Bush sneaks through host of laws to undermine Obama
The lame-duck Republican team is rushing through radical measures, from coal waste dumping to power stations in national parks, that will take months to overturn, reports Paul Harris in New York
* Paul Harris
* The Observer, Sunday 14 December 2008
After spending eight years at the helm of one of the most ideologically driven administrations in American history, George W. Bush is ending his presidency in characteristically aggressive fashion, with a swath of controversial measures designed to reward supporters and enrage opponents.
By the time he vacates the White House, he will have issued a record number of so-called 'midnight regulations' - so called because of the stealthy way they appear on the rule books - to undermine the administration of Barack Obama, many of which could take years to undo.
Dozens of new rules have already been introduced which critics say will diminish worker safety, pollute the environment, promote gun use and curtail abortion rights. Many rules promote the interests of large industries, such as coal mining or energy, which have energetically supported Bush during his two terms as president. More are expected this week.
Bush's midnight regulations will:
• Make it easier for coal companies to dump waste from strip-mining into valleys and streams.
• Ease the building of coal-fired power stations nearer to national parks.
• Allow people to carry loaded and concealed weapons in national parks.
• Open up millions of acres to mining for oil shale.
• Allow healthcare workers to opt out of giving treatment for religious or moral reasons, thus weakening abortion rights.
• Hurt road safety by allowing truck drivers to stay at the wheel for 11 consecutive hours.