Many Americans voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because of the presumption that Obama would influence the federal government to be less antagonistic to environmental concerns than the government had been under George W. Bush. The reality that we’re seeing under Barack Obama indicates that the presumption of Obama’s superior environmental attitude may not have been well founded.
The case of the peninsular bighorn sheep gives an example of why many people are beginning to be concerned that Barack Obama may be a less effective environmental steward than they had hoped for.
The peninsular bighorn sheep live wild in the hills of California from Palm Springs south to the border with Mexico. The problem is that not as many of the sheep live there as used to. They’re a threatened species.
In the first year of George W. Bush’s presidency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated 844,897 acres of habitat to be protected for the sake of the peninsular bighorn sheep. Now, in the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reducing that protection to just 376,938 acres. This reduction eliminates protection from areas that the USFWS acknowledges are critical habitat without which the sheep might not survive.
This is just one act among many taken by the Obama Administration. Some are environmentally positive, some are environmentally negative. Is the Obama presidency generally more environmentally responsible than the Bush presidency? Perhaps. Even if that’s true, the Bush presidency set an extremely low bar for success.
Those environmentalists who hoped that with the election of Obama, the US government would turn green, need to wake up and get back into the fight. It seems that, in many cases, unless it receives pressure from the American people, the Obama Administration will choose to make environmentally destructive decisions instead of creating the change we really need.