It is no secret that the Bush Administration has been struggling to find room in the compassionate conservative agenda for the environment. The challenge to protect, preserve and improve the environment is always difficult in a sluggish economy, but even more so when what people value most-freedom and security-is threatened. Being an outdoors person himself, it is undeniable that President Bush, like his father, holds environmental protection in deep regard. Unfortunately, the current White House Administration can't seem to get the ball rolling with a clear environmental agenda.
Early on, the President's Administration inherited a two-year long Supreme Court battle that began during the Clinton Administration regarding the EPA's legislative authority to write rules and regulations. The Supreme Court found in favor of the EPA; however, the Bush Administration was criticized for not outwardly supporting the decision or the newly appointed director of the EPA, Christine Todd Whitman. Shortly thereafter, the Bush Administration stumbled over the arsenic standard as part of the Safe Drinking Water Act revisions, with the detrimental result of the public perceiving the Administration to be anti-environmental. Additionally, the strategy for responding to California's blackouts was just as misdirected. The Administration initially blamed overbearing environmental regulations as the main culprit only to be faced with the Enron situation, which unveiled failed de-regulation policy and misapplied energy management strategies as the primary cause for the energy shortages. Even today, the Administration struggles with energy policies that provide clear guidance on how the EPA should revamp the New Source Review program to make it environmentally and fiscally sound.