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Editorial: Environmental policy no good

President Bush gave a speech during the weekend to mark the importance of Earth Day, while the Senate continued to debate the Bush administration’s energy plan. This plan might be a milestone for the Bush presidency, but in reality, it is a half-hearted attempt at environmental policy. Reporting of carbon dioxide emissions by energy companies must be mandatory and the Bush administration must take a firmer stance on environmental issues before any more damage is done.

Plans were proposed Saturday for a new system that energy companies around the Adirondack Mountains of New York would use, in hopes of reducing levels of acid rain that have destroyed much of the area. Simply put, they would have to “buy” pollution rights that don’t necessarily come cheap. The problem, according to some environmental groups, is that this policy will allow more levels of toxic agents into the air than current Clean Air Act regulations allow because there is no limit to how much they can buy.

However, the problem in the Adirondacks is mostly due to companies in the mid-west who allow heavy levels of carbon dioxide emissions into the air. These emissions eventually form clouds that travel north and produce acid rain over the Adirondacks. Bush wants to make reporting of carbon dioxide levels for these companies voluntary for fear of eventual limits on carbon dioxide emissions. But why not have limits? The United States is practically choking the rest of the world with greenhouse gas emissions.

Republicans in Washington need to understand that the environment has to support many a generation beyond their own and that it’s not just Americans that will suffer from acidic ground water and depleted ozone but the entire global community. Bush must remember the campaign promises made to be an active force in cleaning up the environment and realize that the entire world is demanding change.