The Clear Skies initiative was made public on February 14th, 2002.
I am including the Clear Skies initiative here for two reasons, though it's obviously not directly related to the war in Iraq or terrorism. One reason is that it very clearly demonstrates the type of deception that the Bush administration deliberately engages in and the other reason is that it demonstrates the Bush administration's strong favoritism towards industry, specifically the energy sector, which does indirectly relate to the war in Iraq.
What is so significant about the "Clear Skies" initiative is not so much the proposed legislation itself, but the way that it is presented, as you will see.
What the "Clear Skies" initiative basically proposes is to move back the existing environmental regulation schedule. While doing this the Bush administration then claims that they are improving environmental regulations. This is a slight of hand because their proposals are only an improvement over regulations that are presently in effect, but the laws already on the books have a specific schedule for future regulations that increases cuts in emissions over time. What Bush has done is to reduce the level of those cuts, and then go back and compare their proposals to regulations that are presently in effect, not the regulations that were already on the books for the future.
To better see what I mean let's just look at an example.
Under current law mercury emission levels must be reduced to 15 tons by 2008. Under Bush's proposal mercury emission levels will be reduced to 26 tons by 2010, and 15 tons by 2018, 10 years later than is currently required, and those reductions are voluntary, not mandated.
Now let's look at exactly what Bush's proposal states on this matter:
"Cutting mercury emissions by 69 percent, - the first-ever national cap on mercury emissions. Emissions will be cut from current emissions of 48 tons to a cap of 26 tons in 2010, and 15 tons in 2018."
This is obviously a case of intentional deception because the statement is made in such a way that if the audience is not aware of the old law they would never know that this actually increases the level of pollution allowed. Once again, Bush and his administration are full of lies.
In his State of the Union Address the President stated:
"I have sent you Clear Skies legislation that mandates a 70-percent cut in air pollution from power plants over the next 15 years."
In fact this 70% number is again deceiving. Not only do many experts claim that his plan will actually increase pollution by allowing pollution trading, whereby companies can buy pollution credits from other companies that are naturally cleaner, but the cuts in pollution that are already on the books for the next 15 years offer higher cuts in pollution than Bush's plan. He's just flat out lying.
Furthermore many of the larger reductions in pollution are part of what is termed "Phase II" of the "Clear Skies" initiative, which is an optional phase that uses voluntary cooperation from companies.
Compare Bush's legislation for yourself:
Furthermore, Bush renounced the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty and led a move to oust Dr. Robert Watson (outspoken global warming authority) from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an action which followed a memo from ExxonMobil urging that the scientist be removed from the panel.
Note: Exxon, formerly Standard Oil, was one of the companies assisting the Nazi regime to power prior to WWII. Standard Oil/Exxon has a long history of unethical business practices and government manipulation and has been involved in one of the largest environmental disasters in history, the Exxon Valdese oil spill, for which it didn't take appropriate blame or execute appropriate cleanup procedure. Is Exxon who we want influencing global environmental policy?
Again, its not so much a matter of the policy itself, it is the way that it's presented. Even if it is concluded that the Bush environmental plan is actually better than existing legislation or alternate plans the fact that remains is that Bush's plan and stance on the environment has been deceptive, not forthright. There is no way to deny that fact.
For further analysis of the Clear Skies initiative see: