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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Defenders of Wildlife

Editorials and Opinion


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Readers forum: Keep judicial qualification top priority (Tulsa World [OK] , 04/23/14)
Op-Ed by Rich Fisher, general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, served on Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission from 2009-2011: "But imagine a day under this proposed arrangement with divided government, with one party able to control a majority of appointments and the other in the Governor's Mansion. Do you think that would be political, much? One quick look at the federal judiciary and its dozens of vacancies, and dozens of road-blocked nominees, as well as a sampling of the rhetoric surrounding any Supreme Court appointment should put that issue to rest."

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: Running Out of Time (New York Times, 04/21/14)
"Next year, in December, delegates from more than 190 nations will gather in Paris to take another shot at completing a new global treaty on climate change. ... if the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report is to be taken seriously, as it should be, the Paris meeting may well be the world’s last, best chance to get a grip on a problem that, absent urgent action over the next decade, could spin out of control."

Editorial: Chesapeake Bay needs the EPA (Virginian-Pilot, 04/21/14)
"Attorney General Mark Herring's brief supporting Chesapeake Bay cleanup represents the kind of common sense Virginians hope to see from the state's lawyer. Yet indiscriminate railing against Washington regulation - including rules designed to clean up the long-beleaguered bay - is what Virginians customarily see from a few of their Washington lawmakers."

Editorial board: Join energy industries and admit climate change exists (Casper Star Tribune [WY] , 04/20/14)
"Somehow, teaching facts has become controversial. That’s really the level to which some in Wyoming have sunk. Some legislators, residents and members of the state Board of Education think science teachers shouldn’t tell students the truth about climate change because, they say, it’ll reflect poorly on the state’s major industries. However, one important group seems to have little interest in pretending nothing is happening, and that’s the major industries themselves. Their actions show they’re well aware that what they do affects the environment, and they are preparing to deal with it. These companies – energy giants like BP, Shell and ExxonMobil among them -- realize the Earth is changing and are basing multi-decade projections and business decisions on the expectation of climate change."

Editorial: Wisconsin needs ambitious clean energy goal (Wisconsin State Journal, 04/20/14)
"The paramount environmental issue this Earth Day, which arrives Tuesday, is climate change. Wisconsin, our nation and the world need solid steps forward to stem the worst impacts of rising temperatures."

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."

Senate Plays Politics With Judicial Nominations (Newsmax, 04/18/14)
Susan Estrich column: "With luck, Michelle Friedland, a highly qualified appointee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, will be confirmed when the Senate returns from its two-week recess on April 28. Actually, if the Senate were comprised of grown-ups who work for us, instead of grown-ups who act like children, she would have been confirmed before the recess, but that's not the way things are going in the Senate."

Editorial: Fighting pollution from coal (Daily Review [Towanda, PA], 04/18/14)
"Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a new Environmental Protection Agency rule that, finally, will attack the worst pollution generated by coal-fired plants."

Protecting Midwestern streams and wetlands under a proposed rule (St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MO], 04/17/14)
Karl Brooks, administrator for U.S. EPA Region 7: "For the past 15 years, two complex court decisions muddled the law and we lost a clear understanding of which waters are protected, and which aren’t. Working jointly with the Army Corps of Engineers, we’re releasing a proposed rule that clarifies which waters are protected by the law."

Editorial: Progress on Long Island Sound rebound (Newsday [NY], 04/17/14)
"Climate change has increased the water temperature slightly, which also reduces oxygen. That makes nitrogen removal all the more important"

Editorial: Take lead on climate issues, governor (Democrat and Chronicle [NY] , 04/17/14)
"Cuomo should take a high-profile role in making the case to recalcitrant politicians and business interests. Failure to act will ultimately be more costly in terms of dollars for locally vital industries like agriculture and public safety."

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: Comply with mercury rule (Scranton Times-Tribune [PA] , 04/17/14)
"Part of the reason that coal-generated electricity has been so cheap for so long is that the government never has assessed a cost on the industry for the horrendous air pollution that it creates. ... Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a new Environmental Protection Agency rule that, finally, will attack the worst pollution generated by coal-fired plants. The court ruled that the EPA's first rule on toxic emissions, including mercury, arsenic and acidic gases, is "substantively and procedurally valid." ... Objecting states and the industry should forgo appeals and comply with the rule."

Editorial: Hot? Thirsty? Blame climate change; Our View: It's time to move beyond denial and become part of the solution (Arizona Republic, 04/17/14)
"Arizona faces significant threats from climate change. That gives us a big stake in moving beyond denial and into productive problem-solving."

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: OUR VIEW: What took so long? (Daily Courier [Forest City, NC], 04/17/14)
"The governor’s proposal plans to focus on increasing pond and dam safety around coal ash, protecting drinking water and groundwater quality along with the closure or conversion of the coal ash pits located around the state....The fact of the matter is the state turned a blind eye to the problems with coal ash and it wasn’t until a significant spill hit the pages of newspapers around the country that they started to take notice."

Editorial: Our view: Calling out long-distance critics (Roanoke Times [VA], 04/17/14)
"Did Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty blush when he signed onto a lawsuit suggesting that the Environmental Protection Agency is overreaching, or might one day do so, by working with states to clean up the Chesapeake Bay? It takes audacity to nitpick a project more than 3,000 miles away. And the arguments by Geraghty and other attorneys general are even more of a legal stretch....Virginia is one of six states working together to restore the bay's health by 2025 through limits on wastewater pollution and fertilizer runoff. But 21 attorneys general are challenging the bay cleanup in federal court. ...Self-appointed critics of the cleanup are "recasting cooperation as coercion," Herring writes, but as an interstate body of water, the bay needs all affected states and federal officials "working together to protect a regional and national treasure.""

Editorial: Tackle climate change locally and globally, too (Arizona Daily Sun, 04/17/14)
"But as others have noted, climate change is like the frog dropped into the pot of water that is slowly brought to boil: We’re getting hotter, but not hot enough to want to reach over and turn down the heat. It is now the Earth’s single most pressing issue, one that goes beyond mere sustainability to survivability."

EDITORIAL: No more debate, time to address climate change (Evansville Courier Press [IN] , 04/16/14)
"In case there was still any doubt, and there shouldn’t be at this point, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group of scientists, has made it official: Climate change is not coming, it’s already here. And it’s going to get worse unless the whole world — especially the industrial world — greatly reduces greenhouse emissions causing global warming."

Senate Should Quickly Confirm Circuit Nominees, Like in 2006 Midterm Year (People For blog, 04/16/14)
"Because Republicans are now filibustering every judicial nominee and generally requiring hours of needless "post-cloture debate" before an actual confirmation vote can be held, it has been harder than ever to "clear the calendar" (which is Senate lingo for "hold confirmation votes on all the nominees who have been approved by the Judiciary Committee and are pending on the Senate floor"). Among the 31 nominees left hanging when the Senate took off for its spring recess last week are six circuit court nominees. Five of the six were nominated last year ... In 2006, at this point in George W. Bush's presidency, the Senate confirmed eight circuit court nominees between April and September (plus a ninth during the lame duck session). Most of them had not even been nominated at this point in 2006"

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 | Pipeline questions need answers (Courier-Journal [KY] , 04/15/14)
"Complications appear to be growing for the Bluegrass Pipeline, ...more than 750 rivers, streams, wetlands and ponds could be affected by the construction of the pipeline,... iven the many questions and concerns about the project, thorough scrutiny is essential and that includes requiring a full-blown review of the environmental impact on Kentucky."

Editorial: A backup plan for climate change (Washington Post, 04/15/14)
"OF ALL the reports that the U.N.-chartered Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released over the last several months, this week’s might be the most distressing. The authoritative body of scientists, economists and other experts previously warned that the planet is warming, that humans are primarily responsible and that uncontrolled climate change would have a range of unwelcome effects. Those conclusions would not be too worrisome if the world were well on the way to heading off major problems. But the IPCC found the opposite."

Editorial: Two wins for the Everglades; OUR OPINION: Protecting region’s clean water supply remains a challenge (Miami Herald, 04/15/14)
"The first decision came from U.S. District Judge Kenneth Karas in the Southern District of New York in a case involving regulations for “water transfer” practices throughout the country. Part of the federal Clean Water Act case involves a decade-long suit filed by environmental groups against the South Florida Water Management District’s occasional back-pumping of polluted farmwater runoff from canals into Lake Okeechobee.... Judge Karas ruled that back-pumping that jeopardizes the supply of drinking water can be construed as a violation of the Clean Water Act. That includes actions that affect Lake Okeechobee. It’s a good decision.... In all likelihood, the district, the state of Florida or even the EPA will appeal the ruling, though it would be better for everyone, taxpayers especially, if the district were to accept the decision and end the costly litigation."

Editorial: Urgent need to address climate change (Tampa Bay Times [FL], 04/14/14)
"Two new reports by a leading international panel should put the task of addressing climate change on the nation's priority list. President Barack Obama has made a start by investing in cleaner energies and seeking to reduce global warming emissions of greenhouse gases. But the United States will need to do more and do it quickly to reduce the natural and human impacts of climate change that pose global safety threats in the near future."

Republicans Should Resist Urge to Blockade Supreme Court  (Bloomberg News, 04/14/14)
Jonathan Bernstein: "It would be unprecedented for a Senate majority to decide not to fill a Supreme Court vacancy for a year or more. Yet it was more or less unprecedented for a Republican minority in the Senate to use the filibuster to blockade several judicial and executive branch positions, as occurred over the last few years.... With several Republican senators from marginal states up in 2016, it wouldn’t be surprising if they wanted to avoid overly partisan fights.... If it happened, Republicans would deserve criticism, just as they deserved criticism for attempting to blockade other positions with the filibuster."