas usually
revolve around voluntary compliance or incentives for pollution
reducing innovations. That approach is popular with business and industry
and it’s paid off for Bush. Oil and gas industry officials are among Bush’s
top contributors. According to federal election commission figures, oil
and gas interests have donated more than one-million dollars to the Bush

Governor Bush rarely speaks about environmental protection on the
campaign trail. When he does use the word “environment” it’s usually
about business environment, as in this New Hampshire speech:

“But, prosperity occurs not ‘cause of government, but because of entrepreneurs and small
businesses and people who are willing to work hard to realize the American dream. And so

the job
(interrupted by applause) and so the job of government is to create an environment in

entrepreneurship can flourish. That’s why I’ll be supporting and proposing tax cuts.

That’s why I’ll support
Less regulation. That’s why I will fight for meaningful long-lasting real tort reform.”

Governor Bush believes environmental standards must be based on the
best science, that market-driven technologies can provide solutions, and
That government should encourage innovation and going beyond

In a speech on the George W. Bush website, the candidate talks about
shifting federal dollars to state and local control, and reinforcing
private property rights.

“As President, I will build conservation partnerships between federal and state

local communities, and land owners to protect and conserve our natural resources. Our

legacy should be an
unwavering commitment to preserve and conserve our treasured lands. A commitment I intend

to keep.”

Bush opposes the Kyoto Climate Change Treaty that calls for nations to
reduce global warming. The candidate supports a moratorium against
offshore drilling in California and Florida.

Alan j. Lichtman is a professor of history at American University and
author of the book, Keys to the White House. He says Bush is likely take the
same approach to the environment in the White House as he did in Texas.

“You are not going to find George W. Bush taking a regulatory approach when it comes to
environmental issues. I think he’s much more likely – absent tremendous political pressure

– to the
contrary to stick to his more voluntary approach and this is important because a number of

environmental laws are up for renewal over the next several years.”

But Lichtman believes Governor Bush won’t be saying much about his
positions on the environment during the primaries.

“He does not believe environment is a core issue with Republican primary voters and that
he’s going to particularly get an edge on other candidates by debating it.”

Lichtman says if Bush wins the Republican nomination, it’ll be different in
the general election. Whether he faces Bill Bradley or Al Gore… Bush’s
record on environmental protection is likely to be targeted by the

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

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