In an ironic turn of events, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum received a “Climate Hero Award” from California Senator Barbara Boxer on Monday. While the architects who designed facility certainly worked hard to achieve the highest standards in energy conservation, the same cannot be said for the former president’s policy decisions while in office.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum located in Dallas Texas is operated by the National Archives and Records Administration and is home to 80 terabytes of digital information, more than 200 million emails, and 43,000 artifacts from the Bush Administration. The 226,565 square foot building is constructed to LEED Platinum standards using brick, limestone, and other regionally sourced materials.
“The George W. Bush Presidential Center has demonstrated true leadership in making energy conservation a top priority,” said Senator Boxer. “It was a pleasure to see first-hand the library’s innovative and energy-efficient designs and to honor these important achievements with the Climate Hero Award.”
As the Huffington Post notes, the Bush Administration was known for dragging its heels on climate change legislation and frequently making matters worse. Bush famously rejected the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, weakened the Clean Air Act, and was accused of silencing a top climate scientist in 2005. Vice President Cheney secretly met with oil and gas giants to draft a national energy policy which was roundly viewed as weak and laden with handouts to special interests. The Bush Administration’s climate record is considered so dismal, that the NRDC has compiled an interactive timeline exhibiting scores of unenlightened policies.
It is strange that although Bush did little to push progressive climate legislation during his tenure, a LEED building will house his legacy. Whether it is an effort to greenwash his past or establish a better relationship with the environment remains to be seen.
Images © Peter Aaron and Eric Draper, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum