Worth a click

The environmental news has been coming fast this week.  There’s too much for me to keep up with all of it, but here are some stories worth checking out.

Time for federal bee regulation? The AP reports (in the LA Times) that the Xerces Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife and a UC Davis entomologist have petitioned the USDA to prohibit shipping of domesticated bumblebees and hives outside their native range, and to certify that domesticated bumblebees are disease free. Domesticated bees, the petitioners argue, spread diseases to native wild bees, contributing to steep declines in several native species.

Interior promises Cape Wind decision by April. Shortly after the National Park Service declared Nantucket Sound eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he would make a decision about whether to approve the contentious Cape Wind offshore wind energy project within months. The New York Times, which describes the decision as “a signal test of the Obama administration’s commitment to renewable energy projects on public lands and off the nation’s shorelines,” believes the available signals point toward approval.

A mediocre grade for the administration. The Center for Progressive Reform has issued a report card evaluating the first-year performance of key health and safety agencies (Consumer Product Safety Commission, EPA, FDA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and OSHA), and the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which reviews agency rules before they are issued. The conclusion: “Overall, we found that the Obama Administration has not yet lived up to its own vision of protective and proactive government and would give its efforts to date an overall grade of B-.” (Full disclosure — I am a member scholar of CPR, but had no involvement in this report.)

Melting ice and rising seas. A new study (published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, reported in New Scientist) finds that a major glacier at the edge of the West Antarctic ice sheet is past its tipping point and poised for collapse. According to the study’s authors, that alone could raise global sea levels by 24 centimeters (more than 9 inches). This latest study reinforces the argument of Rob Young and Orrin Pilkey that the world should plan for sea level rise of seven feet by the end of this century.

Cap and dividend proposal in California. The Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee, a panel appointed to provide advice on implementation of AB 32, California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction law, has recommended that three-quarters of the revenues from allowance auctions be returned to consumers through tax cuts or annual dividend checks. Our own Rick Frank is a member of that Committee. I hope he’ll explain this development in more detail.

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Reader Comments

One Reply to “Worth a click”


    As a colonial-rooted Cape Cod native who firmly believes in the sanctity of our maritime heritage, I am writing to ardently express my steadfast support for the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound. Based upon sensible logic, data and reasoning, I am also conversely opposed to the controversial Cape Wind Project which seeks to despoil and rob us of the pristine nautical legacy bestowed by our forefathers. As a result of the likely profound damaging regional financial, ecological and public safety consequences Cape Wind would wrought upon us all, it should not be allowed to proceed forward to fruition.

    The project poses a cogent danger to essential air and sea navigation. Siting the project in Nantucket Sound is a breach of the public trust. Contrary to their sham claims, the cost of the electricity which the project will produce would not be cheap or competitive. It would be an
    unbearable fiscal burden hoisted upon us without our sanction or consent. Furthermore, it will represent a deleterious local economic blow by it’s absconding of undeserved taxpayer-funded subsidies, forced real estate devaluations, and lost revenues from commercial and tourism activities. The proposed one hundred thirty wind turbines will perpetually cause unsightly visual contamination and distressing noise pollution. Finally, Cape Wind will unnecessarily endanger a critical marine and wildlife habitat.

    Off-shore deep water wind has surfaced as a cost-effective and technologically feasible option in lieu of the Nantucket Sound situated Cape Wind Project. Cape Wind has chosen a location which possesses countless expenses as well as hazards to public safety, the marine environment, and the local economy. Deeper-water sites offer more powerful winds and the advantages of clean renewable energy without surrendering the irreplaceable natural beauty of Nantucket Sound.

    More distantly sited off-shore locations guarantee the advantages of clean wind power without many of the harmful effects of close-shore siting. Furthermore, there would be little harmful impact upon air and marine navigational safety and local tourist-based economies.

    In 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) estimated a total off-shore wind energy resource of over 1000 GW. The potential for deep water locations greater than 30 m (or 100 feet) is enormous. Approximately ninety percent of the off-shore wind potential in the United States resides in deep water.

    With the aforesaid thoughtful rationales in mind, along with the inherently unfair and inequitable nature of the proposed Cape Wind Project itself, it must not become a reality which will forever doom our children and grandchildren to a ghastly socially inhumane legacy.

    Ron Beaty
    West Barnstable, MA

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About Holly

Holly Doremus is the James H. House and Hiram H. Hurd Professor of Environmental Regulation at UC Berkeley. Doremus brings a strong background in life sciences and a comm…

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About Holly

Holly Doremus is the James H. House and Hiram H. Hurd Professor of Environmental Regulation at UC Berkeley. Doremus brings a strong background in life sciences and a comm…

READ more