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Author Topic: Will Leavitt ever be confirmed?
WmLambert
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Latest political embarrassment comes from another attempt to block a Bush appointment. Funny thing is nobody denies that Leavitt is a very good nominee. See Democrats delay EPA nominee vote
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TomDavidson
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Actually, I don't think Leavitt's a very good nominee for the EPA, dedicated as he is to reducing the role of the EPA. [Smile]
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Enumclaw
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Well, there's tons of environmental groups who say that Levitt isn't a good nominee. Of course, in your world, Lambert, those people don't exist.

(To be fair, these same people would probably say the same thing about ANYONE that President Bush would choose.)

Paul

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Murdok
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Well if Bush would actually nominate someone with some actual environmental credentials instead of politicizing it as a favor to Orin Hatch - then it would not be a problem.

As for blocking (or "Holding") his nomination - more power to the dems! I think Bush has a lot to answer for, considering his horrible stewardship of our environment. He's gutted more regulations and degraded the EPA to the point that it is growing worthless as an enforcement tool.

When I hear the two words - Bush and Environment - I see corporate lobbiests from the polluting industries - Coal, Petrol, chemical, timber, energy and mining - crawling in and out of his pants.

It will take years to clean up the messes that are now just beginning to come to light under this administration.

So a Hold by the Dems to give them leverage to discover just what his policies are on his EPA decisions is the right thing to do.

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Everard
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" Funny thing is nobody denies that Leavitt is a very good nominee"

I'm going to ditto Enumclaw here, and ask exactly who this "nobody" is. I guess, by nobody, you probably mean "anyone who believes the government should protect the environment to some degree."

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Sweet William
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According to the Deseret Morning News, Leavitt's nomination has left committee, and is headed for the full senate, where it faces some serious challenges.

quote:

By Lee Davidson
Deseret Morning News

WASHINGTON — A Senate committee finally voted 16-2 Wednesday to endorse Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

As it did so, Democrats quickly built more and higher hurdles for Leavitt to clear in the full Senate.

Two more senators — Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. — placed "holds" on Leavitt's nomination. Holds are pledges to filibuster to prevent a final vote on him unless he resolves their concerns. Leavitt now faces a total of six such tough-to-quash holds.

While most are protests against President Bush's environmental policies or seek pledges for various action, Lautenberg's new hold attacks Leavitt's personal record. "Gov. Leavitt has repeatedly refused to enforce our nation's environmental laws, damaging Utah's environment so corporate polluters can make millions," he said.

Still, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe, R-Okla., predicted Leavitt will clear all obstacles and be confirmed soon.

"I certainly believe that those individuals with holds — most of whom are running for president — will not allow cheap politics to cheapen a man of this quality," he told the Deseret Morning News. "There is no reason this man is not going to be confirmed."

Two weeks ago, Democrats staged a first-in-history boycott of Inhofe's committee to prevent achieving a legal quorum needed to vote on Leavitt. Since then, Leavitt gave more complete responses to written questions that Democrats complained he had not answered sufficiently.

Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., ranking minority member on the committee, said that was enough to move Leavitt out of committee, but warned that he and Democrats feel "additional information is still needed" from the Bush administration to address their environmental concerns before they will support final confirmation.

He said, "This administration has a pattern of not providing information to Congress. Their delivery has been about as reliable as (struggling New York Yankees pitcher) Mike Mussina's in the American League Championship Series."

Still, only two committee Democrats voted
against Leavitt Wednesday: presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., and Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., who both previously placed holds on Leavitt. Also, Boxer abstained as she announced her new hold against him.

Boxer issued a statement saying that Leavitt's expanded answers to questions "were still nonresponsive and evasive." So, she said, "I am placing a hold on this nomination until I get my questions answered so that I can make an informed decision on this nominee."

Lieberman voted against Leavitt, saying he worries he will not be independent enough from what he says is an anti-environment White House. Clinton praised Leavitt personally, but said she is still upset the White House had not better explained why it said dust after the 9/11 attacks in New York was safe when EPA data did not back that.

Holds have also been placed by presidential candidates Sens. John Edwards, D-N.C., and John Kerry, D-Mass. Edwards wants studies about the effects of Bush changes to the Clean Air Act, and Kerry wants guarantees for cleanup of a toxic-waste site in his state.

While most such holds could in theory be resolved, Lautenberg's new hold comes because he says Leavitt is simply a bad nominee who should be blocked, which leaves little room for negotiation or deal-making.

Lautenberg, who is not a member of the committee, issued a release calling Leavitt's record abysmal, and said that Leavitt "believes environmental laws can be ignored with impunity by industries that pollute and poison the environment."

Meanwhile, most committee Democrats, even while attacking Bush, did praise Leavitt's own record and skills. For example, Sens. Bob Graham, D-Fla., and Thomas Carper, D-Del., who are both former governors, said their experience in working with Leavitt shows him to be bipartisan and a consensus builder.

Meanwhile, Republicans howled that Democrats were holding Leavitt hostage only to seek political points in the presidential election.

"This nomination has become a proxy fight over the Bush administration's environmental record," Inhofe said. "It's wrong that the presidential ambitions of a few senators could sacrifice a nominee with a proven record of environmental accomplishments."

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said, "Gov. Leavitt and the able men and women at the EPA that he will soon lead deserve better than this political blackmail."

Filibusters against nominees — which senators with "holds" threaten against Leavitt — can be stopped with a three-fifths vote. However, Republicans control only 51 of the Senate's 100 votes, and they need 60 to stop filibusters.

If Bush chooses instead to wait for a recess in Congress to make Leavitt a "recess appointee," Leavitt could serve for a year without confirmation, which would take him to near the end of Bush's current term. Because of Democratic hurdles, several Republicans see that as a growing possibility, maybe occurring next month.

However, the Senate usually frowns upon such action as evading its right to consent, which could make permanent confirmation for Leavitt difficult to impossible if Bush wins a second term.


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LetterRip
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His history on environmental issues seems extremely poor

see

http://environment.about.com/cs/politics/a/mikeleavitt.htm

Also, he appears to have no background in the hard sciences. I really wouldn't trust anyone who doesn't have a solid understanding of chemistry and biology in this position.

I haven't taken the time to investigate the allegations, but my first reaction would certainly be no, based on the allegations and his lack of relevant knowledge.

LetterRip

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WmLambert
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LetterRip, I would've thought you would be more supportive of getting effective leadership with the proper values in place to allow good scientists to do their work, as opposed to requiring the bureaucrats to do it all. I looked through all of the environmental groups listed and their disdain for anything Bush - and noticed they didn't provide any pro-Leavitt links along with their many anti-Leavitt links. This is usually a sure sign to me of groups desperately not wanting the other side's story to get out. A few referred to "Governor Leavitt's Environmental web site" but I'm still not sure I found what they were pointing to. The anti-Leavitt web masters seem to have walled off any likely web site addresses or search terms that should be likely to be unbiased. I found EnvisionUtah which begins to list the programs Leavitt had in place, but I doubt I did a good job of searching. I do know a great deal about the The Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument (Kaiparowits "monument") taken by Presidential Executive Order in 1996 without any communication with the state. There seems to be a great deal of politics involved, so of course the waters are muddied. The Utah geological survey group seems to be one of the best in the nation, so I don't think there is any lack of scientists in the Leavitt environmental camp.

My reading of the Congressional obstructors is that they are making a point about Bush - not about Leavitt, and they generally agree Leavitt will be eventually endorsed. If they think he is bad, why endorse him down the road?

Many environmental groups are extrememly liberal and conveniently neglect mentioning that quite often they are not borne out by fact and history in their accusatory diatribes against anything Conservative. You know about the faulty science behind levels of arsenic, and Kyoto, but many other issues are equally moot.

A good example of misusing the truth by Eco-activists can be seen in the accusation that the President attempted to undo the Roadless Area Conservation Rule

I had not heard too much about the Heritage Forest Campaign and it was a welcome diversion to research it. The issue is a valid one because there are two very different sides to the Roadless Area Conservation Policy, and any one-sided PR presentation should be leavened with a healthy dose of skepticism. Many policies put forward by politicians in the name of winning votes from Eco-activists need scrutiny before anyone should take them too seriously.

Dale Bosworth was appointed on April 13, 2001 as the new chief of the Forest Service. Long time a FS employee, Bosworth was the regional forester in the Intermountain Region and deputy regional forester in the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service. He also has served as a forest supervisor and district ranger. In his new position as chief, Bosworth oversees an organization of over 30,000 employees and a budget of $4.6 billion. In a last-minute attempt by the outgoing Clinton administration to carve an ecological niche for the Al Gore campaign, the Roadless Area Conservation Policy was issued. The Foresters most concerned with its many issues saw many problems with it, but came under attack by the PR firms hired to focus attention on it.

The Heritage Forest Campaign held up the Clinton Roadless Rule as a test case, regardless of whether it was as beneficial as claimed. They were waiting to see if Bosworth would support that initiative. Evidently the DNC agenda to discredit the Bush administration and to postpone confirmation of appointees transcended legitimate environmental action.

Please see: Roadless Area Conservation Policy or Conflict Over The Forest Service Proposed Roadless Plan or Road Management Policy

Many in the grassroots community believe the Roadless Area Conservation Policy was a ruse to help get Al Gore elected. And several of the people working on the Heritage Forest Campaign were counting on a job in a Gore Administration.

The Heritage Forest Campaign has no membership, only a substantial staff paid for by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which committed $1.4 million to the roadless area campaign.

Thus we have Pew, the richest and most influential foundation in the environmental sector, creating Heritage Forest to advance a politically motivated initiative in an election year. Staffers of the Heritage Forest Campaign told environmental organizers not to criticize the plan. "It is VITAL," ran an Oct. 11 Heritage Forest e-mail, "that we respond immediately to early news reports of this effort with praise and consensus. ... If not, we jeopardize the whole deal." The plan testifies to what the mainstream environmental movement has become: a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic National Committee. As Oregon Democratic Rep. Peter A. DeFazio said, "Forest policy is too serious to be the theme of the day in some attempt to boost Gore's flagging presidential campaign, which is what I think it's all about."

The first flaw in the Clinton plan is that it appears to prohibit road-building but not logging. These days, helicopter logging is becoming increasingly common as a way of extracting the trees from the cut-over terrain to the nearest available road. The Forest Service calculates that under the plan, timber harvests will decline by only 28 million board feet. The annual take from national forests is 4 billion board feet.

Denise Boggs, Executive Director of the Utah Environmental Congress has an analysis of the Roadless Policy which differs from the press releases coming from the Heritage Forest Campaign.

quote:
What has changed? Nothing. Logging in Utah’s roadless areas will continue unabated under the Roadless Area Conservation Policy. The Heritage Forest Campaigns claim that the “FEIS will prohibit "90% of roadless area logging across the nation” is simply not true.

Let’s look at the facts. The following information was taken directly out of the Roadless Area Conservation Policy’s chosen alternative and Decision Summary and speaks for itself.

"Timber harvest objectives within inventoried roadless areas would focus on restoration of sustainable vegetation conditions, improving forest health, reducing excessive fuels and associated wildlands fire risk and intensity, reducing insect and disease conditions that are outside the natural range of vulnerability, and improving habitat for wildlife." It continues "Salvage, when used to accomplish one or more of the objectives under this alternative (preferred alternative), is likely to be used most often for excessive fuels reduction and insect and disease suppression."

Translated, this means the Forest Service can log inventoried roadless areas to “improve” forest health, prevent wildfires, reduce insect and disease conditions, and improve habitat for wildlife. EVERY single timber sale in an inventoried roadless area in Utah is developed for one of these reasons.

The Heritage Forest Campaign was a failure that left grassroots forest activists worse off than before. Frankly, our work has become more difficult under the conservation policy because it gives the Forest Service carte blanche to enter roadless areas under all of the “exceptions” and “modifications” included in it, and the public has the perception that roadless areas have been protected. It is a great disservice to us all to declare victory where none exists. There is a monumental difference between a paper victory that will allow untold environmental degradation to continue, and a substantive victory that protects the integrity of the land and the life contained therein.

What you have here is a left-over political initiative which was a bad idea, but sounded good. The Eco-activists had money to burn from the Pew trusts to use in their portrayal of the Bush administration as anti-environmental. When the real environmentalists stepped up - it was the Bush administration who heard them, and the eco-activists who betrayed them.
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Murdok
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Lambert - nice post on the right wing version of eco-activism...but you know what you forgot?

You forgot to even mention Leavitt's sorry record on environmental policies and his substandard stewardship of Utah's roadless areas. In fact you did not even list one positive website supporting his record - is that because ther are none?

And let's not forget - he is an avid supporter of mining and gas and oil exploration in Utah - many times to the detriment of the surrounding environment.

Timber is also a pretty small industry in Utah in general - due to much of it being high desert. Nothing like Montana, Idaho and Colorado - or Washington and Oregon. And the record is clear for Bush...he has one of the most abysmal eco-records of any president - even worst than Reagan and James Watt.

The idea of going into a roadless area to clear undergrowth and timber defeats the designation - roadless. You think the timber just walks out on it's own? No - roads are built and any future an area might have had as wilderness is gone forever. And the government of Utah is highly adverse to any kinds of restrictions on what they do with their federal lands - like punching roads into nowhere, paving dirt roads in national parks without the knowledge of the Park Service and tons of other right wing monkey wrenching of the wild lands in Utah.

Yep - Leavitt - the perfect man for our little buddy Bush and his continued efforts to letting even more of corporate America pollute till the cows come home.

The environment - Love it or Leavitt!

[ October 16, 2003, 12:18 AM: Message edited by: Murdok ]

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TomDavidson
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"The first flaw in the Clinton plan is that it appears to prohibit road-building but not logging."

Just to clarify, William, does this mean that you think any sound environmental plan actively prohibits logging?

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WmLambert
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TomD:
quote:
Just to clarify, William, does this mean that you think any sound environmental plan actively prohibits logging?
No, what I posted was that the so-called pro-environmental act purported to protect the environment when in actuality it did more to hurt it. You neglected to read the links I posted for you that do explain that fully. It is the ease with which eco-activists shout from the rooftops some brain-dead plan to protect the environment - while their adversaries quietly go ahead doing good and getting chastized for doing it that needs attention.

Murdok, I agree with you that all the travesties attributed to Leavitt listed by these eco-activist organizational web sites look bad. I wonder if you take the time to actively research any one thing fully you just might get a more balanced picture? I did it with the Utah roadless policy and it turned out there that truth was 100% diametrically opposed to what the eco-activoists were saying. The Bush administration did good, and the Roadless policy was sheer politics to build a Left-wing attack base - but one built on shameful multiplicity and lies. It was as if someone sat down in a smoke filled room and asked themselves what can we do to motivate people to hate Bush? Can we obfuscate some good-sounding ecological initiative that is so complicated it will be hard to refute, but will make him look bad in the process?

I have never found anyone anywhere who wants to despoil the environment just to get their jollies out of raping Mother Earth. Sometimes there are trade-offs, like when President Carter forbade all recycling of Nuclear waste - the unintended consequences was a storage problem. ...Smokestack emissions are much cleaner in this country than any where else on Earth and getting cleaner. Yet Eco-activists can still point at what is left to do as if nothing was done, and as if the people who improved the air quality were criminals ...The California legislation to dismantle nuclear energy plants devastated their needed energy resources - and further legislation made it almost impossible for non-Californian energy to be piped-in. All of these things are ripe for honest debate.

Look at Kyoto. The Russian didn't bark article by Novak highlights the stupidity of the industrialized nations supporting the Kyoto treaty.
quote:
Andrei Illarionov declared it is necessary to balance costs against benefits, noting that the U.S. and Australia calculate "they cannot bear the economic consequences of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. If they aren't rich enough to deal with those questions, my question is whether Russia is much richer than the U.S. or Australia."

The Russian scientists were even more resolute. Yuri Izrael, Putin's most influential science adviser, declared: "All the scientific evidence seems to support the same general conclusions, that the Kyoto Protocol is overly expensive, ineffective and based on bad science."

Illarionov combined the economic and scientific factors in ways that Bush aides would do well to emulate: "The temperature of the atmosphere is not rising. . . . For 30 years, diametrically opposite tendencies developed. . . . If we are to double GDP within the next 10 years, this will require an average economic growth rate of 7.2 percent. . . . No country in the world can double its GDP with a lower increase in carbon dioxide omissions or with no increase at all."

I think we should look at most missives from eco-activists with a grain of salt, and trust in our own people to not destrroy our planet from beneath our feet. I think our national track record is pretty good, and the negative name-calling is an issue in itself.

[ October 16, 2003, 12:44 PM: Message edited by: WmLambert ]

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TomDavidson
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Lambert, I read all of your links fairly exhaustively and didn't see any indication that the Roadless initiative actually HURT the environment; in fact, the links most critical of the initiative generally argued that the plan was a failure mainly because it didn't apply to enough land, and didn't have enough restrictions.

This is a very odd argument for you to make, since I've never before seen you AGREE with environmental groups who believe MORE areas should be closed to logging and public access.

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Murdok
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What has hurt the roadless areas more than any other single factor has been the almost 100 years of fire suppression. And while there needs to be some clearing - what most enviornmentalists fear is that this administration is using the forest fire excuse as a strawdog so they can give their timber buddies unlimited access to federal timber in old growth and more mature medium growth forests. And also as a way to open roadless areas to all sorts of extraction industries as well as a way to keep it from being considered future wilderness.

I gotta run - I'll add more later.

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jedilaw
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I volunteered for a summer at Mt. Rushmore in 1993. I almost got my Red Card (firefighting certification) but couldn't take off the time for tarining since I had another job. Point is, I paid attention to the fire issue.

We were talking about excessive fire protection then, and the need to burn off underbrush so that fuel couldn't accumulate to the point of causing another Yellowstone situation. That was under Clinton, with a Democratic Congress, so I hardly think NPS was in the thrall of eco-conservatives.

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