2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 2 Jul 2003 15:24:51 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Greens Just Keep Singing the Blues
The following article was posted by Geoffrey Cullison
Greens Just Keep Singing the Blues
By Christine Todd Whitman
Saturday, June 28, 2003; Page A25

If anyone doubts that the tone of the debate over environmental policy
in this city is in serious need of improvement, he or she need only look
at the reaction to the release this week of the Environmental Protection
Agency's first-ever "Draft Report on the Environment."

This report, the product of more than two years' work collaborating with
more than two dozen federal departments and agencies and state and
private-sector contributors, is designed to help answer a question I
posed at my confirmation hearing 21/2 years ago: Are America's
environmental policies making our air cleaner, its water purer and its
land better protected -- or not?

But judging by the reaction of some professional environmentalists to
our report, you'd think we had tried to pass off "The Skeptical
Environmentalist" as "Silent Spring."

To some, it doesn't seem to matter that our report uses sound,
sophisticated scientific data to measure how far we've come and to
suggest where we still have room to improve. The report looks at the
actual health of our environment and helps us measure where our 30 years
of effort have made a positive difference and where they have not met
our expectations.

Some have condemned the report because it doesn't discuss global climate
change. It doesn't, but the report does include dozens of science-based
environmental indicators for air, water and land. The report shows us
where we are, so we have a better idea of what we must do to get where
we want to be.

For too long the environmental debate has centered on counting the
number of new laws we've passed and new regulations we've written, on
tallying up how much in fines, fees and penalties we've levied on
polluters. Focusing on those aspects -- measuring process instead of
progress -- may be easier, but it has made it difficult to adapt
environmental policymaking to changing times and challenges.

When the environmental debate turns on questions of process, attempts at
innovation have a hard time getting out of the starting gate. An attempt
to modernize a law is cast as an effort to undermine it. A good-faith
effort to try new methods of achieving better results is characterized
as a retreat from existing commitments.

This piece can be viewed at:

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