We know we've assigned a lot of reading for a Sunday - but this Rolling Stone investigation is required, sorry. The more articles like this we read, the more we realize that one of the men in the photo above is the President of the United States, and one seems to be not much more than our national mascot.
Cheney took full advantage of the president's cluelessness,
bringing the CEQ (the
Council on Environmental Quality, a policy arm of the White House) into his own portfolio. "The environment and
energy issues were really turned over to him from the beginning,"
Whitman says. The CEQ became Cheney's shadow EPA, with industry
calling the shots. To head up the council, Cheney installed James
Connaughton, a former lobbyist for industrial polluters, who once
worked to help General Electric and ARCO skirt responsibility for
their Superfund waste sites.
Industry swiftly took advantage of its new friend in the White
House. In a fax sent to the CEQ on February 6th, 2001 - two weeks
after Bush took office - ExxonMobil's top lobbyist, Randy Randol,
demanded a housecleaning of the scientists in charge of studying
global warming. Exxon urged CEQ to dump Robert Watson, who chaired
the IPCC, along with Rosina Bierbaum and Mike MacCracken, who had
coordinated the National Assessment
Exxon's wish was the CEQ's command. According to an internal
e-mail obtained by Rolling Stone, Connaughton's first order of
business - even before his nomination was made public - was to
write his White House colleagues-to-be from his law firm of Sidley
& Austin. He echoed Exxon's call that Bierbaum, the acting
director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, be
"dealt." In the end, each of the scientists on Exxon's hit list was
replaced. "It was clear there was a strong lobby and activity
against me by some in the energy industry - especially ExxonMobil,"