The Latest On: Department of Interior
The President made the right decision on the Keystone pipeline XL today. House Republicans forced the arbitrary deadline of February 21 and there was really only one legal way to answer. Since the State Department hasn’t finished its environmental review of the pipeline and requests for alternative routes that bypass sensitive lands and habitats are not on the table yet—that would be a NO.
President Obama won the White House on a platform of hope and change – promising an end to dirty corporate influence over our political system and a beginning to an era in which our energy choices lead us to a clean, sustainable future, or at least don’t kill us or make us sick.
So far, the president’s performance has been mixed – with some deliveries on the promise and some disappointments. His last year, whether in office or in his first term, will be crucial in righting his spotty record and making good on his campaign promises to the American people.
Today Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a major agency reshuffling that will affect how the government enforces laws on mountaintop removal and surface coal mining. He will fold the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) into another Department of Interior subdivision, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Let’s say you have three kids, and one big piece of cake to divide amongst them. One kicks and cries and whines. "I want it ALL," the baby screams. "I want it all NOW!" The other two say, "We want our fair share."
To keep the decibel level in the house at acceptable levels, and because you’re a whimp, you give the crybaby 90 percent of the cake. But even that doesn’t work. The baby still whines and cries and kicks and screams, "I want it ALL. I don’t care what brother and sister get."
Apparently, Shell Oil and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) live in a land of make believe. Thankfully, Earthjustice makes its abode in a place called reality.
Last summer, we were captivated by a live video feed of oil spewing from a broken well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon disaster woke up America to the dangers of offshore oil drilling, and the government was quick to act.
Late in his administration, Bill Clinton attempted to build a conservation legacy worthy of Teddy Roosevelt by designating more than a dozen national monuments across the West.
George W. Bush tried to undo that legacy.
And President Barack Obama, to his dis-credit, has allowed the Bush-adopted, monument-undercutting status quo to remain, despite being the "hope-y, change-y" candidate in 2008.
But a little more background.