Federal courts appear to have done what relentless green lobbying could not in more than seven years: rein in what critics call a de facto deregulation of the environment by President Bush's administration.
The courts by and large have rejected Bush's bid to significantly rewrite America's bedrock conservation laws, particularly the Clean Air Act.
The latest rejection came last week when a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a halt to three proposed logging projects in the northern Sierra. The ruling repudiated the administration's approach to forest management: selling large trees to loggers to finance removal of smaller trees in the name of fire protection.
"It appears to be the worst losing percentage of any administration over the past three decades," said Patrick Parenteau, senior attorney at Vermont Law School's Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. Jonathan Adler, an environmental law expert and frequent commentator for the conservative National Review Online, didn't paint a better score card. "We can say they have a poor record in court."
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