As fall turns to winter, President Obama has continued his virtually unbroken streak of bending over backwards for the coal industry in the West. For those who love Western public lands and could do without more subsidies to Big Coal, Mr. Obama has been more Grinch than Santa.
The Latest On: Public Lands
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).
<In a major victory for Earthjustice and its supporters, today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated The Roadless Rule, which protects nearly 50 million acres of National Forest lands against exploitation. Tom Turner, who literally wrote the book ("Roadless Rules") on the case, provides some background here.>
This week, President Obama has conducted a bus tour through my home state of Virginia and North Carolina. The tour focused on job creation and the state of our economy.
Unfortunately, Republican leadership in Congress thinks weakening our clean air and water protections is the foundation of economic renewal.
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."
Our National Park system—the first in the world—has been dubbed "America's best idea." But that great idea, which offers millions a respite from our industrialized life, is now beseiged more than ever by a symptom of that life—smog.
Cars sure are important. I mean, we design our towns and cities—heck, our whole civilization—around their ubiquitous presence. We construct massive parking structures where cars live for temporary periods, have a whole dining subculture based on the automobile, and dot the sides of our city streets with parking spaces deemed so valuable as to demand a fee for their use.
That’s why what I saw when I strolled into work today was so refreshing.