The Texas Two-Step | Sojourners

The Texas Two-Step

The Bush ranch house in Crawford, Texas, balances beauty with state-of-the-art energy efficiency. Designed by Austin environmental architect David Heymann, and built by members of a religious community from nearby Elm Mott, George W. and Laura Bush's dream home is built of a BTU-efficient, honey-toned native limestone quarried from the nearby Edwards Limestone Formation.

The passive-solar house is positioned to absorb winter sunlight, warming the interior walkways and walls. Underground water, which remains a constant 55 degrees year-round, is piped through a heat exchange system that keeps the interior warm in winter and cool in summer. A graywater reclamation system treats and reuses waste water. Rain gutters feed a cistern hooked to a sprinkler system for watering the fruit orchard and grass. Clearly, Bush goes home from the White House to a green house.

Yet the Bush administration's 63-member energy advisory team has 62 members with ties to oil, nuclear, or coal interests. His national energy policy places nuclear power, increased oil and natural gas drilling, and "clean coal" as its cornerstone. The Bush budget takes a definitive step away from developing renewable energy resources. According to the Pew Research Center, 54 percent of Americans distrust Bush's "muscular energy" environmental agenda. In May, 22 religious leaders were arrested at the Department of Energy protesting Bush's plan to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Bush ranch is the kind of place we'd all like to live. Too bad his environmental policies are moving the rest of the country in exactly the opposite direction.

CLEAN WATER. Bush has put on hold Clinton regulations that would have lowered arsenic in drinking water from 50 parts per billion to 10 ppb. The Bush budget eliminates the National Water Quality Assessment program and drastically cuts funds for hydrology research.

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 2001
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