Thursday, October 14, 2004

Holiday From Enforcement

This is a Surprise: Environmental Lawsuits Down Under Bush

Well, I must say, I was happy to see so much of tonights debate dedicated to workplace safety and environmental issues. On the ergonomics question, I thought Kerry hit the ball...

Oops, I must have dozed off.

Well, if Bob Schieffer had asked a question about the environmental policies of the Bush administration, this would have been a good answer for Kerry to make:
WASHINGTON — During the first three years of the Bush administration, the number of civil lawsuits that the federal government filed against polluters dropped by 75% compared with the last three years of the Clinton administration, an environmental group reported Tuesday. Eric Schaeffer, director of the group that compiled the data, said they showed that the administration had been weak on enforcing anti-pollution laws.

Bush administration officials defended their record, saying that the real measure of effectiveness should be whether pollution was being reduced, not the quantity of lawsuits. They said they has emphasized negotiated settlements as a speedier alternative to protracted litigation.

And they said that new anti-pollution rules proposed by the administration would bring more improvements in air quality than would legal action.

The number of lawsuits filed over alleged pollution-law violations dropped from 152 in the three years ended in January 2001 to 36 in the three years ended in January 2004, according to EPA data analyzed by the Environmental Integrity Project, an environmental watchdog group.
I like the administration's excuse, that "the real measure of effectiveness should be whther pollution was being reduced, not the quantity of lawsuits. In fact, I'm going to try that next time a cop pulls me over for speeding:

"But officer. Traffic accidents are down. That's the real measure of your effectiveness, not how many tickets you give."

I'll let you know how it turns out.