On a day when every resident of the Pacific Rim is grateful for advanced warning systems, we are reminded of the essential services that government agencies provide. Certainly, fishermen in California who got their boats out of the water this morning as the Japanese tsunami approached are grateful for those who work around-the-clock to protect lives and property.
But essential services now face the chopping block in Washington, DC.
Which has a worse smog problem ? The car-choked sprawling megalopolis of Los Angeles? Or the wide open plains of Wyoming?
If you guessed LA, you’d be wrong. It’s actually Wyoming.
This depressing tidbit comes courtesy of the oil and gas industry, which is in the midst of a drilling boom that has left the air in Wyoming and other areas cloaked in smog and hazardous air pollutants.
The Roadless Area Conservation Rule, adopted at the end of the Clinton administration, banned most logging and road-building on the last 58.5 million unspoiled and unprotected acres on the national forests. It was immediately challenged by states, timber companies and other interests in nine lawsuits, one of which is still awaiting final resolution.
When members of the House of Representatives return to their districts for April recess, many should be called to task for supporting a budget rider that would kill a coal ash rulemaking designed to protect the health, homes and livelihood of their constituents.
With many older coal-fired power plants going offline in the United States and construction of new plants significantly slowed, Australian-based Ambre Energy has a new game plan: send U.S. coal to China.
About three years ago I visited a friend who works for Henry Waxman, the Southern California congressman who was such a magnificent thorn in the side of the Bush administration. My friend proudly took me to lunch in the cafeteria. This was soon after the Democrats reclaimed the House and voted in Nancy Pelosi as Speaker.
You've probably read news stories, or seen reports on TV, or heard reports on the radio about how House Speaker Boehner has allowed dozens of amendments to come to the House floor to be voted on, congratulating himself on his transparency (is that his liver I see in there?) and openness. In response to this invitation, house members came forward with an astonishing variety of bills, one worse than the next.