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Defenders of Wildlife

Editorials and Opinion


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EDITORIAL: The cold calculus of global warming (Virginian-Pilot, 08/28/14)
"For years now, industry in Hampton Roads and other vulnerable communities has been tuning out the politics that surround climate change and focusing on their exposure. That won't change the behaviors of those entities that must - as a condition of self-preservation and self-interest - downplay global warming: industries and enterprises that are causing it, and the politicians and pundits who do their bidding in exchange for financial support. ...This helps explain the small yet powerful effort to muddy public discourse about global warming. Peddling doubt has helped protect lucrative, if unsustainable, livelihoods. But, as residents here and in other low-lying communities have seen, and as other businesses are increasingly recognizing, far more people have an interest in understanding - and adapting to - the risk than in ignoring it."

EDITORIAL: A climate for change: A solution conservatives could accept (Washington Post, 08/28/14)
"The country is reaching a moment of decision on global warming. Scientists’ warnings are sharpening, and President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is acting in the absence of a policy from Congress. The EPA rules can’t be as clean and efficient as market-based plans such as Mr. Van Hollen’s. That reality could persuade some industry groups and some Republicans to seek a bargain that would replace the EPA efforts with a less bureaucratic approach. Conservatives who truly favor free markets over central planning should come to the table."

Editorial: Details and dire warnings (Anniston Star [AL] , 08/27/14)
"Climate change deniers will have some explaining to do if the overwhelming consensus of climate scientists is correct about how human activity is dangerously warming our planet. Of course, by the time the worst effects of climate change have destroyed coastlines, hobbled the global economy and upended the lives of millions, the loudest deniers of science will have shuffled off this realm. ... Let’s highlight just one word: “Irreversible.” That’s a long time for humans to contemplate why we didn’t act sooner."

EDITORIAL: A climate for change: The EPA’s limits on emissions are important but not enough (Washington Post, 08/27/14)
"The EPA has drawn up the best possible policy framework under current law, and it is much better than nothing. Congress should not weaken the rules."

EDITORIAL: A climate for change: America should not wait while the world warms (Washington Post, 08/26/14)
"There is now no doubt that the world is warming. ...Waiting to deal with carbon emissions until the effects are clearer or technology improves is not a wise strategy. The emissions humans put into the atmosphere now will affect the climate in the middle of the century and onward. ...Businesses that do not hedge against the threat of uncertain outcomes fail. The world cannot afford such recklessness on climate change."

Catch of the Day: Redefining Obstruction (Bloomberg News, 08/25/14)
Jonathan Bernstein column: "even after the "nuclear option" reform in the Senate last fall, President Barack Obama's federal court nominees still wait longer for confirmation than their predecessors under previous presidents....I should stress that these are in many cases delays of non-controversial nominees.... Unfortunately, Republicans simply haven’t abided by longstanding Senate norms. After Obama's election, they suddenly insisted that every nomination required 60 votes -- an unprecedented hurdle. They blockaded multiple nominations to the DC Circuit Court. They have, before and after filibuster reform, used Senate rules to delay even nominations that they have intended ultimately to support. Since reform, they have imposed the maximum delay on every single judicial nominee.... if Republicans win a Senate majority in November, they may simply shut down all nominations for two full years. That would be absolutely outrageous."

EDITORIAL: The country’s sinking climate debate [print headline: The certainty of climate change: Action, too, is inevitable. It should be smart--and prompt.] (Washington Post, 08/25/14)
"Despite ups and downs in the polling, a solid majority of Americans favors action to curb greenhouse emissions. ...Action of some kind, at some point, is inevitable. Our proposition is that it should come sooner rather than later and be smart rather than clumsy."

Yes, Republicans Really Are Unprecedented in Their Obstructionism (Mother Jones, 08/25/14)
Kevin Drum: "for Obama. His numbers for his first five years are far, far higher than Bush's even though Bush's are inflated by delays during his final year in office. It's just another example of the fact that, no, both parties aren't equally at fault for the current level of government dysfunction. Republicans greeted Obama's inauguration with an active plan of maximal obstruction of everything he did, regardless of what it was or how necessary it might be in the face of an epic economic collapse. No other party in recent history has done that."

EDITORIAL: Scott still doesn't get it on climate change (Sun Sentinel [FL], 08/21/14)
"When it comes to climate change and sea level rise, Gov. Rick Scott likes to simply say "I'm not a scientist."...But the leader of a state that has been called "ground zero" for sea level rise still doesn't buy climate change. That should worry Floridians plenty."

Editorial: Scott meets scientists (Pensacola News Journal [FL] , 08/21/14)
"Yet a perception of ideology-fueled skepticism remains. It has to end. ... Ben Kirtman, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Miami, showed Scott maps that depicted how two feet of sea level rise — in just a little more than 30 years — “will swallow much of Miami-Dade and Monroe counties and nearly all of the state’s barrier islands.” That’s us, beach lovers. ... To be fair, Gov. Scott didn't say he doubted the scientists. But he really didn't say much of anything. He needs to."

Editorial: Scott has heard the science, now he should act (Tampa Bay Times [FL], 08/20/14)
"Gov. Rick Scott gets credit for listening this week to climate scientists ... Now the governor should take the next step and develop a comprehensive approach to addressing an issue that will dramatically affect Florida's future."

EDITORIAL: An apology to sharks; Think twice if fins are a menu item. (Houston Chronicle, 08/18/14)
"The Gulf's population of great sharks has declined by 90 percent. Sharks are especially vulnerable to extinction because of their slow reproduction rates.... industrialized fishing of sharks is one factor leading to the decline in oysters ...Texas lawmakers should act to enact a ban on the sale or trade of shark fins.... if we act appropriately, perhaps museums won't be the only place that sharks can be found in the future."

EDITORIAL: Our View: The Wilderness Act has earned its keep (Idaho Statesman, 08/17/14)
"In an age of legislative gridlock characterized by polarized views on public lands ...would things such as the Wilderness Act, the Clean Water Act (1948) the Clean Air Act (1963) and the Endangered Species Act (1973) have a prayer of passage? ... We Americans have a funny way of resisting big, bold moves at the time of consideration. But generations later, many of these monumental public-land moves gain respect, and we can hardly imagine a time or a future without them."

Journal Times editorial: More must be done to protect state's water supply (Journal Times [Racine, WI], 08/14/14)
"[R]egulations safeguarding water cannot be subject to complaints of “it’s too expensive to comply.” Water is not a profit/loss issue or a standard-of-living issue, it’s a necessity of life. The Legislature should reconsider its weakening of the state’s phosphorus standard and restore the protections to Wisconsin’s sources of drinking water. We don’t want one of our cities to become the next Toledo, or the next Charleston."

Editorial: A water bond seems within reach, if no side overreaches (Sacramento Bee [CA] , 08/12/14)
"Legislation by Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, and embraced by the other 14 House Republicans from California would loosen the Endangered Species Act, on the theory such a step would open the spigots. The measure no doubt makes some Central Valley water users feel good. But it has little chance of passing the Senate and would enflame California’s environmentalists, who would be key to any coalition seeking to pass the bond. California’s water problem isn’t the Endangered Species Act. It is that there hasn’t been sufficient rain in the past three years."

Editorial: Toledo water woes a wake-up call; In a modern U.S. city some 400,000 residents went days without water after an algae bloom turned the waters of Lake Erie into something resembling pea soup. (Shreveport Times [LA], 08/10/14)
"This crisis was almost entirely man-made.... Shreveport also takes its water supply from surface water ... This type of algae needs warm temperatures, nitrogen and phosphorus to grow. Nitrogen and phosphorus arrive in lake waters via sewerage overflows and runoff that contains agricultural and residential fertilizers. Humankind is providing the warmer temperatures through climate change.... At the federal level, lawmakers should stand firm behind the Clean Water Act.... There’s no credible scientific counterweight to the prevailing opinion that climate change is happening and that it is caused by human activity. Yet policymakers continue to wrangle over the reality of climate change as though it’s fringe science. There are sensible steps that can and should be taken to curb human behavior that causes climate change, but it’s a question many lawmakers aren’t taking seriously."

Editorial: Nobody wants to be the next Toledo (Lima News [OH] , 08/10/14)
"Nobody wants to be the next Toledo, where nearly a half million people were told last weekend they couldn’t use city water to drink, bathe or even brush their teeth.... the toxic algae plumes that caused the problem remain in Lake Erie. They are a product of intensive farming, animal confinements, urbanization and industrialization.... A federal commitment to a multi-state effort is essential"

Timely attack on toxic algal blooms will translate into votes: editorial (Cleveland Plain Dealer [OH] , 08/10/14)
"The people have spoken and they understand the urgency of the situation – the season of toxic blooms peaks between August and October. The people's representatives have to do so, too."

Editorial: No slime-green water for us, please (Cincinnati Enquirer [OH] , 08/09/14)
"The opaque, slime-green water found in Toledo last weekend should be a wake-up call to residents in Ohio and across the country about the need to protect our natural resources."

EDITORIAL: About Lake Erie (Akron Beacon Journal [OH], 08/09/14)
"What must Ohio, neighboring states and Canada do to curb the prevalence of the harmful algal blooms that recently triggered the water crisis in Toledo and could bring the same to other communities? Reduce the level of phosphorus flowing into Lake Erie. ... Restored wetlands would be helpful.... ultimately means bringing regulations with teeth to the farm industry ... The federal Environmental Protection Agency belongs at the lead, armed with the Clean Water Act. Governors must mobilize their states."

EDITORIAL: We cannot forget to protect our water supply (Morning News [SC], 08/09/14)
"An algae bloom turned the waters of Lake Erie from a crisp blue to a murky green. The algae is fed by toxins from excess nutrients flowing into the water from agricultural areas, urban sewage and industrial waste....Maintaining a water supply that is plentiful and healthy takes a steady flow of funds, restrictions on runoff and comprehensive monitoring programs to ensure compliance. It also calls on us to be responsible. The issues in Toledo were almost entirely man-made."

EDITORIAL: Clean water not something to be taken for granted (Observer-Reporter [PA], 08/09/14)
"Responding to court decisions that weakened the Clean Water Act during the last decade, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are now attempting to close loopholes in the law that prevents it from protecting 2 million miles of streams and at least 20 million acres of wetlands around the country. Of course, these wetlands and streams feed into rivers that are our primary sources for drinking water, so conservation efforts aimed at these tributaries would be good for us all and a boon to fishermen, since many fish spawn in small streams."

EDITORIAL: Murray makes a strong case for climate action (The Olympian [WA], 08/08/14)
"As chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) is well positioned to sound the alarm about the long-term financial consequences of climate change. A memo she released to Senate Democrats Aug. 1 makes a strong case that without clear, decisive action today, climate change will burden the federal budget with future costs that will undermine the nation’s long-term fiscal health."

EDITORIAL: Green, but not with envy (Scranton Times-Tribune [PA] , 08/08/14)
"Lake Erie is not unique. Algae blooms feast on excessive agricultural runoff around the world. The Gulf of Mexico experienced one last year that was as big as Connecticut. Another bloom killed scores of manatees in Florida last year, and still another sickened hundreds of marine mammals along California’s central coast. Yet, public policy is slow to respond, and sometimes has been counterproductive. An initiative that just passed in Missouri, and which is gaining momentum in some other agricultural states, would prevent states from implementing the very measures that would diminish agricultural pollution. Called “right to farm,” it also is a right to pollute."

EDITORIAL: Congress and its unearned vacation (Kansas City Star, 08/08/14)
"Then there are all of the long-term challenges that Congress won’t confront in any serious way:... Many of the president’s nominees to be judges and ambassadors remain in limbo."

Editorial: Water warnings (Ocala Star Banner [FL] , 08/08/14)
"It is not hard to imagine either the Lake Erie disaster or the Colorado River Basin crisis occurring here in our own state, in our own community.... Unless our state and local governments begin implementing serious water protection policies — fertilizer restrictions, water permit limits and mandatory conservation measures, for starters — it is possible, even likely, Florida could become both Lake Erie and the Colorado River Basin."

Toxic blooms in western basin of Lake Erie a harbinger of scum to come: editorial (Cleveland Plain Dealer [OH] , 08/08/14)
"Ohio legislators and the governor's office have yet to show they understand the urgency of the threat and are mobilizing against it.... We know that climate change and invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels play a vital supporting role in compromising the well-being of our fragile freshwater ecosystem – the source of drinking water for 11 million people on both sides of the border. We know that this toxic soup threatens to undo much of what has been achieved in the last 42 years in cleaning up the lake and her watershed since the 1972 Clean Water Act was enacted."

The Register's Editorial: U.S. needs to get serious about water pollution (Des Moines Register [IA] , 08/07/14)
"The water problem that made the news in Toledo is also an issue for bodies of water ranging from Minnesota, California, Cape Cod and Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf of Mexico — and Iowa.... Iowa agricultural and political leaders oppose setting quantifiable goals for water quality and measuring results within specific watersheds. That opposition must end."

EDITORIAL: Toledo's water problems offer NC a warning (News & Observer [NC], 08/06/14)
"New regulations aimed at reducing the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous into Jordan Lake have been suspended by the General Assembly ... The problem of nutrients and drinking water is a major one in North Carolina, but Burkholder said, “It’s simply being ignored.” It’s no longer being ignored in Toledo. North Carolina must take more aggressive action before the problem further threatens drinking water here."