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Defenders of Wildlife

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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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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: 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."

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: 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: 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: 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: A lesson from a friend of the sharks (MetroWest Daily News [MA], 08/05/14)
"As our beaches teem with swimmers, an effort by a 9-year-old boy demonstrates a degree of wisdom beyond his years, and could teach us all a lesson about the importance of one voice speaking up. Back in May, Sean Lesniak of Lowell pushed for a ban on shark finning,...When Gov. Deval Patrick recently signed the measure into law, he made the commonwealth the ninth state to ban the practice."

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: 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"

Editorial: What are wolves supposed to do? Order a pizza? Our View: A proposed rule makes it too easy to kill or remove Mexican gray wolves for acting naturally. (Arizona Republic, 08/03/14)
"A proposed new rule for Mexican wolf reintroduction penalizes the animals for eating their natural prey. But it's not all bad: The proposed new rule also would allow reintroduction of captive-bred wolves into new areas. The rule also vastly expands the wolves' range from a relatively small area ... The Mexican wolf reintroduction effort serves a long-standing goal of preserving and restoring endangered species, and reflects a shared national value for species diversity....Mexican wolves are the rarest subspecies of gray wolf in North America. They deserve protection that respects the value they bring to the ecosystem."

EDITORIAL: China's surprise on climate change: Our view; It's not true the Chinese aren't doing anything about pollution. Their reasons just happen to be more domestic than global. (USA Today, 08/03/14)
"China and America hold the key on global warming. If the U.S. acts to curb emissions, it puts pressure on China to go along. If it doesn't, it gives China an excuse to delay."

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."

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."

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."

DC Circuit Decision Isn't Just About Obamacare Subsidies: It Also Kills the Employer Mandate (Huffington Post, 07/28/14)
Terry Connelly: "What these two Republican jurists on the DC Circuit invented was a version of the ACA that even their own political party never considered to be reality: namely, a statute that contains its own self-destruct poison pill that would invalidate the very provisions the GOP most detested:"

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."