We're at a definite turn in the road," says Nathaniel P. Reed, assistant secretary of the Interior for fish, wildlife and parks under presidents Nixon and Ford. " George Bush will have a personal involvement with environmental issues. Interior is going to be a far different place, as will the Environmental Protection Agency. You can bet on it."
Frank Blake, general counsel at the EPA from 1985 until earlier this year, and now a candidate for the agency's top job, says, "The new President will be committed to environmental issues. That's going to make a huge difference. I think you'll see initiatives from the White House on acid rain, clean air, clean water, and parks maintenance."
If Reed and Blake are correct, Bush's election may herald a kinder, gentler era for the environment. Skeptics point out that while Bush presents himself as a Republican conservationist in the Teddy Roosevelt tradition, he has supported most of the Reagan Administration's anti-conservation policies. Nonetheless, during the campaign, Bush said that, as President, he would:
?Propose legislation to curb acid rain by limiting nitrogen-oxide emissions from power plants.
?Convene a global conference to discuss remedies for ozone depletion, deforestation and acid rain.
?Support a stronger Clean Air Act, which the Reagan Administration has successfully resisted.
?Ban all ocean dumping of sewage sludge by 1991 and support the creation of national marine sanctuaries.
?Vigorously enforce toxic-waste laws.
?Promote a "no net loss" policy for wetlands, by which a new ecosystem would be created whenever development disturbs existing wetlands.
?Consider acquiring more land for the national parks system and elevating the EPA to cabinet-level status.