The Thin Gray Line

Few people understand the role that the bureaucracy plays in keeping us safe.

“Bureaucrat” is just another name for public servant. It has been said that a thin blue line of police protects us from the worst elements of society. But it is a thin gray line of underpaid, overworked, anonymous bureaucrats who protect society against more insidious risks — risks ranging from nuclear contamination to climate change to …


Environmental Budget Update

Trump’s brutal attack on environmental spending seems mired in Congress.

It was clear early on that the stop-gap funding measure rejected Trump’s budget priorities.  Emerging details about the bill demonstrate how starkly Trump lost. Environmental and energy programs survived with very little damage. Let’s begin with the EPA budget.  Trump sought an immediate cut, followed by a 33% cut in the next budget.  Instead, EPA …


Trump’s Environmental Budget

The proposal to Congress was released today. It’s very bad news.

I’ve been posting budget news as it has come out.  Now that we have Trump’s proposal, I’ve replaced all the earlier information with the official numbers in this version.  The bottom line: the budget would be a disaster for the environment, for science, and for the country.   The general philosophy behind the budget was …


Preserving U.S. Fisheries: A Bipartisan Pipe Dream?

President Obama’s call in his 2012 State of the Union address for a new spirit of bipartisanship brought to mind a recent Washington Post article on current federal efforts to preserve U.S. fisheries. In what qualifies as a rare “good news” story involving federal environmental policy, that article reports that the Obama Administration is poised to …


Where does NOAA belong?

Cross-posted at CPRBlog. Clearly I need to slow down Rick’s internet connection to get him to stop scooping me. Rick reported earlier today that the President has floated a proposal to reorganize the Commerce Department and related agencies which would apparently include moving NOAA (all of NOAA, according to OMB’s Jeffrey Zeints, not just its …


Obama Administration Proposes Merging NOAA’s Endangered Species Act Functions Into Department of the Interior

As reported in today’s Wall Street Journal, President Obama has proposed a major government reorganization merging into a single, cabinet-level agency federal trade and commerce responsibilities currently dispersed among a number of different agencies and departments. These reforms, which would require the consent of Congress to implement, would increase government efficiency and reduced federal expenditures. …


Republicans Hate Their Grandchildren

Eleven days ago, I was relieved that the Administration stood firm on anti-EPA riders, but asked, “what will the level of EPA funding be?  If Congress and the White House agree to serious cuts that starve the agency of necessary personnel, then the absence of a rider is a Pyrrhic victory.” Well, now we know …


What we’re reading, oceans edition

Cross-posted at CPR Blog. Here’s some of what’s going on in the ocean policy world: BOEMRE is reviewing the first post-moratorium application to drill an exploratory deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico. As required by a June Notice to Lessees, Shell’s application to drill 130 miles from shore in 2000 to 2900 feet of …


Obama Administration Winning PR War on Oil Spill?

There’s no question that the gulf oil spill that began more than three months ago threatened to become Obama’s Katrina.   Public opinion in June, for example, showed increasing discontent with the President’s handling of the disaster; the media criticized him for vacationing in Maine rather than on the Gulf Coast; and  the constant stream of video showing …


The New Federal Climate Agency

The administration creates a new federal climate agency; let’s put it in the right place.