Politics

Obama on Transportation, Land Use and Energy Use

Stunning news from the White House: we actually have a US president who understands the connection between land use patterns and energy use. Obama’s stimulus bill was weak on spending for transit projects (as opposed to highway projects). But that was because it was a bill about jobs, and more highway projects just happened to …

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A Tale of Two Cities

The old adage is that all politics is local.  So is much, if not all, environmental policy-making.  Recent reports from two American cities vividly demonstrate the wide gulf that often separates local efforts to adopt sustainable environmental and energy policies.  A recent story in the Wall Street Journal reports the City of Boulder, Colorado’s groundbreaking …

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Statistician contests George Will’s misguided climate op-ed

Nate Silver, the statistician who blogs at fivethirtyeight.com and made national news (and the Colbert Report) last year by being the most accurate and reliable predictor of the presidential election results, has turned his attention to climate change.  In response to an op-ed yesterday by George Will in the Washington Post, Silver analyzes temperature trends and debunks the …

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The Commerce shuffle

Does anyone want to be Secretary of Commerce? First Bill Richardson stepped aside under a cloud. Today, nominee #2 Judd Gregg (about whom Cymie and I blogged earlier) withdrew his name, saying he disagreed too strongly with President Obama to take the position. Still, fans of the Department’s environmental arm, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric …

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Don’t Know Much Biology

As a famous biologist once said, “without evolution nothing in biology makes sense.”   And biological science  is obviously basic to a lot of environmental policy. Thus, it is dismaying to learn that only four out of ten Americans believe in evolution.  Trying to understand environmental policy without believing in evolution is like trying to understand …

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Midnight regulations and how the Obama administration can improve federal regulation

There has been a lot of talk about “midnight regulations” issued or initiated by the Bush administration in its final days (including the one that is the subject of this post by Holly).   Outgoing presidents, starting at least with Jimmy Carter, have had a practice of issuing many new regulatory decisions in a hurry as they leave office, with …

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Drill baby drill?

Remember last year when gas was at $4 a gallon, and candidates were falling all over themselves to explain how they would bring that price down? Two longstanding moratoria against oil and gas development in federal waters fell to that political pressure. In July, George W. Bush lifted an executive ban, initially issued by his …

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Ralph’s Pretty Good Stimulus: A Missed Opportunity

A Prairie Home Companion is sponsored by, among others, Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery: “If you can’t find it at Ralph’s, you can probably get along without it.”That’s my initial and preliminary take on some of the energy and transportation provisions of the stimulus, although a lot that isn’t in there we probably can’t get along …

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The Bush Legacy

The New York Times has a story this morning that tries to summarize Bush’s environmental legacy.  As the story points out, there are positive notes, like the diesel regulations and the last-minute designation of marine sanctuaries.  Yet, the overall message is negative.  The Bush Administration will largely be remembered as a time of environmental setbacks …

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Are Law Professors Good Political Appointees?

I just got off the phone with a Bloomberg News reporter asking me about Harvard Law Professor Jody Freeman’s appointment as counselor to Carol Browner.  After singing Jody’s’ praises (of which there are a great many) he asked me a more general question that has me thinking.   Is it a good thing for Obama to …

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