Bush's Environmental Record--Al Franken
WTO Trade Agreements Supersede U.S. Environmental Laws
Red Slime in fish products; Pink Slime in ground meats
Roundup, Monsanto's Scientific Fraud
Caspain Sea oil drilling blowout by BP, and others
Ever hundred years California's Mega Flood
BUSH's (neoconservatives) Environmental Record
Artic Melt Down--23% for 07-08
EPA libraries closed tight by Bush
Bush's Envioronmental Record
Gulf Stream flow down 30%
Protecting New Orleans--Scientific American
EU Energy Policies
No More Environmental Cleanups, Superfund is Dry
MERCURY EMISSIONS: environment & legislation
Environmental collapse of Easter Island--Jared Diamond
cartoons political
More on government priority cartoons
more cartoons
Organic Farming Comparison
Animal Feed Laws
Bush and the Endanger Species Act
Republicans stop toxic site clean up
Bush's Environmental Record--Al Franken
Pied Piper & Environmental Policy--Hightower
Death stats on first atomic energy experiments
Rabbits cruelly butchered, USDA regulation changed
Meat Consumption and Risk of Colorectal Cancer
LEAD SOLDER--environmental activitism at its worst


Al Franken, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them:  A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, Dutton, New York, 2003, p. 329-335.


An account of Bush’s environmental record.

After Bush's speech, determined to do my part, I wasted almost twenty minutes trying to persuade my son to accept a Prius as a graduation gift, in place of the 280-horsepower Infiniti G35 coupe I had promised him in a weak moment.

So I'm pulling my weight. I wish I could say the same for J. Steven Griles, the deputy secretary of the interior. Instead of re­newing his commitment, like the President told him to, Griles has opened public lands to oil, gas, and mining interests, all while still receiving money from his former employers in the oil, gas, and mining industries. Griles's appointment has been a particular boon to a sector of the coal mining industry that is not afraid to think big: the mountaintop removal sector.

You see, when you remove the top of a mountain, you can gain ready access to what is inside, be it diamonds, molybdenum, or most commonly, bituminous (or "dirty") coal. The thing is, a removed mountaintop doesn't just vanish. The top of the moun­tain has to go somewhere. And that somewhere is usually a nearby valley.

Griles himself has had plenty of experience removing unnec­essary mountaintops. As an executive at United Company, he oversaw the Dal-Tex mine in West Virginia, which occasioned one of the largest mountaintop removals since Krakatoa. The mine was not what you would call a good neighbor. When miners det­onated mountain ridges, filling in valleys and burying streams with trees, rocks, and thirteen species of songbird, they also sent boul­ders flying into local houses. As you can imagine, neighbors com­plained, not just about the boulders, but also about the choking dust.

Griles's inconsiderate behavior did not end with the boulders or the asthma-inducing debris. United Company set up huge coal-loading machines that ran twenty-four hours a day, right next to homes.

For years, a number of regulations have interfered with the ability of mining companies to remove mountaintops. For exam­ple, until recently, it's been illegal to dump the mountaintop into a nearby stream or river. The Bush administration has changed all that, by rewriting the Clean Water Act's rules to allow mining waste to be dumped directly into many heretofore off-limits wa­terways.

The President would argue that our natural resources are best managed by people intimately familiar with all the relevant regulations and statutes, and the tricks polluters use to evade them.

I agree. Such people include academics, regulators, and envi­ronmental advocacy groups. Experts all. Oh, but let's not forget the lobbyists for the polluters themselves. In their own way, they are every bit as expert. This last group seems to be disproportionately represented in this administration. There's people like: I am not going to put you through a long list of horrible environ­mental actions taken by this administration. Instead, I refer you to what TeamFranken calls the Internet. For instance, a Google search of the terms "Bush, horrible, environment" yields 42,500 websites, some of which discuss Bush's environmental record without any reference to horny, barely legal coeds.

Instead, I want to focus on what, for me, is the symbol of the Bush administration's relationship to the environment: the sky-scraping pig shit geyser.

The scene I described at the beginning of this chapter was not from some science fiction movie. It's very real. It happened on one of the growing number of factory farms that are despoiling vast tracts of America. It's a very, very shitty story.

Before we start, allow me to make it clear that I love meat. In fact, I am eating meat right now. Sitting to my right are two mem­bers of TeamFranken. Sitting to my left are two pounds of summer sausage.

Twenty years ago, the hogs produced in this country were raised by family farmers. Today, three companies produce 60 per­cent of all the hogs in America. And they do it in factory farms, or CAFOs: Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations are, perforce, Con­centrated Animal Shitting Operations. Every hog produces ten times as much feces as a human being. Imagine if you produced ten times as much shit as you do right now. You'd probably be able to read this entire book on the can, instead of just this one chapter.

A single CAFO in Utah is home to 850,000 hogs, producing as much shit as the city of New York. New York City has fourteen sewage treatment plants. CAFOs have none. This presents some­thing of a problem.

In order to dispose of hog waste, farmers have, since time im­memorial, used it as fertilizer. It's a nice idea. The pig eats an ear of corn and, two or three minutes later, takes a dump. The shit is then used as fertilizer to grow more corn, which is then fed to the pig, producing more shit, and so on and so forth. It's the circle of life.

The concentration of hundreds of thousands of animals in a small area has disrupted this delicate balance by overloading the shit side of the equation. The waste from a hundred thousand pigs cannot be recycled in the same way. This is where our lagoons come into play.

A typical factory farm lagoon holds anywhere from five to twenty-five million gallons of untreated pig shit. As you might imagine, it smells a bit. In fact, according to pilots, you can smell a CAFO shit lagoon from an altitude of three thousand feet. The smell also travels horizontally. People lucky enough to live in the vicinity of an industrial hog farm are, with each breath, made keenly aware of the cause of their declining property values. If you live downwind of a CAFO, the value of your property drops thirty percent. If you drink a glass of orange juice, it tastes like hog shit.

"I've seen grown men cry because their homes stank," says Don Webb, a very sad retired hog farmer.

The shit stink is exacerbated by the practice of spraying excess shit into the air and onto fields of Bermuda grass when the lagoons threaten to overflow. The industry maintains that spraying the shit onto Bermuda grass is a productive way of recycling the sewage, al­though the grass is so toxic that it will kill any animal that eats it. At any rate, most of the sprayed shit just goes into the environ­ment, seeping into the groundwater, into the air, and into rivers and streams.

In 1995, a spill from one of these lagoons killed a billion fish in the Neuse River of North Carolina. Every year since, dead fish have continued to wash up onshore by the tens of millions. They're not dying from the smell. No, these fish are falling prey to a pre­viously unknown life form spawned in the pig shit basins and car­ried into the river waters: the pfiesteriapiscicida. This dinoflagellate is a microscopic free-swimming single-celled organism that can mutate into at least twenty-four different forms, depending on its prey. It attacks the fish, stunning them with one toxin, then lique­fying their flesh with another, then feasting on the liquefied skin and tissue. This is why so many of the fish in the Neuse (dead and alive) sport horrible, bloody lesions.

The fishermen and bridge keepers of the Neuse have also de­veloped these ugly sores, which is why they don't wear shorts on a first date. Of course, it's hard to get a date when you suffer from lethargy, headaches, and such severe cognitive impairment that you can't remember your own name or dial a telephone number. Which pfiesteria also causes.

Because the meat industry in this country has become vertically integrated, Big Meat has put the small independent hog farmer out of business. Twenty years ago there were 27,500 family hog farm­ers in North Carolina alone. Now there are none. Today, a single company named Smithfield owns more than 70 percent of the state's hogs. Small farmers are learning that you can't beat Big Meat.

Nobody claims that factory farming is pretty. But its defend­ers say that it brings economies of scale that drive down the price of meat for consumers. This is true as long as you don't factor in the shit. Bobby Kennedy, Jr., president of the Waterkeeper Al­liance, told me that, if the waste were disposed of legally, the cost of pork from factory farms would be higher than pork from fam­ily farms.

They cannot produce hogs, or pork chops, or bacon more ef­ficiently than a family farm without breaking the law. They aren't about the free market, because they can't compete without committing criminal acts every single day. Their whole system is built on being able to disable or capture gov­ernment agencies.

They're not in favor of responsibility, or democracy, or private property. It's just about privatizing the air, water, all the things that the public's supposed to own. They are try­ing to take them away from us, privatize them, and liquidate them for cash.

That's the only coherent philosophy they have. That's it.


To be totally honest, I wish the Clinton administration had done more to address the pig shit problem. But at least he was pushing in the right direction. Toward the end of his administra­tion, the EPA issued stringent new CAFO regulations, requiring hog factories to take responsibility for their waste and initiating suits against some of the violators.

When Bush took office, his appointees gutted the regulations. Eric Schaeffer, head of enforcement for the EPA, resigned in dis gust after being told to drop the agency's cases against the of­fending conglomerates. The administration cut a deal granting im­munity to factory farm air polluters, and its Republican allies in Congress defeated a proposal by Paul Wellstone to bar hog pro­ducers from also owning the slaughterhouses. As Bush's stance on pig shit became clear, you could hear the squeals of joy at Smithfield.

They say that a rising tide lifts all boats. But in a pig shit lagoon, the only boat that rises is the one on top of the geyser.

Perhaps there is someone reading this who is saying, "Give me a break, Al. I don't care about pigs, or pig shit, or family farms, or mountaintops, or this pfiest-a-mahoosey, or the environment." To you, I have this to say: You were not legitimately elected pres­ident, sir.

But I respect the office you hold, and I'm honored that you're reading my book.







Currently in charge of

Previously lobbied for polluters of

Mark Rey

Undersecretary of




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Bennett W. Raley

Interior Assistant




Secretary for Water




and Science



Rebecca Watson

Assistant Secretary

Land that

Land that


of the Interior for Land




and Minerals







Carmen Toohey

Special Assistant to




the Secretary of the




Interior for Alaska



Patricia Lynn

Assistant Secretary of




the Interior for Policy,




Management, and














I am not going to put you through a long list of horrible environ­mental actions taken by this administration. Instead, I refer you to what TeamFranken calls the Internet. For instance, a Google search of the terms "Bush, horrible, environment" yields 42,500 websites, some of which discuss Bush's environmental record without any reference to horny, barely legal coeds.  Instead, I want to focus on what, for me, is the symbol of the Bush administration's relationship to the environment: the sky-scraping pig shit geyser.  The scene I described at the beginning of this chapter was not from some science fiction movie. It's

Shorties by the Sierra Club
March/April 6, p. 11

RANCH HANDOUT A two-year study by the Government Accountability Office has determined what wilderness advocates have long suspected: Grazing on public lands is a net loss for taxpayers as well as for the environment. The $1.79 per month ranchers pay the feds for each cow-calf pair adds up to a paltry $21 million, $123 million shy of what it costs federal agencies to administer the program. Grazing*'., fees went up slightly last year, but they are still nowhere near the $13.30 per month that private landowners collect.


 KILLER THRILLER There are no shades of gray for Puget Sound's favorite black-and-white mammals. In November 2005, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced that it would list the 89 re­maining "southern resident" killer whales as endangered. Though they're a distinct subgroup of orcas that eat fish rather than marine mammals and have their own breeding and communication patterns, in 2002 the agency determined that the whales weren't worthy of protection. NMFS staff say they now realize that the slow-to-reproduce whales are in far worse shape than they'd thought.

Dashka Slater


••• At a Senate hearing on skyrocketing energy prices early last November, five oil executives denied participating in (or knowing if their companies participated in) Vice President Dick Cheney's secret energy task force in 2001. Less than a week later, the Washington Post obtained documents showing that officials from each of the firms had, in fact, met with task force members or staff. Providing false testimony to Congress is a federal crime, even though the execs weren't under oath. To wiggle out of their tight spot, the oil companies claimed that their frequent contact with task force representatives didn't technically qualify as "participating." "The American peo­ple understand what 'participate' means," responded Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who called the execs' maneuvering "corporate doublespeak that only further demonstrates the need for a criminal investigation." Reed McManus


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People get the government that they deserve. Politicans such as Bush are elected because if the common person was in office, he would become another venal politican