Anne M. Skalyo


More than two years ago, ten years of legislative gridlock ended with passage of the most sweeping environmental law ever. If properly implemented, it will bring clean air to America's cities, dramatically reduce the releases of toxic air pollutants, help protect the stratospheric ozone layer, and, of course reduce acid rain. The issue is now whether President Bush allowed EPA to implement the law. After two full years, it is clear that the President actively worked to undermine the clean air law. Through the White House Council on Competitiveness and Vice President Quayle, the President allowed industry free reign to dictate changes in EPA's control programs under the Clean Air Act. In many cases, industry has been granted gaping loopholes that were proposed to the Congress and explicitly rejected during the legislative process. This is not the process by which laws are made and implemented in our democratic society. Under the Constitution, the President has a duty to faithfully implement the law as passed by Congress. If he felt that the law was too tough on polluters, he had the option of a veto. But having chosen to sign the bill into law, the President cannot surreptitiously rewrite the legislation to include breaks for polluters that Congress would not have approved. Sadly, this is exactly what has happened.