Bush On The Environment: Top 5 Stupidest Things Said Today. By Olivia Zaleski. Huffington Post.
Five stupid (or at least) wrong things about the President’s plan to increase oil leasing on the public lands (sea bed) off shore.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

17 Responses to Bush On The Environment: Top 5 Stupidest Things Said Today

  1. avatar kim kaiser says:

    huffinginton is certainly one of the more centrist column. One would certainly do well following everthing they said

  2. avatar Mike says:

    Absolutely spot on article.

  3. avatar JB says:

    I agree with Ralph here; the five tidbits the author points to aren’t really stupid, there just wrong. Now, for a truly stupid GWB quote, I direct your attention to…

    “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”

    Funny, I wasn’t aware that the “human being” had declared war on fish? I sure hope we can work things out!

    Here, you can even get a coffee mug to remind you: http://www.cafepress.com/fishbush.49735002

  4. avatar Howard says:

    I particularly liked the emphasis on why Bush’s plans are not economically viable or practical. I do think its vital that those of us in favor of alternative energy and against more new drilling always make it clear that in addition to environmental concerns, energy independence/alternative energy sources is vital to the U.S. economy and national security. Those in favor of more fossil fuel dependency have already started blaming gas prices on environmentalists, bringing up all the usual insinuations that “enviros” care more about animals than people, are trying to “lock up” valuable land at the expense of the American public, etc. While most of us here take it for granted that clean air, clean water, public lands, and biodiversity is very “pro-humanity” and pro-America, it’s important that we remember that there are those out there intentionally trying to distort this… people implying to the public that gas prices would dramatically drop if only Congress would allow “responsible” oil drilling in ANWR instead of “locking up” our resources to protect a barren tundra. If enough people start believing that we “enviros” are protecting caribou and tundra swans OVER and AGAINST economic recovery, there will be trouble. It is important to make it clear that while we are unabashedly in favor of protecting caribou and swans, it is not compromising the country’s economic needs at all, because the proposed resource extraction plans WILL NOT result in abundant and cheap fuel. I believe that it is important for energy independence/alternative energy proponents to make it clear that the environment is one of several reasons to move in this direction, but that long term resource availability, economics and national security are also key reasons…even folks who don’t care about caribou and coral reefs can appreciate that.
    Also, the fossil fuel crowd often gleefully notes that such things as wind, solar, increased energy efficiency standards, geothermal energy, etc. cannot meet the country’s energy needs. Each one alone, no… but if several alternative energy sources were used cumulatively (and used where appropriate… solar plants would not work efficiently in Michigan or Maine, but they could generate a lot of power for Nevada and New Mexico) I think we could most definitely get off fossil fuel dependency in the reasonable future. Even if we still must use some fossil fuels, it could be far, far less. I think its important we start exploring cumulative effects of several energy sources rather than create the impression that we must wait for one single solution that will cure all. I am not saying many people do not already think this way; but again, it’s important we make it well known to those members of the public who are increasingly being told that the anti-fossil fuelers just constantly scream “no” but have no viable alternative prospects.

  5. avatar Linda Hunter says:

    Nicely written Howard.

  6. avatar Ryan says:

    Howard,

    Have you ever been to Prudhoe bay or Kaparuk? I have. The oil drilling there has not significantly affected the caribou population or other populations. Also the footprint of Drill rigs has gotten smaller and smaller. Thats why I have little issue with oil drilling in ANWAR.

    We have had great success in oregon with wind power, which will hopefully make way for the removal of several columbia and snake river dams.

  7. avatar Zack says:

    Ryan,

    While oil drilling has gotten progressively friendlier to the environment, I have to agree with the earlier comments (and the article) that doing more drilling isn’t a solution. Drilling for new oil could, potentially, slow to rise in gas prices a little, but eventually we need to make a switch. I’d rather start doing that at $5 a gallon then at $10.

    If it’s a less risky environmental option, all the better.

  8. avatar michelle2005 says:

    Good grief! No one can narrow down ONLY five of the stupidest things GWB has said. His stupid remarks/comments are unprecendented! Right when you think he cannot possibly top the stupid things that come flying out of his mouth….there comes another. (and in rapid succession)

    Personally, I find it quite astonishing that a sitting president can be so out of touch and disconnected with the people he is supposed to be leading. Perhaps, I’d just lived outside the USA for too many years. I can tell you, when I came back home permanently, it was to a nation I hardly recognized.

    It’s as if the present administration has fallen asleep at the wheel and fiddled while Rome burned!

    Michelle

  9. avatar Monty says:

    Howard: I agree with most of your points. But the seminal issue that all of humanity faces is “unlimited human growth on a finite planet” (why is this issue so difficult to grasp for so many when the extreme point of view is to fail to accept this reality?). Something, at some point has to give. It is not if but when? There is an article in Time magazine (this week) about Florida that discusses a “busted dream” that is being lost due to run-away growth which ends the article with the following quote: “We don’t seem to know how to learn”. Some of the issues facing Flordia include: Water shortage & pollution, Everglades degradation, massive algal blooms, rookeries & fisheries have crashed, 69 threathened & endagered species, invasive species, prison construction booming while funding for education declining, insurance crisis and new research suggests that barrier beaches could be under water in a few decades. And i leave with another quote: “You don’t have to be a wacko enviro to want your kids to be able to swim in a lake or maybe see an animal that isn’t in a cage or a seaquarium. And even people who don’t give a rat’s ass for the panther will care when salt water comes out of their faucets”.

  10. avatar JB says:

    Monty: I think most people here recognize that population growth is the ultimate cause of the vast majority of our environmental problems. However, it isn’t a problem that individuals–short of their decisions about how many children to produce–have a whole lot of control over. Basic research in psychology suggests we tend to avoid thinking about problems that are beyond our ability to control (this has obvious evolutionary advantages; e.g. it would be disadvantages to sit around all day worrying when the Yellowstone caldera is going to blow).

    I’m not sure what kind of acknowledgment you’re looking for here? Do you want us to say, “to Hell with it, we’re all doomed so there’s no point in trying to save [insert favorite species or ecosystem]? Or do you have suggestions on how we might “fix” the problem of population growth? If the former, I think you’re wasting your time. If the latter, I think we could have a very interesting discussion!

    Assuming the latter, I believe it is important to point out that world population growth has been declining more or less steadily since 1963, and is projected to continue to decline (in the U.S., our population growth rate would be flat if not for immigration). From my perspective, the relevant questions are: (1) At what point will the world population level off, (2) will the world be able to support this number of people, and finally (3) what will be the environmental consequences supporting this population.

  11. avatar Monty says:

    JB, as with any issue, it must first be “daylighted”, 30 years ago no one was talking about global climate issues, it had to start some where. A recent public opinion poll about US population growth (I don’t remember the source & exact numbers) but nervertheless was suprised that the majority of folks in the survey expressed concern about continued population growth. A recnet survey in New Jersey indicated that 49 % of the residents would leave the state if they could afford to do so, in part, due to “over crowding”. I assume that the good citizens of Florida see a relationship between quality of life & population! The citizens of Italy are ignoring the Pope and “reducing their breeding rates”. As i live in Oregon where much open space remains, population and quality of life issues are dicussed hand in hand.

  12. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    Monty,

    would you cite America’s rate of population growth ? and how that rate is trending (is the rate of pop. growth increasing over time – or decreasing ?).

  13. avatar JB says:

    Brian,

    The only reason the U.S. is growing is immigration. If not for immigration our population would’ve been relatively stable (i.e. births & deaths near equal) since the 1970s. Check out: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/20/AR2007122002725.html

  14. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    JB,

    so – does this stable birth-death rate correlate to any external condition ???

  15. avatar JB says:

    Interesting question! Not my line of research, but I’d imagine you’d have a hard time separating out that particular relationship from all the noise (that is, all of the various factors that impact environmental quality). It would be especially hard in the U.S., as per capita consumption has continued to increase along with the population via immigration.

    Hmm…now that I think about it, you might be able to get enough variation if you looked at the county or census tract level, though I imagine obtaining consistent indicators of environmental quality at this level would be next to impossible. Still, sounds like the making of an interesting study!

  16. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    it was a loaded question — some of the strongest models (best R-square, stat sig, etc.) i’ve seen demonstrate a correlation with poverty (with individuals as the unit) and industrialization (with country as the unit – alluding to poverty/education/health-care other conditions of affluence).

    IMO – the best way to get ahold of population growth (to the extent that it is the “root”) is to alleviate poverty/the maldistribution of wealth.

  17. avatar JB says:

    Ahhh, I see. I assumed the “external condition” you mentioned was something environmental.

    On the other, I agree that alleviating poverty is the “best” method for attacking the population growth problem, but this is easier said then done. I also believe that incentives should be used, where population growth is a problem, to curb growth. For instance, instead of providing tax breaks for having children (as we currently do), we should have a tax penalty. This policy doesn’t need to be as “coarse” as it sounds. For example, you could continue to provide tax breaks for the first two children (replacement), but then turn the mechanism around (penalty) for each additional child beyond replacement. The use of incentives would allow governments to discourage/curb growth without the use of draconian restrictions.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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