Thursday, May 21, 2009

U.S. Air Quality Sharply Improved During George W. Bush Administration

During the George W. Bush Administration, the left frequently charged that President Bush had "gutted" our air pollution laws. The criticisms became particularly strident in 2003, when President Bush discontinued a Clean Air Act program that required older power plants, refineries and industrial sites to install pollution control devices when they expanded their operations. The political poster at the left is a mild example of the demogoguery.

Now, according to Fox News, a report by the American Enterprise Institute, based on data collected from the Environmental Protection Agency, discloses that air quality in the United States improved markedly during the past decade. Among the findings: Carbon monoxide decreased by 39 percent, ozone by 6 percent, and sulfur dioxide by 32 percent.

"Pick any category you want and pollution levels are generally lower than they were seven years ago," said Steven Hayward, the policy analyst who authored the report, titled "Index of Leading Environmental Indicators," for the conservative think tank.

"(Environmental groups) said air pollution was out of control, but this was always more about politics than it was fact," Hayward said.

Indeed, the levels of most air pollutants declined more rapidly during the George W. Bush Presidency than during the previous 8 years of the Clinton Administration.

Which provides a segue into the topic of the next post, which could be called "Smoke and Mirrors versus Substance in Politics." My largest criticism of the George W. Bush Administration was its failure to control the public debate--to make sure that its policy achievements were publicized. Instead, it allowed the Democrats to successfully label its policies as anti-environmental and anti-peace. If the Obama Presidential Campaign and Presidency is mostly about imagery, the Bush Administration cared too little about imagery.


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