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Add environmental terrorism to list of Duh-fenses

by Ogi Overman

There is a school of thought among impeachment advocates, with whom I’ve been associated since August 2001, that claims Bush’s crimes against the planet are every bit as grievous as his well-documented and ever-growing litany of crimes against humanity. Further, that they constitute grounds for impeachment, based on the logical argument that policies which clearly cause the destruction of the environment must necessarily cause the destruction of the human race; therefore one is the moral equivalent of the other. It follows that damage to the planet that sustains and makes possible life cannot be differentiated from damage to the life forms (homo sapiens) themselves. Even the question of whether it is purposeful or inadvertent is rendered moot once the person initiating the policies is made aware that said policies are deleterious to the ecosystem and decides to continue them regardless.

Damn that Decider.

It’s an argument I’ve been using, in one form or another, since my initial call for his impeachment a month before 9-11. Once he initiated his war on Iraq I half-jokingly referred to it as “preemptive impeachment,” but I nonetheless felt that he had already committed impeachable offenses in his first few months of office. After former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill revealed in his book, The Price of Loyalty, that Bush and Cheney were discussing ways to get rid of Saddam exactly six days after the January 2001 inauguration, my suspicions were confirmed. But that came well after the fact; my original article of impeachment had to do with his refusal to allow the United States to ratify the Kyoto Protocols to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help stem global warming. While most folks felt he was simply out of touch with reality (which he obviously is), my hunch was that this was part of a pattern that, if left unchecked, would result in more damage on both an environmental and human level than we could imagine. My theory was that oil, and the profit therein, was the driving factor behind all his decisions, that anything that interfered with his and his cronies’ desire for oil and the wealth derived from it should be eliminated.

I’m sure I must have been a laughingstock back then, but no one’s laughing now.

So here we are, six years later, and a huge ice shelf just broke away from Alaska, the polar bears are dying off and spring arrives two weeks earlier than when I was growing up. The mine canaries are squawking in wild cacophony, but has the Duh lifted one finger to change course? Nope.

In fact, he is still pursuing those policies that maximize oil profits with no regard for environmental harm. His latest exploit came a couple of weeks ago, when no one was looking, or so he thought. Yes, the media was transfixed over his looming “surge speech,” but there were a few West Coast watchdogs left who blew the whistle on him.

Without fanfare he lifted the Executive Withdrawal of Alaska’s Bristol Bay to allow oil and gas exploration and drilling. These 33 million acres of open sea, islands and estuaries between the Aleutian Islands and the Alaskan mainland is not only one of the world’s most productive fisheries but also critical habitat for many endangered and threatened species. With a commercial fishing industry valued at nearly $2 billion, the bay was placed off limits following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.

Despite loud and persuasive outcries from environmentalists, their pleas were overruled by Royal Dutch Shell, which envisions offshore platforms, subsea pipelines, a gas liquefaction plant and tankers roaming to and fro among endangered sea lion habitats.

Oh, they also envision a tidy profit. I guess the $306,731,000,000 in revenues and $25,311,000,000 in profits on their most recent P&L sheet just wasn’t quite enough.

This, by the way, comes on the heels of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that cut in half, from $5 billion to $2.5 billion, the amount of damages Exxon Mobil must pay as a result of the Valdez disaster.

Detecting a pattern here? Throw in the “clear skies” initiative that actually allowed more toxic pollutants in the air, an energy bill that included a gift to Halliburton, an exemption for pesticides in the Clean Water Act, allowing logging in national forests, naming the chief of Exxon to chart our energy future, and on and on and on, and the plot thickens. There are literally hundreds – not dozens but hundreds! – of acts of environmental terrorism committed by this administration (go to bushgreenwatch.com if you care to be sick to your stomach) that when taken as a whole offer a convincing case for impeachment.

Then you’ve got that illegal wiretapping doodad, that treasonous outing of a covert CIA agent hooey, that suspension of habeas corpus crapola, that Gitmo-Abu Graib torture nonsense and that little making-up-reasons-to-go-to-war-with-Iraq thingy. (Don’t they have, like, oil or something, Beavis?)

But that would be piling on, wouldn’t it?

Ogi may be reached at ogiman100@yahoo.com, heard Tuesdays 9:30-10 am on “The Dusty Dunn Show” on WGOS 1070 AM, and seen Fridays 6:30-7 am on ABC45 and Sundays 10-10:30 pm on MVY48 on “Triad Today” hosted by Jim Longworth.

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