In a report released yesterday, the Governmental Affairs Committee of the U.S. Senate accused the Bush administration of “a predetermined hostility” toward environmental regulations initiated by former President Clinton. The withering 90-page assessment of President Bush’s actions questioned the legality of a 60-day freeze, issued hours after Bush took office, affecting all pending federal environmental regulations. Among the initiatives halted by the directive were strict Interior Department rules for hard-rock mining on public lands, a U.S. EPA effort to lower the allowable levels of arsenic in drinking water, and an Agriculture Department rule barring most new logging and road construction on almost 60 million acres of national forest. The administration later relented on arsenic, but not on many other proposed environmental regulations. The committee said the directive was “an early warning of the administration’s lack of respect for the process of developing regulations” and accused the White House of repeatedly placing politics ahead of science.
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