From the administration that views conservation not as a necessity but a virtue, this little nugget buried in yesterday's WashPost story about Bush's raft of 'midnight regulations' rolling back environmental protections stood out:
"On Nov. 19, the OMB ordered the Energy Department to kill new regulations that would have forced the federal government to buy more-energy-efficient lights, appliances, and heating and cooling systems."
Let me get this straight. New regulations, approved by the Energy Department, to mandate energy efficiency were overturned by the number crunchers at the Office of Management and Budget. On what grounds I do not know -- other than the fact that the Bush administration has consistently balked at responsible policies to protect natural resources and public health, not to mention those that might actually help safeguard the planet by addressing global warming.
The article lays out more than 60 other last-minute regulatory maneuvers by the White House to help polluters, including ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw a new regulation mandating that truck manufacturers install equipment to monitor vehicle pollution and getting the Interior Department to ease constraints on environmentally damaging oil shale development throughout the West (over the objections from Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) and a majority of the state's congressional delegation).
Sadly, I fear that this is just the start of a season of regulatory rollbacks aimed at benefitting various polluting industries at the expense of public health and the environment.
Fortunately, the Obama administration and leaders in Congress have vowed to reverse as many of these irresponsible policies as possible. They have their work cut out for them, that's for sure.
Geez, Jan. 20 can't come soon enough.