Washington Post Applauds Obama's 'First Actions' on Environment

The old adage goes, “There are two sides to every issue.” It’s true, unless you report for The Washington Post. In a Jan. 26 story, Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson wrote that President Barack Obama was planning to reverse two Bush administration policies regarding automobile emissions.

Mr. Obama’s moves may be warranted and beneficial. But because the Post didn’t bother to include the perspective of anyone from the former administration, or even of a third party sympathetic to it, readers would be hard-pressed to make that judgment.

According to the article,

Obama will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider whether to grant California a waiver to regulate automobile tailpipe emissions linked to global warming, sources said, and he will order the Transportation Department to issue guidelines that will ensure that the nation's auto fleet reaches an average fuel efficiency of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, if not earlier.

The Post report dutifully quoted unnamed White House sources calling the moves "the first environment and energy actions taken by the president, helping our country move toward greater energy independence." But it gave short shrift to the reasoning behind the Bush decisions, other than saying that the EPA had argued that the California waiver was redundant. The increased gas mileage and decreased greenhouse emissions were “something American automakers have resisted.”

Eilperen and Mufson didn’t question the wisdom of placing demands on companies so unhealthy that Federal billions of dollars bailout money is currently keeping them alive. They didn’t mention the potential costs of the actions, which could be as much as $114 billion. They also didn’t mention that some question the effectiveness of raising fuel efficiency standards; since higher fuel efficiency makes it less expensive to drive, people will drive more miles.

But they managed to quote some Obama cheerleaders, including Daniel J. Weiss of the Center for American Progress – “a liberal think tank.” Weiss said Obama “understands that oil and gasoline prices will rise with our recovering economy, and more fuel-efficient cars will help families cope with higher prices. And other countries will want to buy our more-efficient vehicles."

For good measure, the authors found Frank O'Donnell, the head of the environmental group Clean Air Watch, to fawn over Obama.

"Not only is the new president a man of his word, but he's making a dramatic break with the Bush administration's climate policy." O’Donnel said."It's a powerful signal that science – and the law – will guide his administration's decisions. This should prompt cheers from California to Maine.”