US vice presidential candidates Al Gore and George W Bush try to hog the limelight by addressing crucial environmental problems
the book is called Earth in the Balance . But it remains to be seen whether this environmental treatise can actually tilt the balance in favour of its author, the Democrat us vice president Al Gore who will defend his seat against the Republican nominee, Governor George W Bush of Texas. In fact, the environment issue is now of such "national value," that neither of the parties care to project an "anti-environment" stance.
Towards that end, Texas governor George W Bush too has taken some crucial measures. In the first week of April, Bush announced a six-pronged strategy to clean up and redevelop polluted industrial sites. Yet the governor's environmental record is not too clean, with Texas recording the highest level of toxic releases according to the us Environmental Protection Agency ( epa ).
Hinting at this pollution graph, Bush has suggested that the epa should set more flexible standards for clean-ups than those under the Superfund rules, a federal programme to decontaminate and reuse the most polluted sites.
Meanwhile, his Republican party has launched a scathing attack on Gore's book. Most Republicans view Gore as not an environmentalist but an environmental extremist. "Like Gore's early quarter-century of public life, Earth in the Balance is plagued by a combination of liberalism, elitism, hypocrisy and hyperbole, punctuated by an unhealthy extremism," state a document prepared by a Republican research analyst.
In the book, Gore makes a controversial suggestion calling for a worldwide effort aimed at "eliminating the internal combustion engine over, say, a 25-year period." Many view this as a good idea but unlikely to come about. Otherwise, too, the book has a strikingly reflective tone and is considered by some to be a result of Gore's mid-life crisis. Nevertheless, his allies and the Democrats affirm that Gore's concerns for the environment, as reflected in Earth in the Balance , show that he is way ahead of his time.
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