A while back, Mother Jones’ Osha Gray Davidson exposed the environmental m.o. of the Bush administration in a piece focusing on the under-the-radar nature of policymaking in the age of Rove:
“What makes this administration different is the fact that it is filled with anti-regulatory zealots deep into its rank and file…The result is an administration uniquely effective at implementing its ambitious pro-industry agenda-with a minimum of public notice.”
Now comes the LA Times with a terrific story illustrating just how this works. In a nutshell, way back when, the Clinton administration came up with a rule that would have forced oil drillers to do more to keep gunk out of the groundwater. The drillers were not happy, and in 2002–when the EPA was still working on implementing the restrictions–a Texas oilman who happens to have been the mayor of Midland and also happened to have once run Reagan’s Texas campaign, wrote to his friend Karl Rove to “openly express doubt as to the merit of electing Republicans when we wind up with this type of stupidity.”
You know the rest; the rule is history, thanks in part to the folks over at the Office of Management and Budget, who made sure those EPA bureaucrats toed the line. Write the LAT’s Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten,
Environmentalists pointed to the Rove correspondence as evidence that the Bush White House, more than others, has mixed politics with policy decisions that are traditionally left to scientists and career regulators.