Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bush Legacies, Obama Choices

Today's NYT has a run-down of the policy landscape Obama has inherited--land, air, water and climate change. The summary of Bush's major conservation achievement is telling:

When Mr. Bush designated as national monuments almost 400,000 square miles of ocean, reefs, atolls, seamounts and surrounding waters, Elliott Nourse, president of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute, called his action “statesmanlike.”

The monuments, set aside in 2006 and 2008, are home to thousands of species of rare plants, birds and fish. But perhaps their most important characteristic is that they contain few exploitable resources and just about nobody lives there, so there were no major political or commercial objections.

In other words, do what's easiest, and kick the rest down the road (Kyoto, air pollution, clean energy, etc). That's "statesmanlike"?

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