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Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo
 

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Editorials and Opinion

 

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Editorial: Brewer vetoes show leadership down the middle (Arizona Daily Sun, 04/24/14)
"As we have noted before, though, much of the anti-federalist rhetoric coming from the far right has more to do with specific policies they oppose, not uncompensated costs or federal meddling. Arizona can hardly complain about the federal dams and water projects on which the state was built, and it continues to get back in federal aid far more than its residents and businesses pay into the federal treasury in taxes. So when it comes to giving ranchers permission to kill wolves or forcing the federal government to pony up for a cattle compensation fund to be administered by the state, Brewer got to the point in her veto message: Just because lawmakers want to allow endangered wolves to be killed on federal lands doesn’t give them the power to override federal law — it’s an expensive lawsuit waiting to happen."

Editorial: Gov. Brewer's pen is mightier than bad bills; Our View: Gov. Jan Brewer's vetoes are in our best interests (Arizona Republic, 04/23/14)
"The bills squashed were more about ideological overkill than any attempt at good policy making. … A bill that would have let ranchers kill endangered Mexican gray wolves by putting them in the same legal category as mountain lions and bears was all about some ranchers' continued opposition to a federal reintroduction effort under the Endangered Species Act. Brewer's veto letter on SB 1211 said the state "simply does not have the power" to override federal protections for wolves. This bill was about putting a finger in Uncle Sam's eye. It was not necessary."

Mercury News editorial: Feinstein bill risks further damage to Delta (San Jose Mercury News [CA], 04/21/14)
"House Republicans are demanding that any drought legislation roll back crucial environmental protections and end the San Joaquin River restoration project. They act as if these rules are all about helping fish, but keeping the river system healthy is critical for people who rely on its water."

Editorial: The high cost of climate change denial (San Antonio Express-News [TX] , 04/18/14)
"Prolonged droughts. Melting ice caps. Heat waves and deep freezes. Rising oceans. Increased flooding. Endangered species going extinct. Expect more of this and then some — a threatened global food supply, for example — if climate change is left unchecked.... Here in Texas, research predicts rising sea levels that will cause environmental havoc through flooding, salinity and erosion... Many of Texas' most prominent leaders have been particularly shortsighted on climate change."

Editorial: Dianne Feinstein’s water bill is an overreach (Sacramento Bee [CA] , 04/17/14)
"One provision would lock in a specific inflow-export ratio to allow more water transfers to contractors south of the Delta from April 1 through May 31, regardless of water availability. This, of course, is the time that salmon and steelhead are migrating to the ocean. Feinstein should fix this provision by allowing agency experts to change the ratio depending on real-time water availability. The other provision talks about complying with endangered species law for some fish, but not for salmon and steelhead, which are on their way to extinction. Feinstein has said her goal is to protect fisheries. She should make that clear in the legislation. People whose livelihoods depend on salmon fisheries have been hurt by drought as much as Westside growers. In the past, Feinstein has said it is important to avoid seeking “gains for certain water users at the expense of others” or abandoning “fundamental state and federal environmental laws.” To make actions match words, she should fix the two provisions."

Editorial: Help, don’t hurt, the birds (Daily Iberian [New Iberia, LA], 04/17/14)
"The whooping cranes are an endangered species. They have a place in Louisiana’s landscape just as many other species of animals. Just as humans were a contributing factor to its disappearance, so too will humans need to be a contributing factor to its return and repopulate here."

Editorial: Turning our backs to global warming (Virginian-Pilot, 04/16/14)
"It will come as no surprise to Hampton Roads and Virginia, but Washington isn't doing enough to help limit global warming.... Given that our region is one of America's most vulnerable places (Miami and New Orleans face comparable or worse risks), Washington's legislative impotence carries an especially high potential price here.... The latest IPCC report argues that if the world wants to meet its goal of holding global warming under a dangerous threshold, it better get started now replacing fossil fuels with alternatives, including efficiency and power generation from wind, solar, tides. Otherwise, the IPCC report says, the world should ready for rising seas, disappearing species and more severe storms and flooding."

Editorial OUR OPINION: Heed bird-advocacy groups on wind (Grand Forks Herald [ND], 04/13/14)
"Wind power’s percentage of America’s energy production is sure to increase. With that in mind, developers and regulators should follow the conservation groups’ guidelines, because minimizing wind turbines’ impact on birds is in the best interests of us all."

Editorial: OUR VIEW | CLIMATE CHANGE: Options for climate change are on the table; now, U.S. must take lead (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [WI], 04/12/14)
"Climate change is already here; denying that is to deny reality..... coral reefs are already dying and fish and many other creatures are already migrating toward the poles or in some cases becoming extinct.... The economic threat posed by climate change far outweighs the economic discomfort of adjusting to meet it. And it poses a security threat to the United States."

Op-ed: Will sage grouse go the way of the lesser prairie-chicken (Salt Lake Tribune [UT], 04/11/14)
Ed Arnett And Terry Riley: "As wildlife biologists, hunters, and conservationists, we watched closely as the fate of the lesser prairie-chicken unfolded on March 27 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to list the medium-sized game bird as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.... the lesser prairie-chicken can be restored and eventually de-listed if responsible conservation practices are followed. We also can avert the need to list as threatened or endangered another once-abundant game bird, the greater sage grouse, if conservation practices are embraced."

Editorial: Politicians and the lesser prairie chicken (Winfield Daily Courier [KS] , 04/10/14)
"The federal Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species. Robin Jennison of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks says this is premature. But anyone who has watched or hunted prairie chickens over the past 60 years knows their decline is not just a result of recent droughts — as Jennison claims.... Instead of spending a lot of taxpayers’ money to sue the federal government over this long-delayed designation, our elected leaders should get behind the plan and actually try to preserve the lesser prairie chicken."

Editorial: BLM plans better wild horse controls (Bend Bulletin [OR], 04/09/14)
"It has a long way to go to completion, but the proposed 2015 budget for the federal Bureau of Land Management contains good news for Central Oregon. The agency will increase spending on wild horse management, and it will continue its efforts to improve sage grouse habitat in an effort to forestall the bird’s listing under the Endangered Species Act."

Editorial: Climate change is here, but action lags (News & Observer [NC], 04/05/14)
"A report last week from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group, gave a stark picture of what is happening. ... “Many terrestrial, freshwater and marine species have shifted their geographic ranges, seasonal activities, migration patterns, abundances and species interactions in response to ongoing climate change.” ... Frustrated by obstructionists in Congress, President Obama has had to act through his executive authority to curb greenhouse gases. He recently announced a specific plan to reduce methane gas releases using his authority under the Clean Air Act. ... As a center of science, education and technology, North Carolina should be leading the way in debating and discovering what state and local governments can do to subdue the threat that is already upon us."

Guest commentary: Levee vegetation is saving taxpayers and the environment (Contra Costa Times [CA] , 04/05/14)
John Gioia, member, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and president, California State Association of Counties: "The recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' interim decision allowing local levee management agencies to leave trees and other vegetation on levees is a major win for local residents, taxpayers and the environment. Many areas of California, including Contra Costa, rely on levees for flood protection. We now need to keep working to make sure this interim decision becomes permanent law.... In some cases, the Corps even required a local agency to remove trees and other vegetation that provided habitat for an endangered species -- a true Catch-22."

Editorial: Climate change is here, now (Milford Daily News [MA], 04/05/14)
"Animals are migrating toward areas of cooler temperatures nearer the poles. The mountain snowpack in the Western United States is diminishing, reducing the country's water supply. Coral reefs, which shelter a quarter of the ocean's species, are bleaching - losing the algae that color them, causing their death over time."

EDITORIAL: Whale-hunting lie comes to an end (Virginian-Pilot, 04/04/14)
"The International Court of Justice in The Hague ordered Japan to cease its pretense of "research," which allowed them to kill as many as 1,000 whales annually in recent years. It should erase the last remnants of a brutal business as old as sailing. ... The decimation of bottlenose dolphins, like whales, in the seas off Japan could have far-reaching consequences for ocean life, underscoring the need for that country's fishing industry to heed environmental groups' warnings and exercise more restraint."

PD Editorial: Winning one for the whales (Press Democrat [CA] , 04/04/14)
"It was one of the worst kept secrets in the environmental world that those whales that Japan killed year after year weren't really for scientific research.... Fortunately, the charade came to an end last week when the United Nations' International Court of Justice moved to permanently put a stop to the annual Japanese whale hunt in the Antarctic."

Editorial: Climate change to force us to change (Virginian-Pilot, 04/03/14)
"Despite the constant foment from professional skeptics in America, global warming isn't in serious doubt among the vast majority of the world's scientists or policymakers. That's good. As a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made clear this week, the world is running out of time to ignore the implications of mankind's impact on the planet.... Coastal flooding will be especially devastating in countries that depend on the oceans and seas for subsistence living, and in places like Hampton Roads subject to everyday disruptions from storm-driven waters.... Animals' ranges and migration patterns have changed. A few are being driven to extinction. Acidifying seas - caused by increased carbon dioxide absorption - are putting new pressures on some species. ... It will take generations to reverse the damage done to the climate. Rather than an argument to do nothing, it's an argument to begin - right now - to change our ways."

Editorial: Utah must end climate change denial; Dependence on fossil fuels must end (Salt Lake Tribune [UT], 04/02/14)
"Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change took a new look at their 2007 report on the threats posed by global climate change ... It’s worse. So much worse, in fact, that IPCC graph-drawers had to invent a new category to paint a bleak enough picture of the threat to the world’s food supply and the increased likelihood of political unrest, the mass migration of people and the mass extinction of animals and plants.... Utah — relatively affluent, well-educated, family-oriented and with an economy firmly tied to its natural resources — ought to be a culture that leads the way."

Editorial: Our View: It’s time to address climate change (Florence Times Daily [AL], 04/02/14)
"We should be working together to address climate change, which will affect every part of the world, including our region. ... coral reefs are dying, fish and other creatures, including bears, are migrating toward the poles or going extinct."

Editorial: Our View: Ignoring warning signs (Joplin Globe [MO], 04/01/14)
"Disappearing habitat could soon spell the end of the lesser prairie chicken ...Until two years ago, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials had refused to list the species as threatened. That declaration was made the past week ... That plan certainly has merits, provided states and landowners get on board. We disagree with Brownback’s claim that the federal government is “overreaching,” nor do we think that a Kansas legislator’s proposal to declare the state has the sole authority to manage the bird’s population and habitat is a good idea. It is clear that the health of prairie grasslands and the ecosystem is being ignored in favor of business desires and demands. Ignore the rapid decline of the prairie chicken much longer and soon it will be too late. Cooperation among federal game authorities, states and landowners is urgently needed to guarantee the future of America’s prairies and the species that live there."

Editorial: Our opinion: Climate change lemmings (Brattleboro Reformer [VT], 04/01/14)
"Climate change will affect food and water resources and the rate of plant and animal extinctions will continue to rise. As the ocean acidifies, due to its absorption of excess carbon dioxide, coral reefs will die and the number of shelled marine creatures -- many of them at the base of the oceanic food chain -- will diminish.... But as dire as the situation is and as quickly as it is progressing, there is still time to stop the degradation of our habitat and eventually reverse the course of global warming."

Editorial: Climate Signals, Growing Louder (New York Times, 04/01/14)
"And without swift and decisive action to limit greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and other sources, the world will almost surely face centuries of climbing temperatures, rising seas, species loss and dwindling agricultural yields. ... together, the two reports could build public support for President Obama’s efforts to use his executive authority to limit greenhouse gases"

Editorial: A Ruling to Protect Whales (New York Times, 04/01/14)
"The International Court of Justice in The Hague rightly ordered Japan to stop its current whaling program in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary around Antarctica, a large reserve established by the International Whaling Commission. The United Nations’ highest court came down clearly on the side of conservation and international opinion. This important and unequivocal ruling to protect an endangered species is binding, and Japan cannot appeal.... Japan should cease whaling everywhere instead of waiting for the next international reprimand that is sure to come."

EDITORIAL: Climate change report raises new alarms about future disasters (Kansas City Star, 03/31/14)
"A new report from an international study group on climate change could hardly be gloomier. The adverse effects of greenhouse gases in global environments, at least in part probably caused by human activities, extend from coastal flooding to farmland drought. Food insecurity. Social displacement. Biodiversity losses. Systemic collapse.... Responding with urgency may cost far less than waiting until disaster strikes."

Editorial: Threatened chicken (Hays Daily News [KS], 03/30/14)
"The move by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the lesser prairie chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act should not have come as a surprise. The grouse's natural habitat in native grasslands and prairies has been reduced an estimated 84 percent. Last year, the bird's population dropped by almost half from the year before to a record low 17,616.... The lesser prairie chicken should be listed as threatened. Without mitigation, this particular bird likely would become endangered and then extinct. State and local stakeholders have the opportunity to ensure that doesn't happen. They should be grateful, not threatening legal or congressional action."

EDITORIAL: Bald eagles' return: A majestic success story (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review [PA] , 03/28/14)
"The return of the bald eagle to Western Pennsylvania is a success story of majestic proportion. In 1980, our national bird had almost disappeared from the state"

Forum editorial: Confluence oil spill is troubling (Forum of Fargo-Moorhead [ND], 03/25/14)
"Here is a generous serving of high praise for North Dakota Game and Fish supervisor Kent Luttschwager. He seems to be one of the few (the only?) state habitat/wildlife managers who has spoken out forcefully regarding oil pollution....The mess will require extensive cleanup, and could be a threat to the endangered pallid sturgeon, one of the iconic fish species in the rivers.... But there is no effective regulation that orders the wells be shut down and secured before damage and spills occur. There are no short-term or long-term response plans for protecting habitat after a spill. In other words, it’s pretty much up to the oil well companies to respond in the way they see fit, which they can do because what regulation exists is perceived as toothless."

EDITORIAL: Return of the bats? (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review [PA] , 03/25/14)
"Field observations by Nature Conservancy and Pennsylvania Game Commission biologists provide grounds for some optimism that bat populations ravaged by a fungal malady are stabilizing. It's a glimmer of hope for creatures that humans rely on to control insect and pest populations in forests and farm fields....Given bats' critical ecological role and their swift, steep decline, these early indications that white nose syndrome's grim grip is weakening is encouraging."