Old Environmentalism

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 26, 2002 | Go to article overview

Old Environmentalism


Byline: John McCaslin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Old environmentalism

Robert Redford's fascination with politics didn't go unnoticed during a tribute to the actor at the 74th Academy Awards on Sunday night.

In fact, Mr. Redford might have given the most incredible performance of his career when narrating radio ads last week for the Natural Resources Defense Council, claiming that higher government fuel-economy standards means "safer" cars.

"For the NRDC and Mr. Redford to claim that more stringent fuel-economy standards would increase vehicle safety is absolutely ridiculous," says Sam Kazman, the nonpartisan Competitive Enterprise Institute's (CEI) general counsel and fuel-economy expert.

The ad campaign aired during last week's Senate debate over whether to raise fuel-economy standards. The CEI countered with a full-page ad in the Orem Times, the closest newspaper to Mr. Redford's Utah ranch.

If that's not enough of Mr. Redford for one week, Washington bureaucrats at the Department of Energy were not only treated to a special screening of the PBS film "In the Light of Reverence," they were lured to last week's matinee with this quote from Mr. Redford: "This beautifully crafted film is a wake-up call for everyone who cares about the environment and human rights."

Says one Energy official who sent us Uncle Sam's movie flyer: "Hard to believe that it is the Bush Department of Energy that is showing its employees a PBS film and touting it with a quote from left-wing shill Robert Redford. One wonders how the film's sponsor, DOE's Office of Public Accountability, will account to the public for the use of taxpayer resources and federal employees' time for such a purpose."

New environmentalism

Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton's "new environmentalism" vision is based on the Four C's: Communication, Consultation and Cooperation, all in the service of Conservation.

"At the heart of the Four C's is the belief that for conservation to be successful, we must involve the people who live on, work on, and yes, love the land," the secretary explains.

But will the bureaucracy buy it?

"I was delighted the other day to see that my Four C's have begun to resonate throughout Interior," Mrs. Norton says, holding up a park management statement for the planned Rosie the Riveter/World War II Homefront National Historical Park, a site owned by the city of Richmond, Calif. To her surprise, written into the statement is her own Four C's.

"When the bureaucracy starts to accept new environmentalism," she reacts, "then this administration is beginning to make a difference. …

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