A status quo on pollution in a time with an increasingly enlightened and populated planet IS effectively going backwards. That's like acknowledging that dams kill salmon, but the dams won't kill any MORE salmon this year than they did last year, so dams are OK.
Absolutely bogus logic. If arsenic levels need to be reduced, and the National Academy of Sciences has concluded as such, then inaction and a call for more study (Bush plan) is tantamount to a reversal.
If greenhouse gas emissions need to reduced (and they do), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded as such, then inaction and a call for more study (Bush plan) is tantamount to a reversal.
Finally, your statement that the US has the most stringent water and air pollution laws in the world needs some teeth. Consider the Environmental Sustainability Index, which ranks the US pretty far down the list:
Richard Nixon - he was okay on many fronts (foreign relations, environment), and clearly terrible on others. The Endangered Species Act, despite its flaws (nothings perfect) was enacted under his watch. To even insinuate that the current administration is neutral or "status quo" on the environment is an absolute joke. Such inaction in the face of obvious facts is irresponsible, wrong, and an affront to the people of the USA and the entire world.