The Bush Record on the Environment

The Bush Record on the Environment brief cover

The Bush Record on the Environment

It may come as a surprise to many that the Republican Party was historically at the forefront of promoting legislation to protect the environment. Republican President Theodore Roosevelt created the Forest Bureau (now the U.S. Forest Service) and placed 16 million acres of Western forest under federal protection. President Richard Nixon passed a series of environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act that created the Environmental Protection Agency. More recently, however, the Republican Party has lost ground, and its credibility as an environmental advocate has been seriously questioned. In fact, many Americans today believe Republican President George W. Bush is the worst environmental president in history.1 But, the question arises, is his environmental record as bad as some critics suggest? While his environmental record consists of a few high points, the majority of his policies have had overwhelmingly negative implications for the environment. Given his record, can Bush implement thoughtful environmental policies that will help restore faith between the two sides of the environmental debate, after a highly divisive re-election campaign?

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