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Congressional Quarterly: Clean Air Policy Gets a Little Murky

Author: Rebecca Adams
August 3, 2008


For most of the Bush era, environmentalists have known one thing about White House environmental policy: They opposed it, largely on the grounds that it was too accommodating to business interests and too timid in ameliorating key challenges such as climate change and air quality control. Their view was that an executive branch unafraid to assert its will through rule-making would impose its industry-friendly policies in a way that Congress or future presidents could not easily undo.

It turns out they were wrong, at least about the permanence of some of these changes. Instead, the administration’s air quality initiatives — and its policies on climate change — have been thrown into chaos by a series of adverse court rulings. The situation now has environmental foes of the Bush White House pondering whether to throw in with efforts to salvage the air quality framework that was on track toward full implementation next January or to embark on a complete overhaul of clean-air regulations.

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