Obama worse than Bush on the environment? O.K., that might be a stretch – but not as much as you might think, says an editorial in the LA Times over the weekend. Sure, Bush was a disaster. But he set aside more ocean for federal protection than any president in history. Obama? He loves to advertise the fact that he signed a bill protecting more than 2 million acres of wilderness and miles of scenic rivers. True enough – he did sign it; but the bill got going under Bush and Obama had had little-to-no role in shaping or passing it. And now, with House Republicans hell-bent on reversing years of environmental progress, Obama's response has been "silent acquiescence." Take the the budget bill passed by Congress and signed by Obama in April. It was crammed with "appalling" measures, including one stripping protection from wolves in five Western states, and another undoing an initiative from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to protect public lands. Obama could could have vetoed the bill, or threatened to; he did neither. Obama no doubt calculates that there's not much percentage in going to bat for wolves and meadows at a time of high unemployment and economic anxiety. But that's a mistake, even politically, argues the editorial. "American voters support conservation, making it a political winner, not a loser. They'll back a president who stands up for preserving public lands for the public."
• 'Obama lukewarm on conservation' [Los Angeles Times]