Crimes against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy

Crimes against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy

by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Jr. Kennedy

Paperback(Reprint)

$14.18 $14.99 Save 5% Current price is $14.18, Original price is $14.99. You Save 5%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, July 22

Overview

Crimes against Nature reveals the hidden history behind three of the nation's first parklands: the Adirondacks, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon. Focusing on conservation's impact on local inhabitants, Karl Jacoby traces the effect of criminalizing such traditional practices as hunting, fishing, foraging, and timber cutting in the newly created parks. Jacoby reassesses the nature of these "crimes" and provides a rich portrait of rural people and their relationship with the natural world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060746889
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/05/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.65(d)

About the Author

Robert F Kennedy, Jr., an environmental attorney and activist, is the president of Waterkeeper Alliance. He is the author of numerous books, including Crimes Against Nature and The Riverkeepers. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, among other publications.

Read an Excerpt

Crimes Against Nature

Chapter One

The Mess in Texas

As you fly over the Houston Ship Channel at twilight, thousands of flares seem to ignite in the approaching darkness. Smokestacks from more than a hundred massive chemical factories, oil refineries, and power plants have suddenly become steel towers of light and fire. From the air, it's not hard to understand why some call this area the "golden triangle." This concentration of industry, which includes a 3,000-acre ExxonMobil facility the planet's largest oil refinery -- generates enough wealth for its owners to make the Texas economy bigger than the gross domestic product of most nations.1

It is a different scene on the ground. There the twilight flares rumble, the ground shakes, the air hisses. Plumes of black smoke belch upward and acrid odors permeate the atmosphere. The smell of money, some call it. But from this earthly vantage point -- especially for low-income residents living downwind in eastern Harris County -- it is less a golden triangle than a scene out of Dante's Inferno.

The ubiquitous highway signs warning "Don't Mess With Texas," haven't deterred the state's polluters one bit. Here are some basic facts about the Lone Star State: According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, fully one-quarter of Texas's streams and rivers are so polluted that they do not meet standards set for recreational use.2 Half of the state's 20 million people reside in areas where the smog pollution surpasses federal limits.3 In 1999, Houston overtook Los Angeles as America's smoggiest city. Texas also rankedfirst in toxic releases to the environment, first in total toxic air emissions from industrial facilities, first in toxic chemical accidents, and first in cancer-causing pollution.4 Also in 1999, 15 of the nation's 30 highest smog readings were all taken in Texas.5 Every major urban area -- Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, and Longview -- either failed to meet the EPA's minimum air quality standards, or was on the verge of failing.6

"The level of damage to human health is extraordinary," says Tom Smith, director of the Texas office of Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization. He cites a recent mayoral study estimating annual pollution-related health care costs of between $2.9 and $3.1 billion in the Houston metropolitan area alone.7 Air pollution kills an estimated 435 people a year in the city.8 "We lead the nation in childhood asthma," says Lanell Anderson, a resident of Clear Lake, a town south of Houston that's surrounded by chemical plants. "We lead the nation in childhood cancer ... Our cup runneth over."9

Texas has long been one of the most polluted states in the country, but rather than remedy the situation, George W. Bush set out to destroy virtually all attempts to clean up the state's tainted air, water, and land. During his six-year reign as governor, from 1994 to 2000, Texas dropped to number 49 in spending on the environment.10 Under his watch, Texas had the worst pollution record in the United States. It sent the most toxic chemicals and carcinogens into the air. It had the highest emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), accounting for a least 10 percent of the national total. It had the most chemical spills and Clean Water Act violations, and produced the largest volume of hazardous waste.11 As New York Times colum nist Bob Herbert put it shortly before Bush received the Republican nomination in 2000, "Mr. Bush's relationship to the environment is roughly that of a doctor to a patient -- where the doctor's name is Kevorkian."12

The anti-environment agenda of today's White House was honed and perfected during Bush's gubernatorial years. It was in Texas that he developed the tactics and policies that guide his autocratic leadership today: closed-door meetings with industry insiders who are among his biggest campaign contributors; reliance on pseudo-scientific "studies" by right wing think tanks; emasculation of regulations that cut into industry profits; citizens muzzled in debates that affect their communities.

Soon after becoming governor, Bush declared tort reform an "emergency issue" and appointed judges who made it all but impossible for Texans to bring class action lawsuits against polluters. In 1995 he pushed through the Private Real Property Rights Preservation Act, a radical "takings" bill that would make taxpayers pay polluters' cost of complying with pollution laws. According to this view, corporations should be able to do what they want with their private property; if the state cuts into their profits by forcing them to adopt pollution-control measures, the state (i.e., the public) should pay. This perverse doctrine reverses a millennium of western property law that holds that owners can use their property as the please, but never in a way that diminishes their neighbors' property or the public trust properties like air and water. Leading the charge for this radical new approach was right-wing private-property advocate Marshall Kuykendall, who complained at a public forum that the last time the federal government took our property without compensation is "when Lincoln freed the slaves."13

In another foreshadowing of his presidency, Bush installed a pro-industry troika to run the state's environmental agency, the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission. Bush selected Barry McBee, a lawyer with a host of oil-industry clients, to chair the TNRCC. At his previous position at the Texas Department of Agriculture, farm labor and environmental groups accused McBee of helping to dismantle a program that kept farmworkers out of fields that were still "hot" after pesticide applications. The second appointee was Ralph Marquez, a former Monsanto executive and lobbyist for the Texas Chemical Council. Marquez quashed a plan to issue health warnings to Houston residents on high-smog days and later testified before a congressional committee that ozone "is a relatively benign pollutant."14 Bush's third appointment was a cattleman named John Baker, former official of the Texas Farm Bureau, a sworn enemy of pesticide regulations.15

The new TNRCC came to be known by the moniker "Train Wreck." Until this new regime was in place, all Texas citizens had the right to challenge pollution permits required by companies for their waste disposal. This right is one of the few recourses that regular folks have to protect their health, homes, and communities from the ravages of pollution. The new TNRCC soon eliminated this policy, as well as the longstanding practice of making surprise inspections of industrial plants. It discovered loopholes in all kinds of federal and state environmental regulations ...

Crimes Against Nature. Copyright © by Robert Kennedy, Jr.. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Crimes against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Devil_llama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm afraid my rating of this book might have been colored by the association of the author with the ludicrous anti-vaccination crusaders. Overall, I remember it being reasonably well written, but I can't divorce my opinion of the author from his participation in such a deadly, misguided, anti-scientific crusade.
ariellechaya More than 1 year ago
Very good book, especially if you're interested in environmental issues. Very detailed in regard to what was done or better yet, lack thereof, during W's administration.
baseballlover More than 1 year ago
I wouldn't say that this was one of my favorite books, but i really opened my eyes to what exactly bushes negatives really were. I would say usually that once i picked this book up i had trouble puttintg it down, but for this one i just had trouble picking it up. One majore thing that i didnt't find favor in is just how much he bashes on our lst president bush. I know that he wasn't the best, but really do we need a book basically listing off all of them. There could be a book for every presidents faults and negatives but is it really neccasary? For example, how president Borak Obama has a smokeing proble, or how FDR was a freak some could say. Im sure that Robert F. Kennedy has some of his own faults. I know he is against Bushes administration and all his lies, but i just don't think that he needs to really list and then reuse them in this 200 page book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book as an assignment for my English IV class. At first I was skeptical about this book because it is non-fiction but once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. I learned a lot from reading this book and now I can't believe that George W. Bush was elected President twice. There were many disturbing facts about how the Bush administration has been destroying the environment. Everyone should read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Let's say that there are cookie crumbs next to the cookie jar and your child has a chocolate smudge on his face -- you ask your child if he ate a cookie and he replies, 'NO! I didn't eat a cookie right at this second' - That is entirely true. Half truths and dancing are in fact not factual. --------- This book is obviously politically motivated - no doubt. Smart people do not need such half truths called truths by an author who is not entirely honest. For example Under Bush, this big bad political machine leader who is committing crimes of all natures, is the same one who had more EPA closers and fines in his first two years in office than Clinton did in his entire eight years in office. It doesn't mention what much of what the author seemingly purposely omitted, (which is not really credible) for example Bush's ranch is one of the most ecologically sound properties in Texas - producing his own natural energy, recycling water, energy (in more than one fashion), etc. and has been doing so for decades. --------- It doesn't mention that Ted Kennedy owns five oil drilling sites in five states here in the US and charges the same amount of money as imported oil or that each site is on land swindled from Black American families.. or that his profits are in a Fiji bank - safe from taxes... (is that criminal?). No mention of the liberal fanatical spokeswomen, Barbara Striesand, (who is charged thousands again for yet another last concert - criminal), and her all out attack on wasteful use of energy is the same who has an air conditioning unit in her excitedly large barn or that she pays in excess of 20K for the watering of her grounds, (not recycled) --------- His corporate allegations are missing major components as well, like the factual evidences from his opposition. --------- All in all it is yet another deception that Americans do not need to read or believe in. Better to check out the individual facts of cases you are interested in, the government records that are online for energy, conservation business, oil etc., that contain factual information over the course of decades. There is no 'United' in United States with this type of author making sure that there is not. To say this is a book that both parties should read is very misleading, as if it would give some insight that would benefit both. It is a political bashing job, nothing more, nothing credible, nothing worth your read (unless you are one of the few who thrive on the attacking party fights and political discord)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book offers minimal contributions to the understanding of crime in America. The authors main objective is to bash Republicans rather than provide further knowledge into the complex world of white-collar/corporate crime. This book is opinionated, biased, and loutish.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While reading this book(and I am still reading it), I kept thinking how the people of the United States have been throroughly duped. Any person in the United States who truly cares about this wonderful country with its freedom and democracy, should read this treatise on the threat of the environment. This includes not only our cities and towns, but our beautiful national, state,and county parks. I have been recommending this book to all my friends because I am so disgusted with the condition and state of affairs of the leadership of the current administration. There is no pride nor glory to be taken in what is being done to this nation. These people have no conscience. I am ashamed to have them leading our country. Thank you Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. for extending my enlightment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.¿s book, Crimes Against Nature, is a highly respectable account of current environmental problems that are being ignored by the Bush administration. Although this is written from a notably Liberal standpoint, it has the capacity to be enjoyed by and teach a lesson to Republicans as well. It serves the general purpose of informing our society of many important and neglected issues that are affecting and therefore harming the environment. Through the aspects of content, organization, and word selection this book is a reputable choice for anyone who has an interest in our environment. The content and topics discussed in this book are serious, real, and somewhat complicated. The book covers a wide range from dealing with the U.S. Forest Service to many EPA issues. While Kennedy confronts the issues head on, he also explains them precisely. It seems that every abbreviated term is clarified and every major issue is supported with established credibility. The subjects are also presented in an approachable and understandable matter. For example, when trying to explain the importance and historical significance of our natural resources, Kennedy relates it to the Roman Empire (Kennedy 20). I also like how Kennedy compares and contrasts current problems to their origin. He makes note of the September 11th issue and the conditions with the Clean Air Act. The reflection made it easier to understand and relate to that horrific day, rather than just bringing up a random air sampling. The one problem I had with the content of this book was that the viewpoint was truly biased. Although it was expected and I agreed with it for the most part, Kennedy really only portrayed the Liberal view point. It did not criticize the Bush administration too bad to the point where that became the main focus of the book, so that was appreciated and made for more enjoyable reading. However, I suppose it may have been more controversial or interesting to hear two well described opinions. The next analysis is Kennedy¿s organization of his book. I found that the introduction and conclusion of this novel were legitimate, concise, and well covered. The introduction prepared the reader for what to expect. It made reference to topics that would be critiqued. Kennedy also made his point of view very clear and his intentions for this book. He stated that this book was written for a purpose and it is clear to see his point through out the writings. His conclusion was also essential to the book and well written. It was very conclusive in terms of summarizing many topics and opinions. He also gave light to a new generation, by giving hope to what America¿s environment could possibly become. I think another positive aspect of Kennedy¿s book is the well supported facts and statistics that are documented throughout the book. In fact, for almost every political organization or point that is made about an environmental issue, there is a statistic to back it up. The same compliment follows for the quotes. As to my knowledge, Kennedy seems to interview and cite notable and knowledgeable people who are well educated in their individual fields of study. It is also more credible, because all of the sources are easily located and documented at the end of the book. The only critical point I have about his organization of the book is the length. I feel that some of the information could have been easily condensed. The main part of the book lists many organizations that are followed with a reputable attack against Bush¿s environmental tactics. While all this information was somewhat beneficial and made a point, I find it questionable how much was essential. I feel that some of the information was a little repetitive and could have been left out, while still making the same strong point. My final aspect is the word selections within this book. As previously mentioned, this book touches on some deep and intellectually chall
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book opened up my eyes to so much that I never even thought about. I used to be pro Bush, but even before I read this book I was criticizing him on many issues, RFK jr. has tought me so much about protecting the enviornment, and how Bush's Administration was doing the opposite. Anyone who is suspicious should read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I Recomend that everyone read this book. It will totally open your eyes to George W. Bush and what he has not done for our environment. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is one of the most passionate environmentalists of our time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is such an informative book. Finally someone has the courage to stand up and tell the world the real story of what is happening with our environment and the Bush admin.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Written so that we can truly see what's happening... I cannot imagine a better book to give a 'Blind Bushie'! If a person cannot see this Administration for what it is after this book -- there's truly no hope for them. This heavily documented book shows HOW perverse and dangerous this Bush II's Presidency is to the American Way of Life. Our land, water, air, economy, reputation, free trade and democracy are all being undermined. While the author initially concentrates on environmental issues, he then introduces the reader to how this Presidency is wrecking our Democracy and our country's defenses against terrorists. Not quite dispassionate (who can be with this subject?!), but very, very clear!! ...and very, very factual! He draws a strong picture of the deceit used to shove tons of money out to the very wealthy few at the expense of every taxpayer. As an added bonus, this book is written so that nearly ANY person (at different levels of intelligence) can pick it up and understand it. It's full of meat for the skeptic, but clearly written for the feeble. That's quite a feat and I'm in awe of Kennedy's ability to do it so consistently. Thank you -- I'm buying this book by the dozens to send out to the blind people that I love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Americans - Republicans, Democrates and any other strip should read this horror story. Secrecy in government is not acceptable in a democracy. Another four years with W can be tragic. I voted for him once, but never again! This is an eye opening book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If this book doesn't open your eyes, nothing will. It is absolutely shocking what is happening behind the scenes, the degradation by this Administration of our environmental protections created over the last thirty years. Do not wait, do not walk, run to the book store to get this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Coming from Germany we had the same problem 30 years ago, only in a smaller scale. Since then Germany managed the enviromental problems pretty good, but that happened only through media and critical citizens. I live in the US now again 4 years and I was asking myself- why does nobody complain about the pollution in air, soil and water-and do something about it. Now I know. The best book I ever read.