Bush victory portends big and enduring changes in environmental regs

U.S. EPA chief Mike Leavitt is touting last week’s election as “a validation of our philosophy and agenda,” and his agency and others that oversee environmental matters are expected to move aggressively to relax mandatory regulatory limits in favor of market-based systems and voluntary targets. Expect action on Bush’s languishing Clear Skies initiative and energy bill, as well as substantial revisions of the Endangered Species Act and increased energy development on public land. Bush’s changes to the regulatory system will outlast his administration, says Georgetown law professor Lisa Heinzerling. “You embed the personnel, you embed the methodologies, and pretty soon you can’t imagine the world looking any different.”