Politics

Bill that would have designated over 2 million new acres of wilderness defeated in House – gun politics to blame?

Today, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act (S. 22), an important land preservation and management bill, was defeated in the U.S. House of Representatives, despite bipartisan support.  The bill would have protected over 2 million acres of wilderness in nine states, enlarged the boundaries of several national parks, and authorized land swaps that would have helped …

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California’s Salmon Crisis – Searching for Solutions

All the available scientific evidence indicates that California’s salmon populations are in deep trouble: several sub-species are currently listed as threatened or endangered under federal and state endangered species laws; the commercial salmon fishing season off the Northern California coast will be shut down for the second year in a row; and the resulting economic …

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An important step toward scientific integrity

Yesterday, together with his executive order on stem cell research, President Obama issued a memorandum to the executive branch on scientific integrity.  (Dan noted the news of the pending decision here.)  The memorandum is just a starting point, but it is a very good one.  It elevates the issue to a high profile, assigning the …

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Van Jones to CEQ

Another potentially great Obama appointment today to CEQ — a White House entity that might as well stand for Climate and Energy Questions these days.  This from Greenwire: Author and activist Van Jones will serve as a special White House adviser for “green” jobs, enterprise and innovation. Jones, 40, will work within the Council on Environmental …

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One for All — All for One?

The Huffington Post reports that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is seeking a single, comprehensive energy bill that establishes a strategy for deriving energy independence and fighting climate change.  She is quoted as saying “I would like to see one bill, which is the energy bill, with the cap and trade and the grid …

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A pointed end to the Julie MacDonald era

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its revised critical habitat designation for the Canada lynx. (Hat tip, ESABlawg.) Back in the day when Julie MacDonald was serving Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, FWS had designated just over 1,800 square miles as lynx critical habitat. After MacDonald was forced out …

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Still waiting on Lubchenco and Holdren

On February 12, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing (see here for the webcast) on the nominations of Jane Lubchenco as NOAA Administrator and John Holdren as head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  Although Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) questioned Holdren sharply over some papers Holdren …

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Why is GM using taxpayer funds to fight clean car progress?

Just back from a weekend conference where climate litigator Matthew Pawa gave a keynote address.  He’s one of the lawyers who successfully defended California’s right to demand that automakers make cars that limit their greenhouse gas emissions, calling and cross-examining witnesses in a dramatic 2007 trial that put climate change science on the stand.  In …

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Is Environmental Law Socialist?

Conservatives might be seeking a spiritual leader, organizing principle and fresh identity, but they at least seem to have settled on a favorite rhetorical ogre: socialism. As in, Democrats are intent on forcing socialism on the “U.S.S.A” (as the bumper sticker says, under the words “Comrade Obama”). This trend, as reported by the New York …

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The importance of outside advisors and career staff

Dan posted recently about the decision remanding EPA’s latest revision of the particulate NAAQS, American Farm Bureau v. EPA. One thing that struck me reading the decision is the powerful role played not only by outside advisory groups but also by career agency staff. Even if they are overridden by the political decisionmakers, the views …

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