environmental politics

Rand Paul versus Clean Water

Rand Paul’s plan to cut wetlands protection and make enforcement against polluters impossible.

Rand Paul recently won a big victory in the straw poll held by CPAC,the Conservative Political Action Conference.  In the environmental area, his signature measure is the Defense of Environment and Property Act. On its surface, the goal of the law is to cut back on federal jurisdiction over wetlands. The bill would drastically cut back …


The Rhetoric of Cap and Trade

Different ways of framing the concept of cap and trade help drive the public debate.

Discussions of cap and trade tend to frame it in various ways, which often skews the debate.  These different frameworks guide the thoughts of both supporters and critics, sometimes in surprising ways.  There are four different ways to talk about cap and trade, and they tend to lead the debate in very different directions. The …


Lies, Damned Lies, and Climate Denial

One key question is whether these statements amounted to factual accusations that Mann had engaged in scientific misconduct.

A D.C. trial judge recently refused to dismiss climate scientist Michael Mann’s libel lawsuits against the National Review and the Competitiveness Institute.  There are some serious constitutional barriers against such libel suits, which are designed to provide ample breathing room for free speech.  Is this one of the rare cases that can jump the hurdles?


Write Your Own News Story

Just fill in the blanks, and you can save yourself the trouble of reading newspaper accounts about any new EPA action. New EPA Regulations Spark Controversy  The Environmental Protection Agency today announced tough new regulations on [name of industry].  According to the agency, the regulations will save thousands of lives by reducing dangerous levels of …


Environmental Issues and the 2016 Race

You may have thought that we were done with presidential politics for a while.  Not so! The ballots weren’t even completely counted before Marco Rubio set off to Iowa, supposedly for the Governor’s birthday party.  Here’s one list of potential candidates: GOP.  Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, and Condoleeza Rice. …


Attitudes Toward Climate Change, Environmental Science, and Clean Energy

A new AP poll reports a sharp increase in the number of people who believe that climate change is happening and will be a problem for the United States.  The biggest change was among the significant group of people who say they don’t trust scientists. Here’s the summary from AP: 4 out of every 5 …


Environmentalists versus Economists: Time for a Truce?

Environmentalists should rethink their view of environmental economics, for both intellectual and practical reasons.


Twas Congressional Christmas

‘Twas Congressional Christmas, when all through the House Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The PACs were counting their money with care, In hopes that John Boehner soon would be there. Lobbyists nestled all snug in their beds, While veto-proof riders danced in their heads. Zasloff down south  and I on the …


When Did “GOP” Start to Mean “Grand Old Polluters”?

I’m old enough to remember a time when environmental protection and public health were bipartisan values.  Even in the Reagan Administration, there were positive steps such as Reagan’s support for the international ozone treaty. As late as 1990, Republicans in the White House and Congress supported major new air pollution legislation.  Even George W. Bush …


More Oil and Coal, Less Nature and Clean Air

USA Today reports on a speech Perry is set to deliver about energy issues.  It’s a humdinger.  Here are the main points: •Open federal lands to more energy exploration and production, including ANWAR and lands in the Mountain West – but not the Everglades, a tribute to Florida as a primary state. More offshore drilling …