Presidents before the 1980's
The Reagan Administration
Reagan campaigned against strict government regulations and worked to reduce involvement in the environmental arena, directly opposing the pro-environmental protection viewpoint that was upheld during the 1970's.
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
The act was the most attention Reagan paid to the environmental problems of the time. The act also angered most environmentalists, who felt that Reagan was not enforcing the environmental protection acts set up by presidents previously. The direct opposition to these earlier acts angered many people who hoped to protect American lands and stop all dumping, drilling, and other industrial acts done often by companies who want the most amount of goods for the cheapest amount of money, regardless of all environmental costs. Because this was largely the mindset of President Reagan as well, regulations for these things were very slack during the time, giving a large advantage to these companies in that they could now essentially do what they wanted with land and waters, as their pro-business president was on their side in terms of environmental aspects.
Reagan's Environmental Ignorance and the Consequences
Environmentalists feared the worst when Reagan was elected, due to his earlier statements that "Trees cause pollution," and "A tree is a tree. How many more do you have to look at?"
Their fears were somewhat realized, because in the early years of the Reagan Administration, the administration worked to slash budgets, reduce regulation, and open lands for drilling, mining, grazing, and other private uses in addition to infiltrating important environmental organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency. These political moves by Reagan were made in an effort to promote business and industry by providing less government involvement in industrial and manufacturing practices, as opposed to the earlier strict regulations enforced by Presidents of the 1960's and 1970's.
Reagan also made the decision to remove solar panels on the roof of the White House West Wing. These panels had been placed on the House by former President Carter and contributed to the power supply that runs White House electricity. The panels remained absent for 31 years, until current President Obama reinstated them.
This ignorance would lead to environmentalists turning against the Reagan administration due to its belief in business. This belief would lead to the administration relaxing regulations on industries that used the environment to better themselves. Therefore, Reagan's image in the business sector was greatly improved, while environmentalists grew bitter of his refusal to uphold the protection acts and bills enforced by earlier Presidents.
Reagan, R.. N.p.. Web. 29 May 2013. <http://www.allhatnocattle.net/reaganquotes.htm>.
Kovarik, W. (. D. ).. N.p.. Web. 29 May 2013. <http://22.214.171.124/~enviror4/20th-century/eighties/>.
Shabecoff, P.. N.p.. Web. 29 May 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/1989/01/02/us/reagan-and-environment-to-many-a-stalemate.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm>.