Editorials and Opinion
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."
Editorial: Protect vital drinking water (Pocono Record [PA] , 08/06/14)
"Toledo officials issued a drinking water ban after a toxin, from blue-green algae trapped in the lake, appeared in the water system. Algae blooms can kill off plant and animal life in the lake; the toxin poisons freshwater supplies. Scientists say farm fertilizer, city runoff, animal waste from factory farms and possibly even the invasive zebra mussel contribute to the problem. It's also worsened by more frequent, more severe rain associated with climate change.... Perhaps if more people learn how directly climate change can [threaten] health, they will act. No society can survive without clean drinking water."
Our View: Pay attention to Toledo's water woes (Erie Times-News [PA], 08/06/14)
"Agricultural runoff and sewage overflows provide nutrients that cause harmful algae blooms to grow and spread. Scientists have also linked the increase in such blooms to climate change.... We need long-term solutions to address the causes of harmful algae blooms, which are also blamed for creating large dead zones in Lake Erie."
EDITORIAL: Clean up Lake Erie — now (Toledo Blade [OH] , 08/05/14)
"It’s time to crack down on farms and feeding operations — especially big factory-type enterprises — that refuse to use and dispose of fertilizer and manure responsibly. Voluntary actions taken by some area farmers to reduce runoff have been necessary, but clearly are not sufficient.... In Washington, Congress and the Obama Administration need to increase, not cut, federal aid to restore the Great Lakes and to support local clean-water initiatives,"
EDITORIAL: A threat from our faucets; Toledo water crisis illustrates need for more emphasis on algae fight (Columbus Dispatch [OH], 08/05/14)
"Toledo’s weekend without water was a trial for a half-million people in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan, but the real wake-up call is sounding a few hours south — here in Columbus, where lawmakers yesterday pledged to make Ohio’s plague of algae blooms a top priority. That’s appropriate; taking steps to ensure that Ohioans can continue to count on clean, safe drinking water should be Job One."
Editorial: Toledo water crisis must be a wake-up call (Detroit Free Press [MI] , 08/05/14)
"If the impacts of pollution or climate change seem largely theoretical to you, what happened in Toledo should bring it all very, very close to home.... 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 lawmakers — particularly on the Republican side of the aisle — aren’t taking seriously. ... If the water crisis in Toledo doesn’t spur voters to demand response and lawmakers to take action, what will?"
EDITORIAL: Urgent call for action against toxic algae (Akron Beacon Journal [OH], 08/04/14)
"Now that the crisis has eased, perhaps state, local and federal leaders will respond with the necessary urgency to implement steps to push back an algal advance that has building since the 1990s....Count heavy rains as aggravating factor, especially as they have become more frequent due to climate change."
Editorial: Don’t let Lake Michigan become another Lake Erie (Chicago Sun Times, 08/04/14)
"In recent years, though, the Lake Erie algae has been back with a vengeance, this time swelled by phosphorus from new agricultural techniques and heavier rains associated with climate change. ... phosphorus is far from the only threat to the Chicago area’s drinking water. Lake Michigan must also be protected from sewage overflows during heavy Chicago storms, industrial pollution from Northwest Indiana and pharmaceuticals, antibiotics and other chemicals that flow into waterways and the lake via treated sewage."
EDITORIAL: EPA’s plan on climate change fills a void as Congress does nothing (Washington Post, 08/04/14)
"Here’s the reality: The world is warming, scientists say humans are responsible, the United States has contributed more than any other nation to the carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere, and the problem won’t get addressed any time soon without serious U.S. buy-in and leadership. The consequences of unabated warming are somewhat uncertain — yet the possibility of very negative, perhaps catastrophic, global outcomes is too distinct to do nothing. Congress has failed to pass a plan tailored to cut U.S. greenhouse emissions over the next few decades. So the EPA has had to rely on the tools Congress gave it in the Clean Air Act"
Toledo water ban is an indictment of state failure to address toxic algal blooms: editorial (Cleveland Plain Dealer [OH] , 08/04/14)
"Gov. John Kasich needs to take the lead in forming a bipartisan committee to recommend emergency legislation that requires farmers, livestock producers and homeowners to adopt best practices in fertilizer application and the handling of livestock excrement. The legislature needs to pass the restrictions and fund comprehensive monitoring programs to ensure compliance. The lesson of Toledo: Time is not on our side."
EDITORIAL: As Arcara prepares to scale back, Washington needs to do its job (Buffalo News [NY], 07/30/14)
"[L]et us urge the U.S. Senate to move swiftly in confirmation of two new judges desperately needed, one of whom has already been recommended.... And to make matters worse, if the Senate drags its collective feet too long, say until 2015, there is a chance that the entire landscape could have changed if Republicans regain control of the Senate in the November election. There’s a good chance Republicans will reject all of Obama’s judicial nominees. Time is of the essence. But the dockets are choked with cases....There is an opportunity here, as Arcara has noted. With two new judges, along with his and Skretny’s willingness to continue hearing cases, it is possible to significantly reduce the backlog of cases."
The House's Continued Assault on Endangered Species (Huffington Post, 07/29/14)
Jamie Rappaport Clark, President & CEO, Defenders of Wildlife: "Rep. Hastings knows that if he succeeds with these amendments, he will have taken a major step in undermining the ESA. Unfortunately for Hastings, the White House sees through the ploy, and today the Obama Administration released a veto threat saying that if the President were presented with H.R. 4315, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill."
Sentinel Editorial: Two federal appeals panels diverge on health care reform (Keene Sentinel [NH], 07/28/14)
"Judge Thomas B. Griffith, in the D.C. ruling, guessed that Congress failed to include the federal exchange in the wording of that key clause intentionally, as an incentive to states to form their own exchanges. That seems quite a leap in logic. What the Democratic-controlled Congress unquestionably intended in 2010 — what was the very reason for constructing the law in the first place — was to provide affordable health care access to all Americans in every state. Any other interpretation of its intent is ludicrous."
Opinion: The absurdity of [appeals] court’s health care ruling (Record [NJ] , 07/28/14)
Prof. Frank Askin: "the two Republican judges sitting on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia blindly adopted the bizarre argument of the law’s challengers that under a literal reading of the statute only state enrollees were entitled to the subsidies.
On the same day, another federal appeals court sitting in Virginia unanimously ruled the other way. In that decision, Judge Andre Davis ridiculed the argument adopted by the two majority judges in D.C."
EDITORIAL: Unhealthy sign: Federal courts differ on ACA insurance premiums (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [PA] , 07/27/14)
"On Tuesday, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled 2-1 that the IRS could not authorize payments of premium subsidies in states that use the federal exchange.... The wording is something of a drafting error, but the intention of the law is clear and supports a broader reading.
If the D.C. court reconvenes at full strength it may reverse itself, but the U.S. Supreme Court may decide to intervene. That is cause for concern, given its reputation for judicial activism of a conservative stripe."
EDITORIAL: WE SAY AFFORDABLE CARE ACT Subsidies clear intent of Obamacare (Austin American-Statesman [TX] , 07/27/14)
"The 4th Circuit's reasoned view is that no one seriously can doubt the law intends for subsidies to be available for individuals whether they buy insurance on an exchange created by a state or by the federal government....If the D.C. court's view prevails, then Congress would have to rewrite the law to save the subsidies available on the federal exchange. That would appear to be an impossible order, given that Republicans want to see the law repealed and would resist squaring the law's language with its obvious intent."
Editorial: Grins and Grimaces (Knoxville News Sentinel [TN] , 07/26/14)
"A look at recent events in the news that pleased us ... .. and one that did not. Bat population drops: This summer Indiana State is leading a 12-week project to net bats in remote areas of the Smokies to see how white-nose syndrome, a fast-spreading disease that is wiping out species of cave-hibernating bats across the U.S., is affecting bats in the park. Researchers are especially interested in how it has affected the park's Indiana bats, a federally endangered species, and the northern long-eared bat, which is under review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be listed as threatened or endangered."
EDITORIAL: Court ruling threatens viability of Obamacare (Asbury Park Press [NJ], 07/25/14)
"If that ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals holds up through an appeals process that could end in the Supreme Court, millions of people with subsidized insurance could suddenly find their policies well beyond their means. ...Another circuit-court panel in Virginia on Tuesday on a similar challenge to Obamacare unanimously arrived at the opposite — and correct — conclusion that the law was not designed to limit subsidies to the state exchanges. ... The D.C. Court’s ruling is galling enough in that it likely was influenced by partisanship — the majority judges in the 2-1 vote were both Republican-appointed. ... It doesn’t deserve to die on a partisan judicial sword over an unintended language technicality."
EDITORIAL: Save the subsidies (Greensboro News & Record [NC], 07/25/14)
"The D.C. Circuit Court panel split hairs in its 2-1 ruling. ... Yet, Congress really did intend to offer subsidies to all Americans, not just to those in some states, according to a contrary ruling the same day by a unanimous panel of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond.... Politics seems to influence the courts as well. The three judges on the Richmond panel were appointed by Democratic presidents. The two who produced the majority opinion in Washington were nominated by Republican presidents. If the full D.C. court hears the case on appeal, a reversal is expected because most of the court’s judges are Democratic appointees....Whether the enrollment mechanism is a federal or state exchange shouldn’t matter, and judges should apply common sense to their final decision."
EDITORIAL: Fix, don’t gut, health-care law; Congress and the courts can’t allow a bad ruling to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans (Toledo Blade [OH] , 07/24/14)
"A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that consumers who buy insurance from federal exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act are not eligible for income-based tax credits ... ruled the two GOP-appointed judges who formed the panel’s majority.... If the D.C. circuit’s ruling stands, millions of Americans would face a hopeless choice between paying premiums they can’t afford or remaining uninsured. ... The full D.C. appellate court — and if necessary, the Supreme Court — should reverse the panel’s excessively narrow opinion.... The D.C. circuit’s ruling is wrong and worrisome, but need not and should not be the last word. Avoiding that outcome will require higher courts and Congress to do their jobs, rather than kill successful health-care reform by default."
Do Republicans Warrant Being the Majority Party in Both Houses? (Huffington Post, 07/24/14)
Byron Williams: "Utilizing the rules of the Senate, Republicans have succeeded in blocking more of President Obama's judicial nominations than the combined total of his predecessors. Elections have consequences; at least they should, but not in the current GOP world."
EDITORIAL: A dose of absurdity in the Halbig ruling on Obamacare (Bangor Daily News [ME], 07/24/14)
"On Tuesday, a three-judge panel at the U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit issued a flawed ruling that subsidies for health insurance coverage should never have been provided in states with federally run exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.... it’s odd the court would claim that what is basically a typo in a poorly written part of the law overrules what the law’s creators and implementers know to be true ... If the decision is upheld by the full D.C. Circuit (it probably won’t be), nearly all Maine residents who enrolled in a health plan through this state’s exchange would see an effect: They would pay nearly 80 percent more ... Eliminating health care for millions of Americans because of a drafting error? It sounds absurd to us."
EDITORIAL: Obamacare ruling: 2 judges, 6 words and millions at risk (Minneapolis Star Tribune [MN] , 07/24/14)
"[A] three-judge panel for the D.C. Circuit struck down the federal exchange subsidies in a 2-1 ruling ... This conclusion flouts a respected legal precedent that gives federal agencies wide latitude in interpreting ambiguous legislative language. It also flies in the face of common sense."