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The buck stops... somewhere

The New York Times is happy with the Bush administration's decision to apply the Clean Air Act to off-road vehicles such as snowmobiles. They just can't quite bring themselves to say so:

Christie Whitman is to be commended for bringing the nation's growing army of off-road vehicles under the regulatory umbrella of the Clean Air Act.
See, when the Bush administration makes a decision approved of by the Times, Christie Whitman gets the credit -- Bush's name is mentioned nowhere in relation to this decision.

When the Times is annoyed, though, suddenly Bush's name pops up:

Numbers like these persuaded the Clinton administration to order a three-year phaseout of all snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton. But the Bush administration quickly caved in to industry and property rights advocates who see any limitation on their ability to abuse the public lands as an abridgment of individual freedoms.
I wonder if the Times would talk about politicians "caving in to" civil rights groups, and sneer at "individual freedoms" in those contexts.

But note that after the Times attempts to minimize the infringement that's going on, they then say:

One of Ms. Norton's main arguments for reversing the ban is that snowmobiles in the future will be much cleaner. Indeed, under the new rules, the snowmobiles that today churn up 100,000 cars' worth of pollution will, by 2012, produce only 50,000 cars' worth. That's still 50,000 too many.
In short, the Times is calling for a total ban on all snowmobiles, regardless of the amount of pollution they emit. And yet, they attack those who oppose this ban as unreasonable people who can't accept "any limitation" on their freedoms.

I don't have a good sense as to whether snowmobiles belong in national parks -- though I suspect opposition arises primarily from ideological, rather than practical, considerations -- but it always raises a red flag for me when activists demand a total ban while pretending they're only proposing modest restrictions.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 19, 2002 5:55 AM.

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