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New Left Review I/201, September-October 1993


Alexander Cockburn

‘Win-Win’ with Bruce Babbitt: The Clinton Administration Meets the Environment

For the environmental movement in America the allure of the Democratic ticket in 1992 was not Bill Clinton. His record in Arkansas was poor. Tyson, the chicken mogul, had fouled the state’s rivers with an enthusiasm equalled only by his zeal for Clinton’s political well-being. Not fifteen miles from the state capitol in Little Rock was the township of Jacksonville. Here were stored leaky drums of ‘Agent Orange’, residue of a manufactory that had flourished in the Vietnam years. For years Jacksonville’s residents had imparted to Governor Clinton news of the cancers metastasizing in their community as a result of the dioxin waste. The governor wept in sympathy and did nothing, even when the federal government started incinerating these same drums of dioxin, thus disseminating the poison more efficiently. But if Clinton was, from the environmental point of view, a dubious prospect, his running mate seemed a creature of bright promise. Al Gore had even written a book about perils to the environment, notably the supposed greenhouse effect. And the national leadership of the environmental movement had high hopes that in the event of Clinton’s victory, Bruce Babbitt would be appointed Secretary of the Interior.

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