In keeping with this Beltway machismo, the Bush administration has played fast and loose with the health of people unlucky enough to live near power plants or toxic industrial sites. More than 16,000 old and dirty power plants, petroleum refineries, chemical factories, and industrial facilities were permanently exempted from having to install modern pollution control technologies. Under Bush's so-called Clear Skies proposal, many communities would be subjected to four times more toxic mercury from coal-fired power plants than they would if the Clean Air Act were simply enforced. Property contaminated with highly toxic PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) can now be sold without any obligation for the seller to clean up. Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware.
The president allowed his brother, Jeb Bush, to resume injecting untreated wastewater into Florida's drinking water aquifiers. The administration allowed hazardous waste to be "recycled" into fertilizer, which could be used on playgrounds, golf courses, and parks--and then decided that such waste-based fertilizers could be used to grow food as well.