Teddy Roosevelt, in a frequently cited address, once noted that, “We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.”
On September 24, we will celebrate both National Public Lands and National Hunting and Fishing Day. This occasion provides an excellent opportunity for Americans to get outdoors and give something back by becoming active in local projects to protect our nation’s natural splendor. It’s also a crucial chance for people across the country to tell leaders in Congress that the allure of short-term economic gain is no reason to strip protections from tens of millions of acres of still pristine areas. Unfortunately, a pending congressional proposal could undermine decades of progress in preserving this wondrous heritage.
Our national forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands are a resource for all of us. Scores of Americans annually take advantage of these special places. This July, just over 900,000 people visited Yellowstone National Park, the second highest number for any single month ever recorded.
That’s what makes National Public Lands Day so special. It爱上海同城对对碰楼凤
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reiterated its conclusion that EPA’s regulation of toxic chemicals is in crisis, unable to deliver badly needed protection to the American people. These benighted programs are among a couple of dozen of “high priority” failures that cause serious harm to public health, waste resources, or endanger national security, and Congress is giving the report red carpet treatment, with House and Senate hearings on the report scheduled the very day it was released.
In auditor speak, GAO says that “[b]ecause EPA had not developed sufficient chemical assessment information under these programs to limit exposure to many chemicals that may pose substantial health risks, we added this issue to the High Risk List in 2009.” At the time, then-Administrator Lisa Jackson took clear steps to rescue the program. Since then, very little progress has been made, largely because the Obama Administration has narrowed its focus to climate change, and a major overhaul of initiatives swamped by chemical industry nitpicking does not seem to be in the cards until at least 2017.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been reviewing the performance of federal agencies and departments for decades and has achieved amazing success simply by surviving the onslaught of attacks against government in any form. Although GAO’s work is largely controlled by majorities in Congress, and its findings of poor performance now provide fodder for anti-government zealots, if anyone read the reports and took them to heart, reform and not destruction would be the goal.
So what’s the story on toxics? Marvelous reporting by David Heath of the Center for Public Integrity explains that the Obama administration never fulfilled its campaign promise to divorce science from politics at the EPA:
Political interference from the Bush White House had delayed or derailed dozens of the EPA’s findings on potential health risks posed by toxic chemicals. Some of those findings applied to chemicals to which all of us are exposed. Formaldehyde is in our kitchen cabinets and carpet. Arsenic is in our drinking water and rice. EPA scientists had determined that both of these carcinogens were more deadly than previously thought. Yet, officially, the agency remains unable to say so or to do anything about it.
Heath reports that Lisa Jackson, EPA’s first administrator under President Obama, quickly rolled out a plan to quicken the pace of toxicity assessments for hundreds of chemicals like formaldehyde that not only cause cancer but harm childhood neurological development, foster birth defects, impede fertility, exacerbate asthma and other respiratory problems, and trigger heart disease. The plan did not require congressional approval. Instead, it was designed to be under the administration’s complete control. The goal was to ramp up dramatically the pathetic performance of the Bush administration, which eked out six assessments annually.
In 2014, EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) produced just one new chemical risk assessment.
Who made IRIS one of the walking dead? These stories always begin with people, and for toxic chemicals, the first body blow to Lisa Jackson’s commitment was the appointment of Ken Olden, a civil servant who decided that making friends with the chemical industry was his top priority. He succeeded in record time. At a recent hearing before the Ho爱上海419论坛
How do we bring sanity to the climate change “debate”? Well, it starts by hearing from people who are sane about the issue. The rhetoric on climate change has been heating up as fast as global temperatures, and it’s a shame. Because for all the bad news surrounding the issue, the good news is that we as a species have had the brainpower to figure out what’s happening. The question is now whether we will have the courage and intestinal fortitude to do something about it.
It has been a very busy news cycle, with terrorist acts and over-the-top presidential campaigns, but when history looks back at this period, this year, decade, even century, the biggest story is going to be climate change. As the talks in Paris reach a critical last-minute negotiation, representatives from countries around the world are trying to iron out some final big differences. We will have to see what finally emerges. Meanwhile, back here in the United States, presidential candidate and very-possible GOP nominee Ted Cruz held a shameful climate change skepticism hearing on Capitol Hill. Something has to give.
A couple days back I wrote about my interview with former Secretary of State George Shultz. Now I want to bring you another conversation on the issue that I think you will find very interesting.
As a journalist, you’re often drawn to conflict. After all, that is where the story usually is. But before you plunge in, it helps to understand the facts. I always sought out as many dispassionate experts as I could when I was covering a big issue. And that is why I am so excited about sharing an interview I did with the incomparable Chris Field, director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University. Not only is Dr. Field a world class researcher in the field, but he’s also a leader in bridging a key intersection of science and policy.
We met in New York City in an old carriage house that predates the internal combustion engine, perhaps the invention most responsible for the topic of our conversation. Dr. Field argued that since the climate change debate has been subject to distortions and mischaracterizations, the best way to address climate change is to start by looking at the facts, which he laid out and explained. How do you measure climate change? What are its effects? What is the world doing about climate change? Dr. Field presented insightful answers to each of these questions and more. In our wide-ranging discussion, Dr. Field’s innovative approach to the problem led me to reconsider what I thought I knew about climate change, making a familiar subject spa上海贵族宝贝官网
SAN FRANCISCO — Should Americans be able to buy marijuana in coffee shops?
A new study by U.C. Berkeley Law and Policy Professor Robert MacCoun explores whether the United States would benefit from regulating cannabis like the Dutch. MacCoun examined the effects of the drug on Dutch society over the course of more than 30 years and discovered that America might have a lot to learn from what he dubs “quasi-legalization.”
In the Netherlands, proprietors of such coffee shops sell marijuana in limited quantities to adults over the age of 18. They don’t offer alcohol or tobacco products on the premises, and advertising is strictly prohibited. While cannabis use remains technically illegal under Dutch law, the law also states that officials cannot take action against those who sell or use marijuana in designated coffee shops.
“It’s essentially legalization, but it’s slightly ambiguous,” MacCoun told The Huffington Post. He explained that despite the ubiquity of the coffee shop model, Dutch authorities have still managed to remain successful in enforcing against high-level trafficking, which keeps pot prices relatively high. “In a full legalization model, the price would drop substantially,” MacCoun said, “and you’d see bigger increases in use.”
On the other hand, MacCoun’s findings suggest that “quasi-legalization” doesn’t yield increases in pot smoking. “While use went up, it didn’t go up very much,” MacCoun said of Dutch marijuana habits since the country introduced the coffee shop system in the 1970s. “And problematic use is quite modest by European standards.”
Instead, MacCoun found that Dutch marijuana users were actually less likely to try harder drugs than their pot smoking counterparts in neighboring countries. He attributes that revelation to the fact that the coffee shop system breaks up the “gateway effect.” In other words, by separating the cannabis market from the markets for more dangerous substances, marijuana smokers will be less likely to be tempted to try, say, cocaine sold by the same drug dealer.
“For me, that was the most tantalizing result,” he said. “The Dutch have actually come up with a way to regulate cannabis use while minimizing its harms.”
MacCoun posited that the United States would indeed benefit from a similar system, but noted that marijuana’s federal classi爱上海shlf1314