Bush put up a parking lot

If nothing else, George W. Bush is all about the war. The war on the Taliban, the war on insurgents in Iraq, the war on terrorism and, of course, the coming war on the “axis of evil.”

But here at home, the most threatening is his war against our environment. Whether it’s the new guidelines for sawing down old-growth timber, the allowing of oil exploration in the pristine wilderness or the gutting of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcement, Bush has brought the battle to environmentalists.

It seems appropriate to consider this on Earth Day, when we all should be reaffirming our right to drink pure water, breathe clean air and enjoy the natural resources that our country has preserved. Many U.S. citizens would agree that those are birth rights and definitely worth fighting for. One might assume our government would be all about fighting polluters and protecting us, but that is not currently the case.

The original Earth Day in 1970 was seen as a threat to companies belching smoke into our skies and polluting streams and rivers. And through the development of federal and state EPAs, much has been done to lessen the adverse effects. But now, large corporations friendly with the administration are beneficiaries of rollbacks on rules and enforcement.

So, we still need to be vigilant, and you’ll see our efforts to identify those Sacramento-area companies harming our air and water (see “The Dirty Dozen”).

Our chief executive will be waging war abroad, so it will be up to us to get to the environmental battle lines at home and make sure he knows that we don’t want corporate polluters to get away with breaking laws already on the books. An awareness of the struggle could start by attending an Earth Day celebration at California State University, Sacramento, this Saturday.