Obama’s Public Lands Conservation Legacy

Progress, but still much more to do

President Obama has gotten some high praise lately from the New York Times editorial board, and this op-ed from Prof. David Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice noted for his biography of President Theodore Roosevelt.  Brinkley compares Obama favorably to Teddy Roosevelt for his conservation legacy. The specific recent actions by President Obama that prompted […]

Continue Reading

The Downward Political Spiral of a Declining Industry

220px-Coal_mine_Wyoming

As the coal industry weakens economically, it also loses political clout.

Tighter regulation contributes to an environmentally dirty industry’s economic decline, which reduces its political clout, which allows more regulation, further weakening the industry.  Coal is prime example. The coal industry’s economic plight is well-known.  Coal production is the lowest since a major strike 35 years ago. In fact, my colleagues at the business school report that coal […]

Continue Reading

Bikes in Wilderness

A misguided proposal in Congress

This New York Times article notes that a bill (S. 3205) is pending in Congress to allow mountain bikes in federally-designated wilderness areas.  In short, the bill is a terrible idea. First, on the merits, allowing mountain bikes into wilderness areas has the potential for significant impacts both on other humans using wilderness, and on […]

Continue Reading

Idling Cars, Dirty Air

car idling

The pollution isn’t just indoors. It’s also inside the car or bus.

Being stuck in traffic is even worse than you thought. A new study, reported in yesterday’s NY Times, “pollution levels inside cars at red lights or in traffic jams are up to 40 percent higher than when traffic is moving.” But things could be worse: you could be a kid on an older school bus. […]

Continue Reading

Why Does Industry Always Attack New Rules?

It makes businesses look obstructionist and often gains them nothing. So why do they do it?

It seems like every time EPA makes a move, industry says it’s another job-killing power grab by the government and files court challenges within about an hour of EPA’s action.  But why?  The rule often survives judicial review, so industry spends millions on lawyers and gets nothing in return.  It’s true that industry does often win at […]

Continue Reading

America’s Best Environmental and Economic Bargain

The Roosevelt Arch, marking the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

…and Other Concluding Thoughts About the National Park System

(This is the final installment in a series of posts celebrating the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service.) A wag once observed: It’s hell getting old, but it beats the alternative. I can personally attest to the fact that it’s not a lot of fun achieving senior citizen status.  I can’t run as far […]

Continue Reading

Cap and Trade’s Future in California, Redux

Flag-of-California

Litigation, AB 197 and Politics May All Have an Influence

Two days ago, I posed a series of questions about what AB 197 might mean for the future of cap and trade in California but never really answered the question of whether we’re likely to see a continuation of the program going forward post-2020.  Eric posted his view this afternoon that he is relatively pessimistic […]

Continue Reading

The future politics of cap-and-trade in California

It doesn’t look so good for the oil and gas industry

As Ann and Ethan both noted, two major pieces of climate legislation were passed by the California legislature this week, and Governor Brown has promised to sign both bills.  Overall, the legislation extends the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals (which were originally to reach 1990 levels of emissions by 2020) out to a 40% reduction […]

Continue Reading

The Clinton Foundation and the Environment

Clinton Foundation

There’s a lot of talk about where the money comes from. But where does it go?

We hear a lot about the Clinton Foundation these days, but it’s all about where the money comes from.  That’s outside the scope of this blog, but it made me curious about what they do with the money.  In particular, I wondered what they did for the environment. Since the only thing I really knew […]

Continue Reading

Major Challenges Face the National Park Service in Its Next Century

01-Crowd_0544

Park Overcrowding, Crumbling Infrastructure, Changing Constituency Top the List

(This is the third in a series of posts this week commemorating the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service.) To be sure, the National Park Service has much to celebrate as it observes its 100th birthday.  The Park Service oversees a stunning and diverse set of national parks, monuments, historic and […]

Continue Reading