Timber, farming and property rights advocates, who gave nearly $1 million to the Bush campaign during the 2000 election, have historically been thwarted by the Endangered Species Act. In a recent attempt to get around the act, the Bush administration claimed it would count hatchery-raised salmon in the stock assessment, increasing the salmon populations artificially. This would enable the administration to get rid of restrictions on commerce, development and the protected status for more than two dozen endangered species of salmon. The policy ignores the findings of the administration's own panel of scientific experts.
**Mercury in the Fish We Eat
**President Bush's clean air policy leaves something to be desired as well. Coal-burning power plants produce mercury that eventually makes its way into the oceangoing fish we eat. This year the Food and Drug Administration issued warnings about mercury levels in albacore tuna, urging pregnant women and young children to eat no more than 12 ounces of the fish a week. In the past, the agency has suggested that people limit their intake of shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, which have high levels of mercury, too. To comply with the Clean Air Act, the EPA recommended a 90-percent reduction in power-plant mercury emissions by 2008. Instead, the Bush administration proposed a "cap and trade" system for mercury that would lead to a 70-percent reduction by 2018. It's interesting to note that the head of the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation was previously a power industry representative and that many of Bush's environmental appointees were once lobbyists for industries that were big donors to his campaign.