Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Former Interior secretary calls out Obama on the environment

President Obama has failed to answer Republican attacks on environmental safeguards "forcefully and persuasively" and to articulate his own vision for conserving American wilderness and water, former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt charged Tuesday. Babbitt, who served under President Clinton, said in an interview that he would lay out his concerns about the Republican environmental agenda and the Obama administration's response in a speech in Washington on Wednesday. It's rare for a political figure of Babbitt's stature to reproach publicly a sitting president of his own party. But Obama has faced blunt criticism from old allies on a range of issues after compromising with Republicans who control the House. Babbitt is giving voice to disappointment among many environmental advocates. Since the midterm elections, the administration has delayed or weakened several regulations bitterly opposed by congressional Republicans and business lobbyists, and given credence to the GOP contention that regulations — especially environmental ones — stifle growth. More recently, Babbitt said, the administration has acquiesced to riders that conservatives placed on the interim budget, including one that took the gray wolf off the endangered species list in several states and another that gutted a program meant to reduce overfishing. Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, warned that Obama's inaction could cost him in 2012. "Unless there's a change in his policies, he will likely face very damp enthusiasm from young voters and a significant portion of the base that wants him to stand up to polluters," Brune said. "I definitely think there are many progressive donors in general and environmental donors in particular whose enthusiasm won't be what it was in 2008."...more

And the response will be? National Monuments in 2012. Stroke of the debate, no legislation needed.

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