CPR Archive for Margaret Giblin

CPR Urges Secretaries of Interior and Commerce to Withdraw Bush Endangered Species Regulations

by Margaret Clune Giblin | April 01, 2009

CPR Member Scholar Holly Doremus, joined by Member Scholars Rob Glicksman (also a CPR Board Member), Alex Camacho, and Dan Rohlf, along with myself, today sent the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce and Interior a letter urging them to utilize the time-limited authority that Congress gave them to withdraw one of the more controversial midnight regulations issued by the Bush Administration.  Those regulations undercut one of the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) most important protections—a requirement that federal agencies consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and/or the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to be sure that actions they plan to take (for example, funding a new highway) are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of threatened and endangered species. 


The Bush consultation regulations represent the worst kind of midnight rulemaking—they are poorly considered, unjustified by any evidence, and were patently intended to impose the Bush Administration’s hostile stamp on implementation of the nation’s flagship conservation law.  Most importantly, if implemented, the Bush consultation regulations will result in weakened protections for endangered and threatened species. 


The same group of CPR Member Scholars, joined by UC Davis conservation biologist Mark Schwartz, submitted comments to FWS and NMFS on the proposed rule back in October.  (Click here for the comments and here for a prior entry here on CPRBlog that summarizes CPR’s objections to the proposal.)    


After ...

Longstanding Dispute Brought to the Surface in Allegheny National Forest

by Margaret Clune Giblin | March 19, 2009
More than 10,000 oil and gas wells puncture the land within Pennsylvania's half-million acre Allegheny National Forest  (ANF)—more than in all the other national forests combined, according to the non-profit Allegheny Defense Project.  Back in the mid-1990s, about 100 new wells were drilled each year; today, it's about 1,300 per year.  The boom is driven by increased interest in and exploration of the Marcellus shale reservoir, a rock formation lying 5,000-8,000 feet below a large swath of Appalachia (including Pennsylvania) ...

Parks Funding in Stimulus Bill: Good for Parks and for the Economy

by Margaret Clune Giblin | February 11, 2009
Both versions of the economic stimulus package – that passed by the House and by the Senate – include funding for the National Park Service.  The bill the House passed last month would allocate $1.7 billion to the National Park Service for “projects to address critical deferred maintenance needs within the National Park System, including roads, bridges and trails,” operation of the National Park System, and for “projects related to the preservation and repair of historical and cultural resources” in ...

The Scalpel or the Hatchet? Applying Common-Sense Planning to Water Management

by Margaret Clune Giblin | February 06, 2009
One logical response to the constant news of the economic recession is cutting back on discretionary purchases and developing a household budget.  That is, if we know that times are tough and that we may encounter difficulties sustaining the lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to, we take stock of our circumstances and plan for the future.  We look at our current income and expenses, project our future income as best as we are able, and adjust future expenses in the budget ...

Studies Highlight Need for Natural Resource Adaptation Measures

by Margaret Clune Giblin | January 29, 2009
This week, there’s been good news from the Obama Administration regarding climate change policy.  California will likely get that waiver under the Clean Air Act allowing it to set stricter emissions standards for cars.  Additionally, Lisa Jackson, the new Administrator of EPA, indicated in an e-mail (subscription required) to agency employees that the agency will soon move to comply with the Supreme Court’s opinion in Massachusetts v. EPA.  In that opinion, the Court agreed with the plaintiffs’ arguments that EPA ...

Update: Final Endangered Species Rule May Itself Be Endangered

by Margaret Clune Giblin | January 22, 2009
Former President George W. Bush departed for Dallas on Tuesday, but his pervasive legacy remains here in Washington. In a prior post here on CPRblog, I wrote about one of the Bush Administration’s “midnight regulations,” which collectively stamped the most recent of the Bush imprints on public policy. In its proposed changes to the interagency consultation rule under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Bush Administration proposed to, among other things, effectively eliminate the statutory requirement that ...

Bush's Blue Legacy Remains Murky

by Margaret Clune Giblin | January 15, 2009
President Bush’s designation of 195,000 square miles of marine monuments last week drew praise from a wide constituency—including many environmentalists, who have so often been at odds with the Bush Administration over the past eight years.  Without a doubt, President Bush’s use of the Antiquities Act to preserve the Marianas, Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll National Marine Monuments is a major victory for conservation, especially when considered in addition to his similar designation of the 140,000 square mile Papahanaumokuakea ...

Pregnancy Don'ts: Drinking, Smoking . . . and Breathing?

by Margaret Clune Giblin | December 18, 2008
From a developmental standpoint, the 280 or so days between conception and birth are among the most important in a person’s entire life. During this period, pregnant women are cautioned to avoid a wide variety of exposures that can inhibit fetal organ development and growth. However, a recent report highlights the risk posed by one type of exposure against which women can’t realistically protect themselves—pollution in the air they breathe. The list of pregnancy “don’ts” is lengthy, and with good ...

Alien Invaders Approach the Upper Chesapeake

by Margaret Clune Giblin | December 11, 2008
Although it might not quite be the stuff of a Hollywood blockbuster, the tale of the lowly zebra mussel has a critical mass of the ingredients needed for a horror movie – or at least a seriously disturbing documentary. They’re creatures from a different world (that is, ecosystem), they’re amazingly prolific (each female produces 1 million eggs per year), they colonize both non-living and living surfaces (including turtles, crustaceans, other mollusks, and even other members of their own species), they ...

High Noon for the Last Surviving Land Disposal Law?

by Margaret Clune Giblin | December 01, 2008
The “land disposal” laws line up on the pages of U.S. history books, reminders of a bygone era when the government of a young nation was striving to find ways to encourage people to move west by giving away public lands at bargain-basement prices. The Homestead Act of 1862, for example, gave settlers title to 160-acre plots of land for just the cost of filing fees, so long as the settlers lived on the land for five years and cultivated ...

National Forests, a New Administration, and Climate Change

by Margaret Clune Giblin | November 20, 2008
One important environmental challenge facing soon-to-be-President Obama is how to reinvigorate the National Forest System’s environmental protections.  The system encompasses 192 million acres of land, which – to the constant amazement of those of us on the East Coast – represents about 8 percent of the total land area of the United States (roughly equivalent to the size of Texas), and about 25 percent of the country’s total forested lands.  Late in the 19th Century, amid concerns that excessive logging ...

Climate Change: A New Reason to Act on Old Recommendations

by Margaret Clune Giblin | November 05, 2008
Climate change is such an unprecedented challenge that sometimes it can seem overwhelming to think through its full range of impacts, let alone develop policy solutions to address them. Yet as policymakers delve into the details of the many ways in which climate change will impact global societies and the environment, the most promising solutions frequently turn out to have a distinctly familiar ring. Often, they are measures that have long been recommended for reasons that, although intensified by climate ...

Proposed Changes to Endangered Species Act Rule Would Further Endanger Species

by Margaret Clune Giblin | October 23, 2008
One recurrent theme of the Bush Administration’s regulatory approach has been the weakening of protective regulations – not just by weakening standards, but by erecting bureaucratic barriers to progress. In mid-August, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) provided another example of the later approach, proposing changes to rules implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA)—changes that would result in less protection for the endangered and threatened species the ESA charges the FWS with protecting.   The changes would affect the ...

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