What’s in Trump’s Proclamations on Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

An analysis of the new proclamations and the legal issues they raise

On Monday, President Trump signed two proclamations, downsizing the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah. These two proclamations are the first official acts by Trump to implement the recommendations from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s national monuments review this summer. (Zinke’s final report and recommendations were just made public yesterday. In a short …


Politicians and Commentators Who Criticize Recent National Monuments Are Making Up Their Own Version of History

Republican Presidents from Teddy Roosevelt to Herbert Hoover Designated Millions of Acres Under the Antiquities Act

As several colleagues and I noted here recently, President Trump recently issued an executive order that will result in “review” of national monuments created since 1996.  (The Antiquities Act grants Presidents the authority to reserve federal lands as national monuments, protecting them from much new resource extraction and development that would otherwise potentially be available on those …


Bears Ears: A Monumental End to the Obama Era

Will the Antiquities Act survive the new administration?

With one week left in his second term, President Obama’s “monumental” legacy is again at the forefront. Just yesterday, the President expanded, by proclamation, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon and the California Coastal National Monument, and created three additional national monuments: the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument and the Freedom Riders National Monument in …


Lots of Rhetoric, Not Much New in Obama’s Climate Plan

The Obama Administration just released a “Climate Action Plan” to accompany the speech the President will give this morning at Georgetown University.  I applaud the President for delivering a speech devoted exclusively to climate change.  But for all the hooplah surrounding the President’s speech as “major,”  the measures he’s proposed in the new plan  to …


Obama Administration Releases National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan

Yesterday, the National Ocean Council released the Obama Administration’s much anticipated plan for implementing the National Ocean Policy.  The newly released National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan identifies practical, efficient, and responsible actions that Federal agencies will take to support healthy, productive, and resilient ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters, thriving coastal communities, and a robust, …


Mitt Romney Hates Green Energy More Than He Hates Big Bird

Mitt Romney hates green energy even more than he hates Big Bird.  Or at least government support for it.  He disparaged  green energy subsidies three times last night, arguing that President Obama had spent $90 billion subsidizing it over the course of his administration, “50 years’ worth of what oil and gas get.” He also claimed that …


Party Differences on Energy and Environment: A Side-by-Side Comparison

After I posted a description of the Republican platform, a reader suggested that a side-by-side comparison would be helpful when the Democratic Platform came out.  Here it is, presented as objectively as I could. Subject Democratic Platform Republican Platform Regulatory reform Give president power to reorganize agencies.   Congressional approval required for all major rules. …


If Obama’s Done Nothing for the Environment Why Do the Coal Barons Hate Him?

I’ve had more than one conversation with Republican friends (yes, I have some) who are Romney supporters but also environmentalists.  One of the arguments they trump out about why they support Romney despite their environmental interests is that “Obama’s been weak on the environment anyway.”  They make this argument especially about climate change. While I …


Californians and the Environment: PPIC’s New Survey Results

The Public Policy Institute of California this week released the results of its 12th annual “Californians and the Environment” survey.  PPIC, a non-partisan think tank, always seems to be generating thought-provoking and cutting-edge scholarship focusing on the nation-state of California. Its latest environmental survey, based on recent polling of 2500 Californians, continues that tradition. The …


Obama’s Dormant Carbon Tax

In many respects, public subsidies for clean technology research and development,  public investment in urban redevelopment, and elaborate cap-and-trade programs are all essentially clunky political substitutes for a carbon tax.  If we priced carbon accurately to reflect its true cost to society, in terms of public and environmental health impacts (aka “externalities”), much of this …