The sad "tradition" of presidents issuing "midnight regulations" before leaving office continued as Mr. Bush slimed a path from the White House to Midland/Crawford/Dallas/Total Irrelevance. Mr. Bush spent a lot of time in his final Washington days desperately trying to rehabilitate his tattered legacy. Ironically, in his final months in power, he issued more than 150 new environmentally damaging regulations by executive fiat. Here's a sampling of his last "acts" of governance:
• A finalized rule effectively deregulates industrialized farms so that they can discharge animal waste into waterways.
• Regulations that allow mountaintop-removal mining projects to pollute streambeds with leftover dirt.
• Rules that allow a drastic weakening of the Endangered Species Act, allowing federal agencies to bypass expert advice from federal scientists on whether proposed projects would have an impact on endangered species, essentially cutting the heart out of the act.
To be fair, Bush is not alone in this rush to complicate the life of his successor. Clinton issued more than 90 "midnight regulations" before he snuck out of town. Most of his regulations, however, created environmental protections not gutted them.
The Obama administration faces a daunting array of urgent challenges. To distract them from critical actions with these "midnight regulations" is unconscionable. It was, as DroBoat said when creating this thread, "it's Bush's final FU," not just to the Dems, but to all Americans.
"It's a huge burden on a new presidency that already faces more than its fair share of burdens," says Vickie Patton, a senior attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund.
Obama Cleans Up After Bush - TIME