Where Does Manure in the Chesapeake Come From Anyway? EPA, It's Time to Find Out

by Shana Campbell Jones | May 11, 2009

Cattle, chickens, and hogs create more than 500 million tons of manure in the United States annually – three times more than the sanitary waste produced by people. Yet, in contrast to a concerted federal and state effort to fund and build sewage treatment plants since the Clean Water Act was enacted in 1972, dealing with the water pollution problems caused by animal waste has been like wrestling a greased pig – a stinky, frustrating mess.

Regulating agricultural waste in the Chesapeake Bay watershed has been no less frustrating than in any other area of the country. And it’s no secret that nitrogen and phosphorous loadings from manure are killing the Bay. Recent developments in the Bay watershed, however, could signal a new direction on regulating Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs – factory farms) and the application of manure to cropland by farmers. An emerging coalition of 40 environmental groups – from the smallest Riverkeeper to the National Wildlife Federation – wrote a letter this week to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and the governors of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania (the primary states comprising the Chesapeake watershed) demanding comprehensive action on Bay pollution, including agricultural runoff (disclaimer: CPR advised the coalition on the letter). If EPA leads like it could, a cleaner Bay could move from dream to reality.

One of the recommendations made by the coalition is that EPA create an ongoing and independent ...

NEPA: Middle-Aged, But Still Vigorous

by Holly Doremus | May 07, 2009
This item is cross-posted by permission from Legal Planet. The National Environmental Policy Act, which became law on January 1, 1970, is the oldest of the major federal environmental laws. It has been a model for environmental assessment laws in numerous states and other nations, but it still comes in for a lot of criticism at home. Some criticisms are surely justified. As Dan pointed out here, NEPA has yet to fulfill the promise of its lofty goals. NEPA has ...

What I Will be Listening for at the Cass Sunstein Confirmation Hearing

by Rena Steinzor | May 06, 2009
Cass Sunstein, President Obama's controversial nominee for Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), will go before the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for his confirmation hearing on Tuesday (May 12). The “Regulatory Czar,” as this position is known, wields enormous influence over the substance of federal regulations affecting matters as diverse as public health and safety, the environment, and education. Professor Sunstein's nomination has attracted attention from the public interest community, largely focused on ...

Secretary Salazar to Appear on The Daily Show

by Ben Somberg | May 06, 2009
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will mix it up with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show tomorrow (Thursday) night. CNN.com reports: Interior spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff told CNN that Salazar is looking forward to talking about "his work implementing President Obama's vision for building a clean energy economy and his efforts to protect America's treasured landscapes. Time permitting, of course, the Secretary will be glad to offer Stewart some fashion tips, including how best to sport a cowboy hat and bolo tie." ...

CPR's Flatt and Buzbee on Waxman-Markey Bill in Atlanta J-C and Houston Chronicle

by Matthew Freeman | May 05, 2009
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 CPR Member Scholars William W. Buzbee and Victor Flatt have an op-ed in this morning’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution offering a critique of the “discussion draft” of the Waxman-Markey climate-change bill. Several CPR Member Scholars have blogged extensively about the bill here on CPRBlog, and with this op-ed, and a similar piece published the week before last in the Houston Chronicle, Professors Buzbee and Flatt take that discussion to the opinion pages of ...

Tweaking the Climate Change Adaptation Proposal

by Alejandro Camacho | May 05, 2009
On Thursday, Rep. Raul Grijalva introduced HR 2192, a bill on adapting to the impacts of climate change. The law would establish a "Natural Resources Climate Change Adaptation Panel" that would create a plan for several federal agencies to anticipate and seek to mitigate the effects of a changed planet. The bill is very similar to the natural resource adaptation provisions (Title IV, Subtitle E, Subpart C) in the Waxman-Markey draft climate change legislation. Those provisions were a good start, ...

Obama Nominates Tenenbaum and Adler for CPSC Posts

by Matt Shudtz | May 05, 2009
At long last, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is getting the injection of new blood that it has needed for years. President Obama announced today that he will nominate a new Chairwoman and a new Commissioner for the agency. This is great news. CPSC has been operating with just two commissioners for several years. As originally designed, CPSC is supposed to have five commissioners and needs a quorum of three to undertake any meaningful regulatory action, such as create ...

Judicial Review and Cost-Benefit Analysis: Part II

by James Goodwin | May 04, 2009
Last week I discussed how the institution of judicial review has been used to amplify the deregulatory nature of cost-benefit analysis.  This week, I'll talk about some possible remedies. An unusual synergy exists between the institutions of cost-benefit analysis and judicial review.  Under most circumstances, the institution of judicial review is arguably neutral with regard to regulatory issues.  When judicial review is applied to a case involving a regulation that has been weakened by cost-benefit analysis, however, the once neutral institution ...

Judicial Review and Cost-Benefit Analysis

by James Goodwin | May 01, 2009
For the last few years now, CPR’s Member Scholars have made the case that cost-benefit analysis is, by itself, fundamentally deregulatory in nature.  Unfortunately, other institutions in our federal government tend to exacerbate the deregulatory nature of cost-benefit analysis.  Whether by design or dumb luck, cost-benefit analysis allows regulatory opponents to use those institutions—most notably judicial review—to further their deregulatory agendas. The Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) case is a good example.  In February, the Supreme Court decided not to ...

CPR's Steinzor Testfies on Regulatory Process

by Matthew Freeman | April 30, 2009
This morning, the Center for Progressive Reform's Rena Steinzor testifies before the House Science and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight.  In her remarks, she calls on the White House to reshape the role of the director of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs -- the so-called regulatory czar.  All too frequently OIRA has been the place where protective regulations go to get weakened or killed, and Steinzor argues forcefully that there's a better role for the OIRA ...

In Debate on Waxman-Markey, a Question on Avoiding Liability for Violating the Law

by David Driesen | April 29, 2009
A coalition of conservative and moderate Democrats has recommended deleting section 336 of the Waxman-Markey climate change bill because of “concern among industry about potential new liability for any emitter” under that provision (see the proposed amendments). Some polluters' objective, apparently, is to avoid liability for violating the law, and they recommend this deletion as a step toward accomplishing that goal. But section 336 does not create any liability, new or old. Section 723 of the Waxman-Markey bill does that, ...

The First 100 Days: At Interior, Several Positive Developments, but the Jury is Still Out

by Dan Tarlock | April 29, 2009
This post is written by CPR Member Scholars Dan Tarlock and Holly Doremus How has the Department of Interior fared during the first 100 days? If history is any guide, the issue may be more important than many people assume. With one major and one minor exception, Secretaries of the Interior stay put in Democratic administrations. Franklin Lane served from 1913 until the last year of the Wilson Administration. Harold Ickes was FDR's only Secretary and he served until his ...

The First 100 Days: On the Environment, a President to be Proud of; An Agenda Just Beyond Reach

by Rena Steinzor | April 28, 2009
Inside the Washington Beltway, we are awash in stories about President Obama’s first 100 days. Some are comparative—how is Obama doing in relationship to Franklin Roosevelt at the same point in his first term? Some are pure spin—“[we’re competent and we love each other!]" opines Rahm Emanuel, the obviously biased Obama chief of staff. And some are substantive—has he kept his campaign promises and, if not, how many more miles does he have to go before he sleeps? On the ...

The First 100 Days: A Positive Beginning on the Freedom of Information Act

by Bill Funk | April 28, 2009
There are few areas where the difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is more stark than that of the Freedom of Information Act. The FOIA, of course, requires agencies to provide copies of their records to any person upon request unless the record fits within one of nine specific exemptions. Among the most important of these are the exemption for classified information, inter-agency or intra-agency communications containing advice or recommendations, information compiled for law enforcement purposes, and private commercial ...

Proposed Amendments to Waxman-Markey Could Diminish Integrity of Offset Provisions

by Victor Flatt | April 27, 2009
Two weeks ago, Representatives Waxman and Markey put forth a 648-page legislative draft for dealing with climate change. That draft had proposals for the use of offsets, some good and some not so good (see my earlier post). Moderate and conservative Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee have now put forward suggested changes (as reported by ClimateWire) that they say are necessary to make the proposed bill less onerous. In general, these provisions would more or less weaken the ...

Obama Speaks at NAS Annual Meeting - and White House Solicits Public Comment on Scientific Integrity

by Matt Shudtz | April 27, 2009
President Obama addressed the National Academy of Sciences this morning at the group's annual meeting. Not since John F. Kennedy addressed NAS in 1963 has a president found the time to directly engage with the people whose ingenuity and hard work is directly responsible for many of the greatest improvements in our daily lives. And he did it within his first 100 days. He told a packed house that “the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are ...

I'll Have a Water... With a Splash of Warfarin

by Yee Huang | April 24, 2009
Never mind the unusual wave of intersex fish or the mutant frogs appearing in a waterway near you. Earlier this week the Associated Press published the results of an investigation of pharmaceuticals in the nation’s waters.  The reporters found that U.S. drug companies have legally released at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals into waterways, including compounds such as: lithium, used to treat bipolar disorder; warfarin, a blood thinner also used as a rodenticide and pesticide; and tetracycline hydrochloride, an ...

A Day at the Waxman-Markey Hearings

by Frank Ackerman | April 23, 2009
It must be worthwhile; at least, I keep doing it. Wednesday was the third time in the last eight months that I’ve testified before a House committee about the costs of inaction on climate change, a topic I study at the Stockholm Environment Institute-US Center, a research institute affiliated with Tufts University in Boston. The Energy and Commerce Committee launched a week of hearings on the Waxman-Markey bill, the “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009”; by one account, ...

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