Environment

Being a Bureaucrat Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

Featured image We have covered the Gold King Mine environmental disaster here, here, here and here. Briefly, the EPA and its contractor spilled three million gallons of toxic liquid contaminated with lead, arsenic, cadmium and aluminum into the Animas River. The spill turned the river orange and inflicted environmental damage for many miles downstream: In response to the spill, the EPA has been uncommunicative and unhelpful to the impacted communities. It has »

William Tucker, RIP

Featured image Sad news yesterday of the passing of William Tucker, one of the great freelance journalists of our time. I didn’t know Bill especially well, but we spoke on the phone now and then, visited a few times in Washington, and were together just last September at an event at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, speaking about energy and environmentalism. I always learned something useful and original from him every time »

Bee of Good Cheer

Featured image We take the brief time out from the climate apocalypse in Paris—also known as “thermageddeon”—to make note of the official cancellation of the “Bee-pocalypse.” From the Washington Post: Call off the bee-pocalypse: U.S. honeybee colonies hit a 20-year high You’ve heard the news about honeybees. “Beepocalypse,” they’ve called it. Beemageddon. America’s honeybees are dying, putting honey production and $15 billion worth of pollinated food crops in jeopardy. The situation has »

Goodbye, Keystone

Featured image TransCanada’s application for permission to build the Keystone XL pipeline has been kicking around the Obama administration for nearly seven years. Recently, TransCanada sought to withdraw its permit application, presumably on the theory that the Obama administration would never grant it, and it would be easier to start fresh with a new administration than to try to overturn a negative decision by the current one. Today President Obama responded by »

China Reverses Course: Malthus, Ehrlich, and McKibben Hardest Hit

Featured image China announced today that it is ending its coercive one-child policy, and will now allow couples to have two children. That’s mighty white of them. Don’t get your hopes up that this represents a turn toward more respect for fundamental human rights by China’s ruling Communist Party. The change is being made for simple demographic reasons: China is getting old very rapidly, and like other social democracies it needs a »

Liberals Ignore the Fracks of Life

Featured image Let’s take stock. Liberals oppose fracking because of geological uncertainties. Haven’t you heard it has caused earthquakes in Oklahoma? (It turns out earthquakes in Oklahoma and elsewhere are related to improper deep well injection wastewater disposal rather than the fracking charges, but that kind of nuance is lost on the left.) Also, right now the relicensing of California’s last operating nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon is being held up »

Nine Myths About the Environment

Featured image Peter Kareiva is the former chief scientist of the Nature Conservancy, and today is the head of the Institute for Environment and Sustainability at UCLA. With those prior advertisements, you might not expect him to write a terrific article entitled “Back to School: Unlearning Nine Environmental Myths.” But he has. Buckle up: Myth 1: Human population is growing exponentially and it’s ruining the planet. Myth 2: Biodiversity is declining everywhere. »

Cleaning Up the Clean Power Plan

Featured image As John noted on Friday, a federal appeals court has blocked for the time being the EPA’s brazen extension of the Clean Water Act. What about its equally brazen extension of the Clean Air Act into a lever for the de facto nationalization of the nation’s electric utility industry? It is facing a legal challenge, too, and the legal arguments are typically arcane. I have no idea whether it will »

A Setback For the Administrative State

Featured image One of the Obama administration’s many instances of administrative overreach was the EPA’s “Clean Water rule,” which expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” as used in the Clean Water Act. Some say that the definition is so expansive as to give the federal agency jurisdiction over your back yard. Eighteen states sued to enjoin enforcement of the EPA’s rule, and today, a three-judge panel of the 6th »

Revisiting Robert Nisbet on Environmentalism

Featured image Since I’m in a mood to beat down on environmentalists today, I decided to dust off the late Robert Nisbet’s charming 1982 book, Prejudices: A Philosophical Dictionary. The book was a direct emulation of Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary, and the entry on environmentalism is not to be missed. Samples include: It is entirely possible that when the history of the 20th century is finally written, the single most important social movement »

Enviros to Africa: Stay Poor and Die Early

Featured image Further to the point of Scott’s post earlier about the shallow-mindedness of environmentalists, I’ve recently obtained a leaked copy of a draft letter from the usual gang of pecksniffs (Oxfam, Sierra Club, etc) to the U.S. Senate demanding changes to the Electrify Africa Act of 2015, and it is an even worse parody than the witless Sierra Club president before Sen. Cruz. The facsimile here is a little small and »

Recycling Garbage

Featured image Over in the New York Times today, John Tierney revisits recycling, an update on a NY Times Magazine piece he wrote in 1996 (“Recycling is Garbage“) criticizing recycling that generated record hate mail from readers. His update argues persuasively that nothing much has changed since then: [In 1996] I presented plenty of evidence that recycling was costly and ineffectual, but its defenders said that it was unfair to rush to judgment. Noting »

Green Energy Failure of the Week

Featured image Anyone remember the radon scare of the late 1970s and early 1980s? One of the typically perverse outcomes of that era was the finding that insulating houses actually increased radon levels in homes because it reduced ventilation. Of course, as so often is the case, we later recognized that the radon hazard was way overblown—even the New York Times figured this out by the late 1980s. Another “I-told-you-so” moments for »

Holy Fahrvergnugen!

Featured image News is breaking this morning that Volkswagen’s tampering of emission control software is much larger than the 500,000 or so diesel models reported over the weekend: the true number may be as high as 11 million VWs. Yesterday a spokesperson for the EPA said that VW could be liable for fines as much as $37,000 per vehicle, or $18 billion for the 500,000 or so models then reported to be »

Where Black Lives Actually Matter

Featured image I warned back in July that the likely overreaction to the killing of Cecil the Lion would result in lower protection for the endangered charismatic megafauna celebrated on WWF bumper stickers everywhere, and lo and behold the New York Times reports this morning on the latest unintended consequence of good intentions. Who could have seen this coming? A Hunting Ban Sap’s a Village’s Livelihood SANKUYO, Botswana — Lions have been »

Wednesday in the Big Apple

Featured image For any Power Line readers in the New York City area, I’ll be giving a public lecture at St. Francis College next Wednesday September 16 at 6 pm, on the subject “Is ‘Conservative Environmentalist’ an Oxymoron?” The lecture will be held at the Maroney Forum for Arts, Culture, and Education, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY, 11201. Do please come and join the crowd, which I’m guessing will include a »

Annals of EPA Incompetence

Featured image Speaking of Green Weenies, the EPA has released three minutes of video from the contractor who caused the King Mine blowout, and you can hear the contractors wonder “What do we do now?” and “is he going to close it out?” No, they didn’t close it out. »