Obama: Bush’s environmental policy ‘deeply disturbing’ | NevadaAppeal.com

Obama: Bush’s environmental policy ‘deeply disturbing’

Susan Wood
Nevada Appeal News Service
Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., greets supporters after a speech to about 4,000 at a downtown park in Reno on Thursday.

RENO – After addressing a campaign-friendly crowd of more than 3,000 at Wingfield Park, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama told the Tahoe Daily Tribune on Thursday he would work to reverse environmental laws rolled back from the Bush administration’s time in office.

The 2008 Democratic presidential candidate from Illinois used his first visit to Reno to field press questions that are pertinent to the West. And being an early primary state with Iowa and New Hampshire, Nevada has shown its importance for a lengthy list of Democratic candidates from Sens. Hillary Clinton and John Edwards and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson who have paraded through the state in recent weeks.

“Certainly, there’s been a chipping away at clean-air and clean-water laws. It’s deeply disturbing. Fortunately, some of them can be reversed by executive order,” he said in the media conference after the afternoon rally.

Obama explained the Environmental Protection Agency has been demoralized and “not taken seriously.” He added the Federal Emergency Management Agency to the fray of agencies intimidated by the politics of the day.

“These people need to feel they can carry out their jobs with vigor. I’ll tell you, one of the things you can count on me for is integrity, confidence and people who are experts at management and (are) independent. I want somebody to argue with me and tell me when I’m wrong. That’s what my wife does,” he said.

Obama’s wife, Michelle – an accomplished executive in her own right – was mentioned early on during the rally when he dictated why he decided to run for president. At 46 years old, the Hawaiian native and lawyer has been criticized for having limited experience as a junior federal senator after logging less than a decade in Illinois state office.

But to the cheers of change and jeers of the current administration from sign-waving supporters, Obama took aim at the Bush administration’s domestic policies and touted his own health-care plan. He pledged to provide health care to “every American” by the end of his first term without breaking the bank if he’s elected. The proposal was disputed by Edwards, who while visiting Nevada, estimated the plan would be an enormous expense.

Obama also rattled off new proposals for education, energy, environment, economy and foreign policy – the latter labeled the most critical by the candidate and others who listened to the speech.

“Most of all, we need to turn the page on a war that should have never been authorized and never been waged,” the candidate said over the “Amens” and “Yeahs” from the audience.

The Iraq conflict has claimed more than 3,400 lives, prompting many Americans to oppose the war.

“I like that he wants to put our foreign policy in good standing internationally. I think we have poor relations that puts our country in a more vulnerable position than we were security wise six years ago,” said Kim Carr, a South Lake Tahoe woman who attended the rally with her husband, John Friedrich, and daughter, Rosie, who’s almost 1 year old.

Carr said after the rally she hopes Obama would bring along Congress in his quest to reverse rolled back environmental law. She’s still on the fence with her candidate decision – as is longtime South Lake Tahoe resident Bill Kingman.

“I like that he wants government to be run by the people, not by the elite,” said Kingman, who identifies himself as nonpartisan but weary of stubborn politics from Bush.

Ken Myron, who came with Kingman, said he gets the sense that Obama is honest.

Stateline resident Cindy Trigg, who’s involved in a group called the Blue Lake Tahoe Democrats, said she’s checking out all the candidates but advocates Obama’s passion.

There was no question who Francesca Loftis was gunning for while volunteering at the rally as a member of El Dorado County (California) for Obama.

“Our man’s in town,” Loftis yelled out to attendees as they filed into the park amphitheater.