The opening of ANWAR to drilling by President Donald Trump was a major loss for environmentalists. My views in favor of preserving such areas are well known. However, the opening up of the entire coastline of the United States has angered even Republican governors and politicians. The position of the White House is that the drilling is too valuable to pass up, but now tiny Belize has shown the alternative view: the nation has permanently suspended oil operations in its ocean waters to protect the ocean.
We have hit another milestone today with over 33,000,000 views. We are also expected to reach 35,000 followers on Twitter. That hardly makes us competition for the largest sites but it is still an impressive collection of people seeking a place for civil but passionate discourse on legal and policy issues of our time (and perhaps a few wacky stories). We often use these milestones to look at the current profile of the blog and its supporters around the world.
As always, I want to offer special thanks for our weekend contributors: Mike Appleton, Larry Rafferty, Darren Smith, Kimberly Dienes, and Cara Gallagher (particularly Darren who continues help up with periodic technical problems etc).
I particularly want to thank our regular commentators and readers. We try to keep this blog as an open forum with as little interference or monitoring of the comments as possible. Given our free speech orientation, we try not to delete comments and, for that reason, we are deeply appreciative of how most people avoid personal or offensive comments in debating these issues. We have had to delete a handful of comments with personal attacks or profanity but the number remains quite low for a blog of this size. The success of this blog is due to the fact that we offer something more than the all-too-common troll-driven, angry, and insulting commentary of the Internet. Thank you for voluntarily assuming restraint over the tenor and content of your comments. Continue reading
With the expanding allegations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein and others, Energy Secretary Rick Perry appears to have the answer: fossil fuels. That’s right, more fossil fuel less sexual assault.
We have previously discussed how environmental dangers remain something of an abstraction for most people who fail to recognize that changes in air or water pollution standards results in high and quantifiable rises in death rates. Even changes in areas like shipping fuels can translate to thousands of deaths. However, since these deaths are not immediate and borne privately, the true costs of pollution are often dismissed. I have been highly critical of the environmental record of the Trump Administration for this reason in rolling back on protections in a variety of areas as well as appointing regulators with anti-environmental records. Now a new major study has found that environmental pollution kills more people every year that all of the wars. It exceeds the death tolls for smoking, hunger or natural disasters combined. It kills more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Yet, unlike these causes of death, pollution remains a policy concern that is often pushed to the side for more immediate goals like job creation. This is not to say that environmental protection would trump all other concerns but rather the real costs of such pollution are rarely discussed in real terms of premature deaths by politicians.
I am leaving Spokane, Washington this morning after a glorious time exploring the woods of the Pacific Northwest. After coming out for a speech to judges and lawyers in this district, I was able to get in three days of hiking. Spokane is one of those cities that is a dream for hikers. In literally just 20 minutes, you can find yourself in the hills and mountains of Washington.
President Donald Trump has pledged to reduce red tape and regulations for businesses in the United States. It is a worthy goal, but it has led to some curious decisions. For example, the Administration just tossed a new rule intended to limit the numbers of endangered whales and sea turtles getting caught in fishing nets. This rule however was supported by the fishing industry. Thus, this was a rare case where conservationists and corporations agreed. It was the Trump Administration that did not agree. Not only was the rule proposed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council had proposed the new regulation in 2015, but the federal government has been implementing the plan.
This is the type of thing that I find thrilling. An effort to preserve a hut at Cape Adare in Antarctica led to the discovery of this beautiful 118-year-old painting by Dr. Edward Wilson. The British polar explorer died in Antarctica on an expedition led by Capt. Robert Falcon Scott. This incredible picture sat in a pile of papers unnoticed for over a century.