Faster, Pussycat! Drill! Drill!

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A while back, Mother Jones’ Osha Gray Davidson exposed the environmental m.o. of the Bush administration in a piece focusing on the under-the-radar nature of policymaking in the age of Rove:

“What makes this administration different is the fact that it is filled with anti-regulatory zealots deep into its rank and file…The result is an administration uniquely effective at implementing its ambitious pro-industry agenda-with a minimum of public notice.”

Now comes the LA Times with a terrific story illustrating just how this works. In a nutshell, way back when, the Clinton administration came up with a rule that would have forced oil drillers to do more to keep gunk out of the groundwater. The drillers were not happy, and in 2002–when the EPA was still working on implementing the restrictions–a Texas oilman who happens to have been the mayor of Midland and also happened to have once run Reagan’s Texas campaign, wrote to his friend Karl Rove to “openly express doubt as to the merit of electing Republicans when we wind up with this type of stupidity.”

You know the rest; the rule is history, thanks in part to the folks over at the Office of Management and Budget, who made sure those EPA bureaucrats toed the line. Write the LAT’s Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten,

Environmentalists pointed to the Rove correspondence as evidence that the Bush White House, more than others, has mixed politics with policy decisions that are traditionally left to scientists and career regulators.

Ya think?

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WE'LL BE BLUNT

It is astonishingly hard keeping a newsroom afloat these days, and we need to raise $253,000 in online donations quickly, by October 7.

The short of it: Last year, we had to cut $1 million from our budget so we could have any chance of breaking even by the time our fiscal year ended in June. And despite a huge rally from so many of you leading up to the deadline, we still came up a bit short on the whole. We can’t let that happen again. We have no wiggle room to begin with, and now we have a hole to dig out of.

Readers also told us to just give it to you straight when we need to ask for your support, and seeing how matter-of-factly explaining our inner workings, our challenges and finances, can bring more of you in has been a real silver lining. So our online membership lead, Brian, lays it all out for you in his personal, insider account (that literally puts his skin in the game!) of how urgent things are right now.

The upshot: Being able to rally $253,000 in donations over these next few weeks is vitally important simply because it is the number that keeps us right on track, helping make sure we don't end up with a bigger gap than can be filled again, helping us avoid any significant (and knowable) cash-flow crunches for now. We used to be more nonchalant about coming up short this time of year, thinking we can make it by the time June rolls around. Not anymore.

Because the in-depth journalism on underreported beats and unique perspectives on the daily news you turn to Mother Jones for is only possible because readers fund us. Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism we exist to do. The only investors who won’t let independent, investigative journalism down are the people who actually care about its future—you.

And we need readers to show up for us big time—again.

Getting just 10 percent of the people who care enough about our work to be reading this blurb to part with a few bucks would be utterly transformative for us, and that's very much what we need to keep charging hard in this financially uncertain, high-stakes year.

If you can right now, please support the journalism you get from Mother Jones with a donation at whatever amount works for you. And please do it now, before you move on to whatever you're about to do next and think maybe you'll get to it later, because every gift matters and we really need to see a strong response if we're going to raise the $253,000 we need in less than three weeks.

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