Presidents traditionally wind up their tenure by pushing through as many executive regulations as possible. Bill Clinton was no exception: he instituted the famous roadless rule in the last days of his presidency, as well as other enviro-friendly measures. “Starting in early 1999 we had people down in the White House basement with word processors and legal pads making lists of things we wanted to get done before we left,” says John Podesta, who was chief of staff at the end of the Clinton administration. The Bushies, he says, have “probably got people down there right now with chain saws and drilling rigs doing the same thing.” Don’t be silly, says Susan Dudley, overseer of executive rulemaking at the White House: “It may be that an increase in regulatory activity is inevitable at the end of an administration, but we’re determined to do it right, based on the best science and the best technology, with ample opportunity for the public to get involved.” For some reason we don’t feel better.

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