Committee. There he personally drafted similar laws under the direction of such pillagers of nature as the former Speaker of the House, Tom Foley. The Clinton administration offered no resistance to implementing that “loophole” provision. Almost as soon as the Rescissions Bill was passed last July, the Forest Service accelerated the auctions of the timber sales and moved to prevent any public protests by imposing vast exclusion areas, keeping the public out of federal lands as companies such as Boise Cascade logged off areas like Sugarloaf. The whole loophole affair was a red herring, distracting attention from what the Clinton administration had accepted as an operating principle: salvage logging. Salvaging meant a green light to cut down any treeeven if it imperiled an endangered specieson the grounds that it might be nibbled at by insects, a fire risk, or an inhibition to prudent forest management. The Clinton Forest Plan called this logging strategy “forest health”; it became a way to confiscate the whole logging issue from public scrutiny. Forest health, you see, is a matter for experts, meaning Forest Service rangers working with timber company foresters. The salvage rider has opened to the chainsaw millions of acres of previously protected forest from Alaska to Mississippi under legislation against which there can be no appeal. This was no loophole. Along with unfunded mandates, it was a premeditated surrender, predicted by the present writers from the time of Clinton’s Forest Summit in April of 1993. A similar charade has been played out regarding the Endangered Species Act. With the attention of the press fixed on Representative Don Young’s bill, which would crudely destroy the nation’s premier wildlife law, more subtle and more successful designs upon the Act have been carried out by the Clinton administration. From the earliest days Interior Secretary Babbitt has tried to hollow out the Act by regulatory decree. Signs of this ploy were apparent as early as March of 1993, when Babbitt blessed the “win-win” habitat conservation plan, whereby endangered species such as the California gnatcatcher would coexist on coastal lands with developers. This perishin-comity strategy has been duplicated across the country, much to the detriment of grizzly bears \(a deathly embrace with win-win again, with red-cockaded woodpeckers \(sharing their living space with the Potlatch Timber Company in Clinton’s home state of What the win-win ploy didn’t destroy was finished off by the “Reinventing Government” scam. Through the darkest days of Reagan and Bush, the Fish and Wildlife Service could be counted on to hold the line against plans by the industrial agencies of the federal government to destroy the habitat of endangered species. Babbitt has now forced the Fish and Wildlife Service to cooperate in half-a-loaf compromises with the agencies it previously regulated. Call it coercive harmony. As governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton’s poor record on toxic waste was plain enough, given his dioxin-spewing plant at Jacksonville, not a dozen miles from the state capitol in Little Rock. With his arrival in the White House came surrender on the WTI incinerator outside Cincinnati. Though the Clinton EPA has banned most domestic sales of the lethal pesticides chlordane and heptachlor, it failed to restrict production of the same. This was a loophole, specifically designed to please the Memphis-based Velsicol Chemical Company, which annually exports two million pounds of the chemicals to Third World nations. Using NAFTA as an excuse, the EPA has also opened U.S. borders to the unrestricted import of PCBs. ON THE INTERNATIONAL front the Clinton administration has been more of an impediment to en vironmental protection than either the Bush or Reagan regimes. Despite Al Gore’s homilies at Rio, the United States has still not signed onto the Convention on Biodiversity, because it opposes the biosafety plank on “genetically manipulated organisms.” By way of explanation, consider the huge prospective market for bio-engineered soybeans. Over furious objections from European countries, the United States announced in October that it will permit the export of genetically engineered soybeans mixed with natural soybeans. This comes at the request of the all-powerful Monsanto Corporation, which developed “transgenic soybeans,” which can tolerate huge doses of Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide. Ergo, “Roundup Ready Soybeans.” The United States has taken a similarly aggressive posture in support of overseas distribution of Monsanto’s rBGH, a hormone stimulant for the dairy industry. Acting on behalf of DuPont, the Clinton government has plotted a retreat from the Mon treal Protocol on ozone-deplet ing chemicals, such as CFCs and methyl bromideboth pro duced by DuPont. The U.S. gov ernment now proposes a further thirty-year delay in the complete phase-out of these chemicals. One final surrender: All through the cold war period, the ultimate symbol of environmental irre sponsibility was nuclear testing. For the first three years of his administration, Clinton stood by a nuclear test ban and an nounced his support for a Com prehensive Test Ban Treaty. When Presi dent Chirac of France launched his nation’s test series in the South Pacific, the Clinton administration publicly demurred \(while In November of 1995, Project Rebound was demurely unveiled. The U.S. Depart ment of Energy is to supervise six under ground nuclear tests in the deserts of Nevada in 1996. Since we are in the Age of Clinton, these are not called nuclear explo sions but rather “hydro-nuclear tests” which are somehow more virtuous and en viro-friendly, just like that win-win deal that doomed the gnatcatcher and salmon. Who needs those Republican ultras? THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9
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