This just seems like a "feel good" speech to me. There are certainly a lot of general statements in it that I would agree with:
One of the interesting things about our nation is that since 1970, the air is cleaner and the water is more pure and we're using our land better; and our economy has grown a lot. My point is, it's possible to have economic growth and jobs and opportunity and, at the same time, be wise stewards of the land.
I'll let the administration make their case:Protecting Our Nation's Environment (White House)
On December 3, 2003, President Bush signed legislation implementing key provisions of his Healthy Forests Initiative. The President's initiative is helping restore the health and vitality of forests and rangelands, and helping reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires. This is benefiting communities and wildlife habitats.
President Bush's initiative, which has been introduced in Congress, would dramatically improve air quality by reducing power plants' emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury, by approximately 70 percent over the next 15 years, more than any other clean air initiative. This historic proposal will bring cleaner air to Americans faster, more reliably, and more cost-effectively than under current law.
You can see that things like the Healthy Forests Initiative and the Clear Skies Initiative make Bush sound like a Green. But let's look at some opposing views:Debunking the "Healthy Forests Initiative" (Sierra Club)
The initiative is based on the false assumption that landscape-wide logging will decrease forest fires.Facts About the Bush Administration's Plan to Weaken the Clean Air Act (Sierra Club)
This premise is contradicted by the general scientific consensus, which has found that logging can increase fire risk.
Real public protection requires honest fuel reduction a quarter-mile around communities and involving the public and community leaders in long-term education and planning. Instead, the President's plan would promote logging of large, commercially valuable trees miles from at-risk communities.
The so-called "Clear Skies" initiative expands the pollution trading system that results in some communities getting cleaner, but many communities losing out on cleaner air.
By the 15th year of the Bush plan: 450,000 more tons of NOx, one million more tons of SO2, and 9.5 more tons of mercury would be allowed than under strong enforcement of existing Clean Air Act programs.
You can choose which viewpoint you accept, of course. I tend to think of the Sierra Club as a nice, mainstream, Mom-and-Apple-Pie type of organization, so I listen to what they say. (Something from a radical group like Earth First! would need to be taken with a large grain of salt.)
I tend to agree with the League of Conservation Voters:LCV (June 24, 2003)
League of Conservation Voters President Deb Callahan announced today that LCV gave President George W. Bush an “F” on the organization’s 2003 Report Card on the administration’s performance on environmental issues.
“President Bush is well on his way to compiling the worst environmental record of any president in the history of our nation,” said Callahan. “Bush’s dismal Report Card is dominated by a disturbing trend: time after time, Bush favors corporate interests over the public’s interest in a clean, safe and healthy environment. Under the Bush administration, corporate polluters have been allowed to write the laws.”
Even if there is some exaggeration in this, I doubt that Bush can be thought of as the Environmental President.
Happy Earth Day.