This editorial appeared in The .
As the Bush administration heads for the exit, it is leaving behind a not-so-welcome gift to the nation in the form of new regulations that aren't in the national interest and will hamstring the new leadership in Washington for months, if not years. Most presidents do something similar. Mr. Bush's predecessor, Bill Clinton, rushed through a host of new federal rules in the waning days of his tenure that no doubt bedeviled the new president and his appointees.
But there is a difference. Mr. Clinton tightened regulations on the quality of drinking water and other environmental concerns in a way that would benefit the country. Mr. Bush is going in the opposite direction, relaxing environmental and other standards that in some cases date back to the era of Ronald Reagan. This is the same approach that the administration has followed with other environmental standards ever since its first days in office, much to the delight of industry lobbyists and to the alarm and dismay of advocates of clean air and water standards.
Some of the new regulations make little sense. They offer narrow benefits while opening the door to great potential danger. One such order likely to go into effect before the inauguration would scrap Department of Interior regulations that protect federal land from certain mining claims for periods extending up to three years.
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