Okay, it’s predictable, but it’s still a bummer: President Bush announced today that he will seek sharp budget cuts in environmental initiatives and dozens of other domestic programs for the upcoming fiscal year. After all, the president’s proposed $379 billion funding bonanza for the Pentagon has to come from somewhere. Bush is calling for reduced funding for the U.S. EPA, a hiring freeze in the agency’s enforcement division, and a minuscule increase in the Interior Department’s national parks budget, which environmentalists say will be woefully inadequate to address the $4.9 billion backlog in park maintenance projects that Bush has vowed to erase. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Maybe. Former Vice President and once (and future?) presidential hopeful Al Gore emerged from the political shadows on Saturday to criticize Bush for his economic and environmental policies and “rejoin the national debate.”

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