White House Politics and the Environment: Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush

White House Politics and the Environment: Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush

White House Politics and the Environment: Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush

White House Politics and the Environment: Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush


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When Barbara and Rick Benton find a wizard named Harrison Peabody in an old bottle, they quickly discover that magic isnt as simple as it looks. But even tricky magic is better than no magic, and soon the Bentons are flying around Prospect Park with a large black umbrella and befriending a sea serpent in the lake. How can they keep Harrison a secret, though, when hes living in their attic?

Delightful stories that deal with matter-of-fact magic, Ruth Chews books have been engaging young readers for over 40 years. Now another generation can discover the timelessness of these marvelous tales.


Several years ago in our book American Politics and the Environment, we stated that “environmental policy is largely a composite of contributions and input from elected and appointed officials operating in political institutions at every level of government.” The first question any reader might ask us, then, is why we took several years to focus on presidential politics and the environment. Our response is that we recognized the ever-increasing importance of the environment to all Americans and the unquestioned significance of the president in our political system. Certainly since the 1960s and Rachel Carson’s award-winning book Silent Spring, many of us have been made aware that with industrial development in the United States came many environmental challenges. It was President John Kennedy, in fact, who called America’s attention to the billions of dollars lost to air pollution, including the five hundred million dollars in damage to agricultural products alone. This made us wonder whether other modern presidents had been as sensitive to the environmental damage and health risk we all confront through air inversions, polluted water, toxic waste, and climate change, or were other presidents more concerned with economic development?

We also were interested in knowing what impact any one president could have in responding to such environmental problems. Both of us were well aware that Theodore Roosevelt understood the need to conserve resources and to have public accountability—concerns that stayed with him throughout his presidency. Moreover, we were aware that the conservation interests of TR in his day had grown in scope and complexity in our day to encompass the entire environmental movement, including such issues as ocean pollution, toxic and hazardous waste, wilderness preservation, biodiversity, climate change, and recycling. Inevitably, we asked whether the issues were far too complex and involved for a single president to begin to resolve. That question was our focus in this study.

We next addressed how we would go about examining presidential responses to environmental challenges. Our feeling was to limit our focus to the modern presidents—the twelve presidents since Franklin Roosevelt, end-

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