Bill McKibben reviews recent books on the environment for the NYRB. He’s singing the jeremiah blues–with reason:

“For more than three years now, day after day and week after week, a small circle of political appointees at the EPA, the Forest Service, the Interior Department, and the Department of Agriculture have proceeded methodically to wreck the system of environmental oversight that dates back to the Nixon administration. Apart from their silence on global warming, they have overturned rule after regulation, largely ceased enforcement actions concerning pollution of the atmosphere and water, and reined in inspectors. Their work is not inspired by a grand ideological vision—it’s not like Bush’s foreign policy, say, with its idea of America dominating the world. Instead it’s institutionalized corruption: a steady payback to the logging, mining, corporate farming, fossil fuel, and other industries that contributed heavily to put Bush in power.

The scale of this assault on the environment is so large as to be numbing. With a hundred battles occurring simultaneously and without a majority in either chamber of Congress to hold hearings or issue subpoenas, the environmental movement has been almost paralyzed. In Congress and the administration, loss has followed loss in such steady succession that even the most conventional environmentalists, usually bipartisan to a fault and reluctant to jump into electoral politics, now find themselves with a single goal: defeating Bush in November.”

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