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Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

Defenders of Wildlife

Editorials and Opinion


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Editorial: Overdue progress on U.S. judges (San Antonio Express-News [TX] , 09/25/14)
"Three nominations to the U.S. District Court in Texas' Southern District last week could further signal a welcome end to the state's judicial logjam. Judicial advocates have labeled Texas as the epicenter of a crisis in filling federal judicial vacancies — with the state containing too many of what were labeled judicial emergencies.... Pitman and two other nominees for Texas judgeships had their hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee this month. At that hearing, the state's two U.S. senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, supported the nominees. That same kind of support came after the presidential nominations last week. This is a good sign that both GOP senators are taking their roles seriously.... Even when all vacancies are filled, however, another task remains. That would be acting on the certainty that one of the fastest-growing states lacks enough federal judges in the first place."

Rising sea levels an impact of climate change that puts our region in jeopardy: Editorial (South Jersey Times [NJ], 09/24/14)
"While global warming may seem like something someone else needs to worry about, that's not the case. The rising sea levels are something we can see in our own backyards. All of us, both as a country and individuals, need to act to control harmful emissions and stem the rising tides."

Editorial: Death by a thousand bites (Pocono Record [PA] , 09/24/14)
"The fact that more than 300,000 attended the People's Climate March last weekend in New York City shows that the issue has begun to penetrate the national consciousness."

EDITORIAL: Decline in butterfly species should concern us all (Capital Journal [Pierre, SD], 09/24/14)
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed the Dakota skipper as a threatened species. ... The Poweshiek skipperling is proposed as endangered.... This should concern us all. It appears that we may pass on to our children a prairie that is poorer in wildlife than the prairie we inherited from our parents and grandparents. ... Here is where we could probably learn a lesson from the first radical environmentalist, God, and his right-hand man, Noah. If biological diversity was worth protecting in the Genesis account of the great flood, it’s worth protecting now, too. Read the story on A3 and consider filing some comments with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about their proposed plans for these two small citizens of our prairie world."

EDITORIAL: The urgency of climate change (Miami Herald, 09/23/14)
"The climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it,” President Obama told the U.N. climate change summit on Tuesday. The evidence is all too clear ... But resistance in Congress has blocked attempts to take effective legislative action ... Faced with this know-nothing attitude, the administration has no option but to use executive authority under the Clean Air Act to impose national limits on emissions of greenhouse gases. At the same time, Mr. Obama should seek a binding deal with other countries ... Beyond that, there are a host of actions that individuals and businesses can undertake to cut emissions."

EDITORIAL: Build on climate change momentum (Democrat and Chronicle [NY] , 09/23/14)
"Obama can point to progress. Recall, he issued a series of executive actions last year that will, among other goals, reduce carbon pollution and encourage sustainable energy development. He must encourage global partners to follow suit. Of course, even more needs to be done, and a less-calcified Congress would and should partner with the president on solutions."

Editorial What about those other greenhouse gases? (Los Angeles Times, 09/23/14)
"But here's one topic we'd like to see the participants discuss, because it has been given short shrift so far in the battle against global warming: what to do about methane, refrigerants and other short-lived climate pollutants. These are pollutants that don't remain in the environment for as long as carbon but are far more powerful at trapping heat. ... the Earth's climate is changing faster than originally predicted. Meaningful progress must be made over the next decade or two, not 50 years. Addressing the problem of short-lived climate pollutants could improve the near-term picture in dramatic ways."

Editorial: A 'pious wish' won't fix politics of climate change (St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MO], 09/23/14)
"Mr. Obama has to go it alone on climate change, trying to convince the world that the United States is serious about reducing its carbon footprint, even as he duels with a Congress crammed with members who don’t even acknowledge the problem....Mr. Obama, at least, gets it."

Editorial: Climate talks should model after ozone pact: Our view (USA Today, 09/23/14)
"27 years ago, nations signed the Montreal Protocol to head off environmental catastrophe....he protocol will have prevented 2 million cases of skin cancer a year by 2030....the bottom line is the same: Collective international action, even at a time of global tensions, can head off environmental catastrophe. And the sooner action is taken, the better, because the atmosphere can take decades to recover."

Editorial: Climate marchers make point that nations are not heeding (Daily Hampshire Gazette [MA], 09/23/14)
"Carbon pollution is killing the planet. If there was once a time when some nations could lead on action against climate change, and others could simply follow, that time is over. Vastly greater efforts are needed to head off disaster."

EDITORIAL: Climate science and political theater (San Diego Union-Tribune [CA] , 09/23/14)
"The science that says the global climate is gradually getting warmer is compelling. So is the science that says that man’s unrelenting addition of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is a chief cause of climate change."

Mercury News editorial: Climate summit has the right people in place (San Jose Mercury News [CA] , 09/22/14)
"In any negotiation, it's vital to have the right players at the table, so the broad and high-level participation in this event is itself a good sign.... strategies to control damage to the environment can be productive. Let's hope that by this time next year we are reviewing the details of a fair and comprehensive action plan for the world to cut its carbon emissions."

More talk, more action [Editorial]; Our view: Climate change protesters and policymakers must overcome the 'know-nothing, do-nothing' politics of skeptics (Baltimore Sun, 09/22/14)
"For the record, man-made climate change is undeniable and serious. ... The challenge of climate change is serious, but the remedies are not as painful as opponents often claim. Conserving energy and switching to renewable forms of power yields tremendous benefits not only to the environment but to human health and to energy independence. What's painful is to envision a future if action isn't taken — coastal communities flooded; increasingly severe weather events such as drought and storms; loss of arable farmland and freshwater supplies; increased disease; more political conflicts worldwide as people battle over scarcer resources; and loss of biodiversity and ecosystems."

Editorial: Climate Change; A Continuing Threat to the Health of the World’s Population (Journal of the American Medical Association, 09/22/14)
Dr. Howard Bauchner, editor-in-chief and Dr. Phil Fontanarosa, executive editor: " it is critical to recognize that climate change poses the same threat to health as the lack of sanitation, clean water, and pollution did in the early 20th century. Understanding and characterizing this threat and educating the medical community, public, and policy makers are crucial if the health of the world’s population is to continue to improve during the latter half of the 21st century."

Editorial: Rockefeller family, synonymous with oil, turns its back on fossil fuels (Dallas Morning News, 09/22/14)
"Now will the Rockefeller family’s decision to divest their charity of fossil fuels be a tipping point for global action on climate change? On Monday, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a private charitable foundation that controls nearly $900 million in assets, said it is “moving soberly, but with real commitment” to remove fossil fuels from its complex investment portfolio while increasing its investment in alternate energy sources. The decision promises to have an outsize impact because the foundation is no environmental zealot; the Rockefeller name is synonymous with oil. The fund’s leaders are, however, smart investors who understand the moral and economic dimensions of unfettered climate change."

EDITORIAL: Minnesota's global outlook helps land sustainability conference (Minneapolis Star Tribune [MN] , 09/21/14)
"There is widespread consensus among most scientists, as well an increasing number of business and national-security leaders, that climate change poses real threats. Politicians, however, often react with indecision, if not indifference, to the issue. CdM’s former heads of state, not beholden to the ballot box, can play a unique role in honestly assessing these risks, as well as suggesting ways that democracies can help find solutions to mitigate the impact."

EDITORIAL: A hot time in the old town; Largest-ever climate change march must spur action by world leaders (New York Daily News, 09/21/14)
"With the planet undeniably warming and the seas undeniably rising, they’re marching the good march....An international action plan is unquestionably necessary to stave off a catastrophe too large for any nation to address on its own."

EDITORIAL: On our minds: Striped bass, health insurance, climate change; World needs action on climate change (Newsday [NY], 09/21/14)
"The old argument -- the one that says it's just too expensive to change -- must be overcome. Failure to act would be even costlier."

EDITORIAL: Ripe for change: World leaders must take note of the climate march (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [PA] , 09/21/14)
"Voluntary reductions are desirable, but they will not cut emissions deeply enough to avert the effects of climate disruption. Only binding regulations can do that.... The world has responded successfully to international crises in the past. If leaders channel the public will and view clean energy as an opportunity instead of a challenge, mankind can triumph again. The future of life on Earth depends on it."

EDITORIAL: The Record: Climate march (Record [NJ] , 09/21/14)
"The emissions trap heat in the atmosphere, increasing air temperature, raising sea levels due to melting ice caps and producing more intense storms. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last week that the average worldwide temperature in August was the highest on record."

EDITORIAL Endorsement Strong reasons to retain state justices (Los Angeles Times, 09/21/14)
"Goodwin Liu is already serving on the court, having been appointed and confirmed in 2011.... Liu, like Cuéllar, is a liberal academic, although a Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate scuttled his appointment by President Obama to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Liu became better known to some Californians in recent weeks because he authored a statement attached to a state Supreme Court order removing Proposition 49 from the ballot. That was the advisory measure calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the controversial campaign finance decision by those other justices — the ones on the U.S. Supreme Court. It may seem odd that a state justice formerly blocked by politicians on the right should write an opinion that so antagonized people on the left. But good justices — and Liu is one of them — routinely write controversial opinions that reach their conclusions based on the law as written and understood by the entire court, and not on a single justice's ideology. Liu, like Cuéllar, should be retained."

EDITORIAL: Our View: Cheers and Jeers (Times-News [ID] , 09/20/14)
"Cheers to the Ketchum City Council, which this week proved that people can be reasonable about wolves in Idaho. The City Council called for the state to end the war on wolves and transition to non-lethal management. Officials in the tourism-heavy city rightly note the terrible press Idaho receives because of the unusual levels of bloodlust some Idahoans have toward wolves. Living with nature means appreciating all species, not just those we like to eat, catch or domesticate.... Cheers to sockeye salmon who are returning in droves to Redfish Lake.... The rebound follows intense state and federal efforts to stabilize the species"

EDITORIAL: Climate change and health—action please, not words (Lancet, 09/20/14)
"In 2009, a Commission report published by The Lancet in collaboration with University College London (UCL) stated that “climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century”. 5 years later, we still believe this conclusion to be true."

Building a movement on climate: Editorial (Star-Ledger Newark [NJ] , 09/20/14)
"One party in Washington still finds science politically prudent to repudiate, even though EPA chairmen from the last four Republican administrations (including Christine Todd Whitman) told Congressional climate change deniers in June that they are playing with fire. The science is irrefutable as the symptoms unfold before our eyes"

Editorial: Two More Historical Events (Parker Pioneer [AZ], 09/19/14)
"The extinction of the passenger pigeon offers lessons for humans. What we do affects everything and everyone around us. We need to take care of and manage our resources. As the passenger pigeon shows, even a seemingly endless resource can disappear if it’s not managed wisely."

Climate change, at our front door | Editorial (Journal of the San Juan Islands [WA], 09/18/14)
"[T]rack down the story about Washington state’s shellfish industry. There, you’ll discover how a multi-million dollar resource-dependent enterprise that employs 3,000-plus people statewide can be brought to its knees by “corrosive” sea water laden with carbon, how hard-working, thrifty, conservative-minded businessmen and businesswomen become believers ... Together we can find solutions, and inaction is not an option."

Senate’s unfinished business: Fill judicial vacancies (The Hill, 09/17/14)
Raymond M. Lodato: "While several bills are making their way through the upper house, the arena in which it can have the most impact is in confirming President Obama’s judicial nominees. So far this year, the upper house has filled 68 vacancies on the Federal bench, more than in all of 2013. However, even with the increased pace, 60 vacancies remain on Federal district and appellate benches. Each vacancy in the Federal courts increases the burden on active and senior judges (who work a reduced number of cases in semi-retirement) and delays the administration of justice for individuals, businesses, and non-profit groups seeking resolution of their claims. Nearly two dozen of the vacancies have been classified as “judicial emergencies” because of the length of time they have been unfilled and the number of cases in their jurisdictions."

EDITORIAL Our view: Last flight of the monarch? (Roanoke Times [VA], 09/17/14)
"In the past 20 years, their numbers are down about 90 percent, with no end in sight, except maybe the same fate that befell the passenger pigeon. Extinction. The Monarch butterfly is a creature of sublime mystery that scientists have yet to figure out. ... The U.S. Interior Department is looking at whether to grant the butterfly “threatened” status under the Endangered Species Act, which could lead to regulations that agribusiness might not like."

EDITORIAL: Defeating the need for speed (Santa Maria Times [CA], 09/17/14)
"Two important things are accomplished by getting cargo ships and tankers to slow down. One, they spew less greenhouse gasses into the air. As it turns out, cargo ships make a hefty contribution to air pollution along the Central Coast. Two, slowing down allows some of the channel’s larger inhabitants to get out of harm’s way. Research data show that whales have a much greater chance of surviving an encounter with a large ship, if that ship is traveling at a slower speed.... Some folks scoff at the protections afforded the western snowy plover at local beaches, saying it infringes on their right to use a public beach. On the other hand, we must all realize that once a species is wiped out, it’s gone forever, and whatever purpose it served in the network of life is lost forever."

Confirm Leeson, other U.S. judicial nominees (Morning Call [PA], 09/16/14)
Christine Stone, co-chair of Pennsylvania Coalition for Constitutional Values, Letter to the Editor: "With just a handful of voting days left before the Senate leaves for the November elections, Sen. Toomey must play a leadership role in discouraging his party from delaying and obstructing federal court judicial nominees just because they can. Sen. Toomey understands the importance of addressing the nation's judicial vacancy crisis. He should use his considerable influence to get his party to abandon their obstruction and delay of judiciary committee votes and instead send the nominations of consensus Pennsylvania nominees like Wendy Beetlestone, Gerald Pappert, Joseph Leeson, Jr. and Mark Kearney to the full Senate for a vote. When these jurists were nominated, both Sens. Casey and Toomey publicly voiced their strong support. Sen. Toomey also noted that a vote on Mr. Leeson's nomination would mean that for the first time the Allentown courthouse would have two sitting federal district court judges."