Politics

Forest Eviction

Judge tosses out Bush administration’s forest-management rules Heads-up to the Bush administration: You can’t always get what you want. (As always, the Rolling Stones know best.) On Friday, a federal judge tossed out the administration’s revised forest-management rules, issued in 2005, which allowed national forest managers to approve logging, mining, cell-phone towers, and other commercial projects without undergoing environmental reviews. The U.S. Forest Service had claimed that the new rules were environmentally benign, but had failed to undertake any studies showing that species were unaffected. Siding with 15 green groups, U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled that the administration …

Game changer

Breaking: Supreme Court rules against Bush admin. in global warming case

Word just came down that the Supreme Court has ruled against the Bush administration in the landmark global warming case of Massachusetts v. EPA. The ruling was 5-4, with conservatives dissenting and the crucial vote of Anthony Kennedy going with the … non-conservatives. Background on the case here, here, here, and here. The court addressed three questions: Do states and environmental groups have standing to sue EPA? (To show legal standing, states had to show they would be harmed by the excess global warming that would occur without EPA regulations. This was the real sticking point, and it was at …

Nom de Doom

Bush renominates controversial industry folk to environmental positions President Bush is recycling — nominees, that is. To fill three top environmental jobs in his administration, Bush has re-suggested three folks with ties to polluting industries, all of whom were blocked by Congress the first time they were nominated. William Wehrum, temporary-seeking-permanent administrator for the EPA’s air office, has previously proposed discontinuing maximum air lead limits; Alex A. Beehler, EPA inspector-general wannabe, has lobbied to weaken standards for perchlorate in drinking water; and Susan Dudley, hopeful for White House regulations chief, once wrote that in calculating drinking-water arsenic levels, the EPA …

Supreme Slapdown

Supreme Court rules against Bush administration in global-warming case In a landmark Supreme Court case — the first ever on the issue of global warming — the court has ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act and that the U.S. EPA should regulate it as such. Boo-yah! The ruling is the latest in a long series of blows to the beleaguered and increasingly isolated Bush administration. The case of Massachusetts v. EPA put three questions before the court. The first is whether states have the right to sue the EPA over this issue — whether …

Right before my very eyes: Ethiopia

The vista of Ethiopia's ancient Rift Valley, speckled with shimmering lakes, stretches before me as our motorized caravan heads south from Lake Langano, part of a study tour on population-health-environment issues organized by the Packard Foundation. Sadly, the country's unrelenting poverty and insecurity are as breathtaking as the view -- Ethiopia currently ranks 170 out of 177 countries on the UN Development Programme's Human Development Index.

A note about sources

Where to find green news

Lately I’ve been feeling guilty about the fact that I frequently fail to cite where I find the links and articles I blog about. (Adding a "via so and so" or "hat tip: such and such" is good blog etiquette.) It’s not deliberate, it’s just that by the time I get around to blogging on an article that’s been sitting in my browser as an open tab, I often can’t remember what tipped me off to it. So let me just put in a generic plug for three aggregators I can’t live without: Energy Bulletin The daily Drum Beat posts …

April Fools joke?

With the Bush administration, you never can tell: The White House has renominated three people for top jobs affecting the environment who were previously blocked in Congress because of their pro-industry views. According to industry lobbyists and Republican aides in Congress, Bush intends to skirt the Senate approval process if necessary by making recess appointments to put the three nominees in the posts. All three have ties to industries that face costly Environmental Protection Agency restrictions, and all three have previously bypassed or questioned the EPA’s scientific process. They are William Wehrum, who would head the air office of the …

Party hopping

Global warming is a hot potato

Last week I reported on the wide and growing partisan divide in U.S. public opinion over global warming: self-identified Democrats are 39 percentage points more likely than their Republican counterparts to rate climate change a serious problem. But what puzzled me most was the 13-point drop in concern among Republicans since 1999. Call me naïve, but with all the scientific evidence that's been piling up on the issue -- accompanied by increasing media attention -- I guess I expected slow (though perhaps reluctant) increases in concern all across the political spectrum. Years of rising global temperatures, melting sea ice, and solidifying scientific consensus ought to have converted at least some honest skeptics, right? A big report released last week by Pew, charting two decades of American political values and core attitudes, provides some clues about what's going on. Typical Republicans, circa 1999, haven't necessarily found their belief in global warming shaken over the years. Instead, for whatever combination of reasons, people who believe in global warming are drifting away from the Party.

A great piece by Andrew Dobson on the politics of climate chaos

It’s the society, stupid

Andrew Dobson posted a thoughtful and useful piece in yesterday's issue of OpenDemocracy.org:

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