When I made my decision to leave the Republican Party in 2001, I expressed my deep concerns and disagreements with the Bush Administration’s direction on the environment. Now, looking back over the past three-and-a-half years, my concerns have proven well-founded. The Bush Administration has worked to gut more than 34 years of progress by weakening many of our nation’s standing environmental laws. Nothing illustrates this better than the President’s assault on clean air. The Clean Air Act, first signed into law in 1970 by President Nixon, is intended to reduce pollution and related health effects resulting from smog, soot and haze. The law has worked, and was subsequently improved upon by President Ford and greatly expanded by President Bush Senior. Candidate George W. Bush pledged to work with Congress on legislation to reduce the four major air pollutants: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and carbon dioxide. That was an important commitment for many of us. Unfortunately, just two months into his term, President Bush broke that pledge. From his proposed changes to the New Source Review program to his proposal to delay mercury reductions, President Bush has been at war with the Clean Air Act. The cost of all this dirty air the Bush Administration continues to spew comes at the expense of the environment and public health. According to the EPA, air pollution from dirty power plants causes 20,000 premature deaths each year, and over 600,000 additional asthma attacks each year. If President Bush believes that the American public will not hold him accountable for these actions against our environment, he is gravely mistaken. Think about the family on summer vacation. When parents have to tell their children why the beautiful vistas of our national parks are polluted with smog, or why they can not eat the fish they just caught because of mercury poisoning, the environment becomes an election issue. For more than three decades people from all walks of life have gathered on April 22 to celebrate the environment. But, as we mark Earth Day this year, rather than celebrating our environmental legacy, I am afraid we are fighting to preserve it.