December 02, 2008
CGD Contribution to Development Index - Environment
Go check out the Center for Global Development's 2007 Commitment to Development Index page. Its got some great graphics that you have to see to appreciate. Unsurprisingly, EU countries lead the way on the Center for Global Development's index of commitment to environmentally sustainable development and the US trails the pack, scoring under 3 on a 10 point scale, while EU countries tend to score 6 or above with Norway near 9. Center for Global Development Commitment to Development Index
December 2, 2008 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack
November 18, 2008
Bush Administration Land Mines the Interior Department, EPA, and Other Environmental Agencies
The Washington Post reports that the Solicitor of the Interior Department has shifted half a dozen key political appointees – including Robert Comer known for his opposition to the roadless rule and a questionable grazing agreement as well as Matthew McKeown, a mining industry darling – into senior civil service posts. These transfers, called "burrowing," allows political appointees to stay in the government and create obstacles to changing policy direction. Perhaps the practice should be called "land-mining," given its potential for derailing the peaceful transfer of power:
Between March 1 and Nov. 3, according to the federal Office of Personnel Management, the Bush administration allowed 20 political appointees to become career civil servants. Six political appointees to the Senior Executive Service, the government's most prestigious and highly paid employees, have received approval to take career jobs at the same level. Fourteen other political, or "Schedule C," appointees have also been approved to take career jobs. One candidate was turned down by OPM and two were withdrawn by the submitting agency. The personnel moves come as Bush administration officials are scrambling to cement in place policy and regulatory initiatives that touch on issues such as federal drinking-water standards, air quality at national parks, mountaintop mining and fisheries limits.
As the Washington Post goes on to report, the practice is not an invention of the Bush administration. However, there has seldom been so striking a change in public sentiment between the 2004 Bush re-election and the precipitous decline in public regard for Bush as manifest in the Obama "tsunami" -- and thus so much reason to jettison the flotsom and jetsom of the Bush years.
The practice of placing political appointees into permanent civil service posts before an administration ends is not new. In its last 12 months, the
administration approved 47 such moves, including seven at the senior executive level. Federal employees with civil service status receive job protections that make it very difficult for managers to remove them...In a report dated Oct. 13, 2004, Interior's inspector general singled out Comer in criticizing a grazing agreement that the Bureau of Land Management had struck with a Wyoming rancher, saying Comer used "pressure and intimidation" to produce the settlement and pushed it through "with total disregard for the concerns raised by career field personnel." McKeown -- who as
's deputy attorney general had sued to overturn a
administration rule barring road-building in certain national forests -- has been criticized by environmentalists for promoting the cause of private property owners over the public interest on issues such as grazing and logging....One career Interior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to jeopardize his position, said McKeown will "have a huge impact on a broad swath of the West" in his new position, advising the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service on "all the programs they implement." Comer, the official added, will help shape mining policy in his new assignment. "It is an attempt by the outgoing administration to limit as much as possible [the incoming administration's] ability to put its policy imprint on the Department of Interior," the official said...But environmental advocates, and some rank-and-file Interior officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of hurting their careers, said the reassignments represent the Bush administration's effort to leave a lasting imprint on environmental policy...."What's clear is they could have done this during the eight years they were in office. Why are they doing it now?" said Robert Irvin, senior vice president for conservation programs at Defenders of Wildlife, an advocacy group. "It's pretty obvious they're trying to leave in place some of their loyal foot soldiers in their efforts to reduce environmental protection."
November 18, 2008 in Agriculture, Air Quality, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, Law, Mining, North America, Sustainability, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack
November 04, 2008
Here are some predictions/picks on the Cabinet positions of most significance to environmental matters according to Politico's semi-official leaks. My picks and comments are in green.
Attorney general: Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine; Eric Holder, who was deputy AG under Clinton
and is now with Covington & Burling and led Obama’s vice presidential
search; Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. Odds on favorite is Holder
Supreme Court nominee: Washington superlawyer Robert Barnett; legal scholar Cass Sunstein; Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor of New York; Elena Kagan, dean of Harvard Law School. Consensus is it would most likely be a woman. First nominee has got to be a woman - Kagan is smart and has credibility, but this is a much shorter list than Obama will look at.
Secretary of State: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.); Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind) State is too important to give to a Republican, Kerry's too valuable in the Senate, and Richardson was UN Ambassador so he knows international diplomacy
Environmental Protection Agency administrator: Former Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.); Kathleen
McGinty, former head of the Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Agency Again, McGinty is an odds on favorite who knows her stuff
Commerce secretary: Penny Pritzker, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) Need some Republicans and Olympia Snowe is a liberal one; although she's more valuable in the Senate. So maybe one of the non-environmental positions will go to a Republican and Obama will stick with a Democrat. I'd take Sebelius -- she's articulate and mid-Western.
Secretary of the Interior: Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Robert F. Kennedy Jr. This is the position most likely to go to someone who hasn't been in the running.
Secretary of Energy: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.); My pick would be Lincoln Chafee, a liberal Republican who understands environmental issues as well as energy issues. Again, Bingaman's too valuable in the Senate.
Secretary of Agriculture: Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) Vilsack is odds on favorite.
November 4, 2008 in Agriculture, Air Quality, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Mining, North America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack
November 03, 2008
Linking the Global Financial Crisis and the Environment: Respite for Resources or Increased Pressure?
Admittedly, it is guesswork, but last week in Geneva, I raised the global financial crisis as a challenge and an opportunity for those of us committed to bringing clean drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene education to everyone. It is a challenge, of course, to find funding in such times. But it is an opportunity because finally the mesmerizing power of the myths about unfettered free enterprise has been broken.
Although I was not in Barcelona for the IUCN World Congress, apparently everyone there was considering the same question. Here is one of the reports that came out of Barcelona:
Global Financial Crisis a Bad Sign for Andean Biodiversity
by Julio Godoy* - Tierramérica
BARCELONA, Oct 16 (IPS) - The crisis affecting the financial sector and stock markets around the world could fuel the expansion of extractive industries in South America's Andean region, warn experts.
Investors from the industrialised world may feel pressure to seek alternative means for financial liquidity, forced by divestment from stocks in recent weeks, Stewart Maginnis, director of forest conservation for the World Conservation Union (IUCN), told Tierramérica.
Debate on the environmental repercussions of the financial crisis overtook much of the World Conservation Congress held by the IUCN Oct. 5-14 in Barcelona, Spain, which drew some 8,000 experts.
But the uncertainty is such that others predict reduced pressure on natural
resources as a result of the economic crisis.
Maginnis pointed to the current high prices of fuels, noting that investment in the expansion of mining and oil company activities now is attractive -- and constitutes a threat to protection efforts in areas like the Amazon jungle region in Bolivia, Columbia,
The phenomenon could be intensified by the existing policies of the Andean Community trade bloc, made up of Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, that favour extractive industries and clash with the interests and development ideas of local indigenous communities. That contradiction was evident in Barcelona
"Our idea of development does not coincide with that of the white man. For us, the most sacred thing is to protect Mother Earth. For the corporations and the governments, drilling holes in her is part of development," Gerardo Macuna, an indigenous representative from Columbia, told Tierramerica.
In contrast, Francisco Dallmeier, a biologist with the Centre for Conservation
Education and Sustainability at the U.S.-based Smithsonian Institution, said
that some oil production areas in South America
The Bolivia-Brazil natural gas pipeline, inaugurated in 1999 by the Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, "is one of those examples of excellent environmental management" of an oil industry project, according to Dallmeier.
A more nuanced view was taken by César Ipenza, a researcher with the Peruvian Association for the Conservation of Nature, who said, "We need to develop tools for research and evaluation that allow us to reconcile exploitation of hydrocarbon resources as a factor of development with the effective preservation of biodiversity in the protected areas of the Andean Community."
The Andean region is rich in petroleum and natural gas deposits. According to the latest official data from the Andean Community, from 2004, production of oil and derivatives in Columbia
This enormous source of wealth is difficult to bring into line with environmental conservation and the standards for protected areas. It also challenges the effectiveness of international agreements ratified by the Andean Community nations, such as Convention 169 of the International Labour Organisation, which protects the rights of indigenous peoples.
Governments and indigenous communities interpret the Convention text in different ways.
Article 6 of the Convention states that "governments must consult the peoples concerned, through appropriate procedures and in particular through their representative institutions, whenever consideration is being given to legislative or administrative measures which may affect them directly..."
According to the Andean Community governments, "this article only requires them to consult indigenous communities, but they interpret it to mean that they are free to decide on the policies for the extractive industries," María Amparo Albán, Ecuadorian attorney and environmental consultant, told Tierramérica.
The governments of the Andean bloc are not generally concerned about preventing extractive industries from operating in protected areas -- and which are often also the lands of indigenous peoples -- "merely for reasons of biodiversity conservation," she said.
The indigenous communities, meanwhile, interpret the ILO Convention "as giving them the power to make decisions on extractive policies that take place in their territories," said Albán.
This interpretation is based on Article 7: "The peoples concerned shall have the right to decide their own priorities for the process of development as it affects their lives, beliefs, institutions and spiritual well-being and the lands they occupy or otherwise use, and to exercise control, to the extent possible, over their own economic, social and cultural development."
According to Oscar Castillo, a Bolivian expert on the oil and natural gas industry at the Wildlife Conservation Society, "the challenge for the Andean region is to conduct a comprehensive analysis, one that is supra-national, about the environmental impacts of the extractive industries, in order to draft policies for the entire region."
But Albán believes a region-wide policy is currently impossible for the bloc. "The internal conflicts of the Andean Community, derived from ideological differences separating Columbia and Peru
There are more than 180 oil and natural gas fields across the western Amazon, which comprises the five Andean countries, and 72 percent of the jungle territory
In times of uncertainty, many more interests could go in search of those treasures, says Maginnis.
"This expansion occurs to the detriment of our peoples and of Mother Earth," warned José Antúnez, a leader of the Asháninka people of Peru
(*Julio Godoy is an IPS correspondent. This story was originally published by Latin American newspapers that are part of the Tierramérica network. Tierramérica is a specialised news service produced by IPS with the backing of the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme and the World Bank.) (FIN/2008)
October 15, 2008
Strategic Trade - An Opening for Sustainability
Yesterday the Guardian published an opinion piece by Kevin Gallagher (Washington Consensus Dead?) on Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman's work on strategic trade policy, pointing out that his Nobel Prize is the nail in the coffin of the free trade "Washington consensus." Krugman explains why it is rational for governments to engage in strategic use of tariffs and subsidies in order to create a niche industry. The same sort of strategic trade policy makes it rational for governments to engage in strategic use of tariffs and subsidies to support ecological sustainability and social well-being. Perhaps the pendulum will swing against the free traders enough so that we can protect the global environment through trade and other economic sanctions against nations unwilling to act in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
Last Friday the New York Times quoted the World Bank as saying "There's no question the Washington consensus is dead," indeed it "died at the time of the $700bn bail-out." If the bail-out is death, then awarding Paul Krugman the Nobel prize for economics is the nail in the coffin.
Paul Krugman did not win the Nobel for his popular critiques of Bush-era economic policy in his New York Times column, though the column no doubt helped raise his profile outside the economics profession. The Nobel committee cited Krugman's theoretical contributions to the economics of international trade, the policy implications of which fly in the face of the Washington consensus ( where the mantra is to free up trade every chance you get).
Among Krugman's achievements in the field of international trade is "strategic trade policy". In this work Krugman (and others) showed that tariffs and subsidies to domestic industries can divert profits away from highly concentrated foreign firms and increase a nation's income. Though Krugman himself shies away from prescribing such policy, the textbook example of strategic trade theory is the choice by the Brazilian government to subsidise and develop the aircraft company Embraer. The free-trade theories espoused by the Washington consensus would warn Brazil of the high cost of subsidisation. To free traders, Brazil should focus on its advantage in agricultural products and forget about climbing the manufacturing ladder. Strategic trade theory helps explain why Brazil was willing to gamble in the short term to become one of the finest aircraft manufactures over the long term. They squeezed foreign firms out of the market and carved out a global niche for themselves.
In another classic book, Development, Geography, and Economic Theory, Krugman argued that the government should also play a role in connecting beneficiaries of strategic trade policy to the overall economy. Evoking the work of economists such as Albert O Hirschman and Paul Rosenstein Rodan, Krugman argued that developing countries often needed a "big push" of coordinated government investments to help strategic industries get off the ground and to link the growth of such industry to the economy as a whole.
Problem is, today's trading system is out of whack with these frontier issues in economic thought. In a study published by Boston University's Pardee Centre for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, trade lawyer Rachel Denae Thrasher and I examined the extent to which the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements, European Union trade agreements, and United States trade agreements bit into a nation's ability to deploy strategic trade and other industrial policies to benefit from the globalisation process.
We find that in general the world's trading system makes it much more difficult for nations to craft strategic trade and industrial policies for growth and development. Indeed, enshrined in virtually all trade agreements is the "national treatment" idea that says a nation may not treat its domestic industries any differently than foreign ones. That may make sense when rich nations compete against each other, but in a world where 57.6% of the population lives on less than $2.50 per day, one size can't fit all. This restriction is accentuated in provisions for foreign investment, intellectual property, and subsidies.
Interestingly however, we find that there is more "policy space" for innovative growth strategies under the WTO than under most regional trade agreements – especially those pushed by the US. In fact, we find that US-style trade agreements are the most severe in constraining the ability of developing countries to deploy such policy. EU agreements, interestingly, tend to have the same policy space as the WTO.
It doesn't make sense that the World Bank and (implicitly) the Nobel committee are declaring the death of the Washington consensus when the US is choking the ability of nations to use policies that are gaining increasing legitimacy in theory and practice. Change is in the air. As we know in the aftermath of the financial crisis, the US has justified – like never before – a strong role for government in economic affairs. And, of the two presidential candidates, Obama has expressed concern over the direction of US trade policy and has pledged to rethink it. Perhaps these events will make strategic trade and industrial policy rise again.
October 15, 2008 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Mining, North America, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack
June 28, 2008
SCOTUS grants cert -- June 27, 2008
Coeur Alaska Inc. v. Southeast Alaska Conservation, No. 07-984, consolidated with Alaska v. Southeast Alaska Conservation, No. 07-990. Are process wastewater discharges from mining operations governed by the drege-and-fill permit scheme operated by the Army Corps of Engineers under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act or are they covered by effluent limitations under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, which are within the Environmental Protection Agency's jurisdiction?
March 26, 2008
Proposed Revision of Forest Service Mining Regulations
Yesterday, the U.S. Forest Service proposed revision of the bonding and environmental requirements for hard-rock mines operating within national forests or grasslands. Those regulations can be found at 73 FR 25694-01. The summary and proposed provisions are provided below. Comments are due May 27, 2008.
They purport to be based on the 1999 NRC recommendations. It sure took them awhile -- the entirety of the Bush administration!
SUMMARY: This proposed rule would revise the regulations for locatable minerals operations conducted on National Forest System lands. The revised rule would apply to prospecting, exploration, development, mining and processing operations, and reclamation under the Mining Law of May 10, 1872, as amended. The Forest Service invites written comments on this proposed rule.
DATES: Comments must be received by May 27, 2008. Pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act, comments on the information collection burden that would result from this proposal must be received by May 27, 2008.
ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Forest Service, USDA, Attn: Director, Minerals and Geology Management (MGM) Staff, (2810), Mail Stop 1126, Washington, DC 20250-1125; by electronic mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; by fax to (703) 605-1575; or by the electronic process available at Federal eRulemaking portal at http:// www.regulations.gov. If comments are sent by electronic mail or by fax, the public is requested not to send duplicate written comments via regular mail. Please confine written comments to issues pertinent to the proposed rule; explain the reasons for any recommended changes; and, where possible, reference the specific wording being addressed. All comments, including names and addresses when provided, will be placed in the record and will be available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received on the proposed rule in the Office of the Director, MGM Staff, 5th Floor, Rosslyn Plaza Central, 1601 North Kent Street, Arlington, Virginia, on business days between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Those wishing to inspect comments are encouraged to call ahead at (703) 605- 4646 to facilitate entry into the building.
Comments concerning the information collection requirements contained in this action should reference OMB No. 0596-New, the docket number, date, and page number of this issue of the Federal Register. Comments should be sent to the address listed in the above paragraph.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Doran, Minerals and Geology Management Staff, (208) 373-4132. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877- 8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday.
Background and Need for Proposed Rule
Locatable mineral operations on National Forest System (NFS) lands have been regulated under the rules now at 36 CFR part 228, subpart A, since 1974. Under these rules, the Forest Service requires operators proposing to conduct such operations to file with the agency a notice of intent, or a plan of operation, or to amend a plan of operation, as appropriate, whenever the *15695 proposed mineral operations might or would likely cause significant disturbance of surface resources.
The regulations at 36 CFR part 228, subpart A, apply to all prospecting, exploration, and mining operations, whether within or outside the boundaries of a mining claim, conducted under the Mining Law of May 10, 1872, as amended. These regulations were originally promulgated in 1974 as 36 CFR part 252, and were based on the Forest Service's authority under the Organic Administration Act of 1897. The rules were redesignated as 36 CFR part 228, subpart A, in 1981. In 2005, a final rule clarifying when a plan of operations is required (§ 228.4(a)) also was adopted. However, the regulations have not been significantly revised since 1974.
The Forest Service recognizes that prospectors and miners have a statutory right, not a mere privilege, under the Mining Law of May 10, 1872, the Surface Resources Act of 1955, 30 U.S.C. 611-615 (sometimes referred to as the Multiple Use Mining Act of 1955 or as Public Law 167), and the Organic Administration Act of 1897, to go upon certain National Forest System lands for the purposes of locatable mineral exploration, development, and production. The Forest Service may not unreasonably restrict the exercise of that right. Under the revised regulation, Forest Service administrators would at all times apply the test of reasonableness, in that the regulations and their administration cannot extend beyond what is needed to preserve and protect the National Forests from needless surface resource damage. Particular consideration would be given to the economics of operations, the stage of the operations, along with other factors in applying the test of reasonableness.
The regulations at 36 CFR part 228, subpart A, have served the Forest Service fairly well in bonding and otherwise administering exploration, mining, and processing operations on National Forest System lands. However, since 1974, several inefficiencies and problems associated with these regulations have become apparent and field managers are asking that the regulations be revised and updated.
This proposed rule would implement recommendations contained in the 1999 National Research Council (NRC) publication "Hard Rock Mining on Federal Lands." This publication resulted when Congress asked the NRC to assess the adequacy of the regulatory framework for locatable mineral operations on Federal lands. In September 1999, the NRC published its conclusions and recommendations. Although the report concluded that the overall regulatory structure for locatable mineral operations on Federal lands is effective, the report recommended revision of several aspects of the Forest Service's regulations. Some of the concerns identified by the NRC are the same concerns the Forest Service has about the existing regulations, specifically, revising the regulations to improve the process for modifying and suspending injurious operations and adjusting reclamation bonds. The report also recommended major changes in the way the Forest Service approves exploratory operations causing less than 5 acres of surface resource disturbance. In response to this recommendation, the Forest Service proposes to adopt regulations similar to the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) regulations governing notice level operations set forth in 43 CFR subpart 3809.
The Forest Service contacted representatives of the mining industry about its effort to revise 36 CFR part 228, subpart A. The Forest Service briefed those representatives as to what the agency then saw as its six main concerns with its current locatable mineral operations. These were:
(a) New provisions that essentially formalize the current process for, reviewing and approving proposed plans of operations;
(b) Streamlining the process for approving short-term, low impact operations;
(c) New provisions that improve the process and criteria for modification of an approved plan of operations;
(d) Providing additional detail with respect to the process the Forest Service uses to inspect operations and to remedy the operator's or the operations' noncompliance with applicable requirements;
(e) A new provision that explains the Forest Service's and the operator's responsibilities under the Clean Water Act in connection with the review and approval of proposed plans of operations; and
(f) Providing additional detail with respect to the process the Forest Service uses to review and adjust reclamation bonds to ensure that those bonds cover the full cost of reclaiming National Forest System lands.
Description of Substantive Proposed Changes by Section
PART 223--SALE AND DISPOSAL OF NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM TIMBER
Section 223.14 Where Timber May Be Cut
Section 223.14(d) would be amended to add a citation to 36 CFR part 228, subpart A, to permit certain cutting of timber on a mining claim pursuant to a bonded notice as well as a plan of operations, and to otherwise reflect 36 CFR part 228, subpart A, as it would be revised by this proposed rule.
Subpart A--Locatable Minerals
Section 228.3 Definitions
Eleven new terms would be added to the definitions section. Definitions of the terms "occupancy," "permanent structure", and "residence" would be set forth in § 228.3 to provide consistent interpretations for the public and for Forest Service personnel. These definitions would help reduce confusion about the propriety of proposed occupancy and residence on National Forest System lands in connection with locatable mineral operations, part of which has resulted from imprecise language in some Federal court decisions concerning such occupancy and residence. The three new definitions also would make the Forest Service regulations more consistent with the BLM Occupancy and Use regulations for Locatable minerals, 43 CFR subpart 3715. In addition, these definitions would be consistent with amendments to 36 CFR part 261, subpart A, proposed by this proposed rule.
The term "reasonably incident" would be defined to clarify that, by law, mineral operators are restricted to using only reasonable methods of surface disturbance that are appropriate to their stage of operations regardless of the validity of any mining claim on which the operations take place. This clarification is warranted by case law (such as United States v. Richardson, 599 F. 2d 290 (1979); cert. denied, 444 U.S. 1014 (1980)) and the Surface Resources Act of 1955 (30 U.S.C. 612). Reasonable and necessary uses of the National Forest System lands must employ sound and accepted practices to avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts. These uses also must employ sound, accepted operational methods appropriate for the applicable stage of mining operations, including prospecting, exploration, production (mining and processing), or *15696 reclamation. The Forest Service General Technical Report INT-35, Anatomy of a Mine, from Prospect to Production (section 10-7), describes and gives examples of the reasonable stages of a mining operation.
The proposed term "reclamation" would be redefined to include seasonal and interim measures and long-term treatment after mineral operations have ceased.
The term "reclamation bond" would be included to clarify that interest earning escrow accounts may be used to cover the costs of long-term reclamation measures.
The term "significant disturbance of surface resources" would be defined at § 228.3(n) of the proposed rule to provide general criteria for evaluating the significance of the disturbance of surface resources. However, as discussed in a portion of the June 6, 2005, Federal Register notice for the final rule amending 36 CFR 228.4(a) (70 FR 32713) quoted below, it is impossible to define this term definitively given the variability of National Forest System lands.
"Questions and Answers developed by the Forest Service when the 1974 rule was originally adopted explained that a definition cannot be given that would apply to all lands subject to these regulations. Disturbance by a particular type of operation on flat ground covered by sagebrush, for example, might not be considered significant. But that same sort of operation in a high alpine meadow or near a stream could cause highly significant surface resource disturbance. The determination of what is significant thus depends on a case-by-case evaluation of proposed operations and the kinds of lands and other surface resources involved. In general, operations using mechanized earthmoving equipment would be expected to cause significant disturbance. Pick and shovel operations normally would not. Nor would explosives used underground, unless caving to the surface could be expected. Use of explosives on the surface would generally be considered to cause significant disturbance. Almost without exception, road and trail construction and tree clearing operations would cause significant surface disturbance. The Department continues to believe that a universal definition of the term 'significant disturbance' cannot be established for NFS lands. The lands within the NFS subject to the United States mining laws stretch from Alaska on the north, the Mississippi River on the east, the border with Mexico on the south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west. NFS lands within that large area occur in widely diverse climates, hydrogeologic conditions, landforms, and vegetative types. Due to the great variability of NFS ecosystems, identical operations could cause significant disturbance in one situation and insignificant disturbance in another.
However, the record for the 1974 rulemaking at 36 CFR part 228, subpart A, does identify tests that are of use in deciding whether proposed disturbance of NFS resources constitutes 'significant disturbance' for purposes of that rule. A March 28, 1974, letter from Forest Service Chief John McGuire to Senator Ted Stevens in response to Senator Stevens' comments on the rule proposed in 1973 explains that 'significant disturbance' refers to operations 'for which reclamation upon completion of [that operation] could reasonably be required,' and to operations that could cause impacts on NFS resources that reasonably can be prevented or mitigated."
Nonetheless, locatable mineral operations that fall within the criteria set forth in proposed § 228.3(n) would be judged as likely to cause a significant disturbance of surface resources absent unusual circumstances. It also should be understood that an operation not meeting these criteria might nonetheless be likely to cause "significant disturbance of surface resources" given the nature of the lands and surface resources that would be affected by proposed operations. Thus, even when proposed operations would not be judged as likely to cause significant disturbance of surface resources under the general criteria set forth in § 228.3(n), individualized evaluation of proposed operations might reveal that those operations indeed would be likely to cause "significant disturbance of surface resources."
The Federal Register notice for the final rule amending 36 CFR § 228.4(a) further notes that the March 28, 1974, letter from Forest Service Chief John McGuire "also emphatically makes the point that the Forest Service's locatable mineral regulations do not use the term 'significant' in the same manner as that term is used in the National Environmental Policy Act." It continues to be necessary to distinguish between "significant" disturbance of National Forest System surface resources and "significant" effects on the quality of the human environment. The Forest Service does not interpret a determination that locatable mineral operations are likely to cause significant disturbance of surface resources as an automatic invocation of Section 102(2) (C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, thus requiring preparation of an environmental impact statement (or an environmental assessment). This was never intended when what is now 36 CFR part 228, subpart A, was originally promulgated nor is it intended now.
As the Federal Register notice for the final rule amending 36 CFR 228.4(a) additionally observed, "Judicial decisions rendered in the 30 years since the rule at 36 CFR part 228, subpart A was promulgated also give context to the meaning of the term 'significant disturbance [of surface resources].' For example, it is well established that the construction or maintenance of structures, such as cabins, mill buildings, showers, tool sheds, and outhouses on NFS lands, constitutes a significant disturbance of NFS resources. United States v. Brunskill, 792 F.2d 938, 941 (9th Cir. 1986); United States v. Burnett, 750 F. Supp. 1029, 1035 (D. Idaho 1990)." These decisions demonstrate the erroneousness of equating a "significant" disturbance of National Forest System surface resources and a "significant" effect on the quality of the human environment. It is extremely unlikely that the maintenance, or even the construction, of such structures standing alone would require preparation of either an environmental impact statement or an environmental assessment unless the National Forest System lands at issue possess some noteworthy status such as being part of a proclaimed wilderness or the designated habitat for a threatened or an endangered species.
Of course, some operations that would be likely to cause significant disturbance of National Forest System surface resources also would be likely to cause significant effects on the quality of the human environment. Thus, some few, by no means all, proposed operations would be expected to require preparation of environmental impact statements. More frequently, but not uniformly or even regularly, proposed operations that would be likely to cause significant disturbance of National Forest System surface resources would trigger preparation of an environmental assessment, which might or might not be the basis for a Finding of No Significant Impact. (Whenever an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement would be required, it would be prepared by the Forest Service.)
The Forest Service requests comments on the adequacy of the proposed definition of "significant disturbance of surface resources" and its discussion set forth above in drawing the distinction between significant disturbance of *15697 National Forest System surface resources and significant effects on the quality of the human environment.
The proposed term "surface use determination" describes a management tool currently used by the authorized officer to determine if a proposed or ongoing use is reasonably incident. The inquiry would consist of an examination and a report completed by a certified mineral examiner that would provide information, conclusions and recommendations to the authorized officer regarding whether a proposed or existing use is logically sequenced, reasonably incident, and otherwise consistent with existing laws and regulations.
This proposed rule defines the term "United States mining laws" as the Mining Law of May 10, 1872, as amended and supplemented. This definition reflects the fact that the 1872 Act has since been affected by many other laws. One such law, the Organic Administration Act of 1897, is specifically mentioned for two reasons. It reapplied the United States mining laws to National Forest System lands following their reservation from the public domain and it provides the Forest Service with authority to promulgate these regulations. Another cited law, the Surface Resources Act of 1955, is specifically mentioned because it confirms requirements implicit in the 1872 Act itself. One such requirement is that operators must use reasonable methods of surface disturbance that are appropriate given the warranted stage of locatable mineral operations.
Section 228.4 Submission of Notices of Intent To Operate, Bonded Notices, and Plans of Operation
This section would be sequentially reorganized to first address operations that would cause little or no disturbance of surface resources, then operations that might cause significant disturbance of surface resources, and finally operations that are likely to cause significant disturbance of surface resources.
An operator would not be required to contact the Forest Service before beginning operations that would cause little or no disturbance of surface resources.
An operator would be required to submit a notice of intent to operate before beginning operations that might cause significant disturbance of surface resources. Among the operations that would require a notice of intent to operate are those that would involve occupancy of National Forest System lands lasting longer than the local forest stay limit and those involving motorized use of closed roads. Submission of a notice of intent for occupancy exceeding the local forest stay limit would be required because such occupancy along with the related mining operations might cause significant disturbance of surface resources. Submission of a notice of intent for motorized use of closed roads similarly would be required because such use along with the related mining operations might cause significant disturbance of surface resources. The notice of intent to operate also would provide an efficient means of evaluating, and when reasonably necessary, regulating occupancy that would exceed local forest stay limits and motorized use of closed roads.
An operator would be required to have either a complete bonded notice then in effect or an approved plan of operations then in effect before beginning operations likely to cause significant disturbance of surface resources. The criteria for deciding which of these instruments the operator would be required to have would be based upon the duration and the extent of the likely significant disturbance of surface resources. The subset of proposed operations likely to cause significant disturbance of surface resources which the rule addresses by means of a complete bonded notice, rather than an approved plan of operations, are those that would neither so disturb more than 5 acres at any point in time nor last more than 2 years. This proposed rule requires an operator to have an approved plan of operations before beginning other operations likely to cause significant disturbance of surface resources which do not satisfy both of these criteria.
The new bonded notice category of operations that this proposed rule creates is similar to the BLM's "notice" category of operations. However, the bonded notice category of operations would differ in one respect from the BLM's notice category of operations. The BLM restricts use of a notice to exploratory operations. The Forest Service proposes to allow use of a bonded notice for all short-term, low impact operations. As the rule is proposed, it is conceivable that some small mining operations would actually progress to the removal of the valuable locatable mineral deposit and the completion of reclamation under the terms of one or more bonded notices.
Section 228.5 Bonded Notice--Completeness Review
The proposed rule would provide that upon receipt of a bonded notice, the authorized officer, who usually would be the District Ranger, would perform a completeness review to determine whether the proposed operations satisfy the environmental protection requirements in § 228.9, assuming that the proposed operations do not require an approved plan of operations, and respond to the operator within 15 days.
The proposed rule generally provides that when a proposed bonded notice is found to be complete and to meet the requirements of § 228.9, the District Ranger would inform the operator that the notice would take effect upon receipt of an adequate reclamation bond. However, § 228.5(a)(5) of the proposed rule would provide that in cases where an operator has established a pattern of noncompliance with requirements applicable to past or ongoing operations, the operator may be required to have an approved plan of operations rather than a complete bonded notice. A process, which would require the authorized officer to seek the operator's input, would be established by the proposed rule to decide whether it would be appropriate to require the operator to obtain an approved plan of operations. The Forest Service specifically requests comment on the inclusion and formulation of § 228.5(a)(5) in the final rulemaking.
Under the proposed rule, once a bonded notice takes effect, the operator would be able to begin the proposed operations.
The proposed rule provides that when the authorized officer determines that operations being conducted in accordance with a complete bonded notice are resulting in significant disturbance of surface resources not fully described by that notice, the operator would be required to obtain a new complete bonded notice or an approved plan of operations, whichever would be appropriate.
Adopting the new bonded notice category of operations would meet recommendations contained in the NRC's 1999 report "Hard Rock Mining on Federal Lands." One of these recommendations is that: "Forest Service regulations should allow exploration disturbing less than 5 acres to be approved or denied expeditiously, similar to notice-level exploration activities on BLM lands." (pg. 97). Another of these recommendations is that: "The BLM and the Forest Service should plan for and implement a more timely permitting process, while still protecting the environment." (pg. 122).
Currently, an approved plan of operations is required for operations that would be subject to a bonded notice under the proposed rule. The existing approval process for a plan of *15698 operations often takes several months to two years. Adopting the bonded notice category of operations would shorten the Forest Service's review of identical low impact, short-term operations freeing up specialists needed to process more complex proposed plans of operations and to administer locatable mineral operations on the ground.
While the bonded notice category of operations would streamline the permitting process for less impactive short-term, operations, the proposed rule also ensures that any adverse impacts that operations conducted under a bonded notice might have on National Forest System lands would be minimized. All operations that would be conducted under a bonded notice would have to meet the environmental protection requirements set forth in § 228.9. All operations that would be conducted under a bonded notice also would have to be properly bonded.
Section 228.6 Plan of Operations--Approval
The procedures for the Forest Service's review of and response to a proposed plan of operations would be very similar to those that would be applicable to a proposed bonded notice.
Section 228.6(h) would include substantially different standards for requiring modification of a plan of operations than those set forth in the current rule. These changes are necessary because the provisions of the current rule governing modification of an approved plan of operations have been interpreted inconsistently. Questions have also been raised as to when incidental changes of operations authorized by the Forest Service rise to the level of requiring modification of the approved plan of operations. The current rule also contains limited and often ineffective criteria for requiring modification of an approved plan of operations. The NRC recognized the existence of such problems and recommended that: "The BLM and the Forest Service should revise their regulations to provide more effective criteria for modifications to plans of operation, where necessary, to protect the federal lands." (pg. 99). The proposed rule would address the NRC's recommendation by correcting these shortcomings.
Currently, 36 CFR part 228, subpart A, contains criteria for requiring modification of a plan of operations that look backward to focus on what should have been "foreseen" when the plan of operations was approved. In this proposed rule, the criteria for requiring modification of a plan of operations allows for a correction of problems manifested after the approval of the plan of operations and would keep approved operations abreast of changed circumstances. These criteria would draw upon those adopted by the Forest Service almost a decade ago in regulations governing locatable mineral operations within the Smith River National Recreation Area, 36 CFR part 292, subpart G. Under the proposed rule, modification of an approved plan of operations might be required to reflect advances in predictive capability, technical capacity, and mining technology. Modification of an approved plan of operations also might be required to address uses of National Forest System land that are no longer, or have become, reasonably incident.
The proposed rule also would reflect the Forest Service's conclusion that it is not reasonable for an operator to continue to conduct any aspect of locatable mineral operations that is causing irreparable or unnecessary injury, loss or damage to National Forest System surface resources even if that aspect of the operations was previously approved by the authorized officer. Thus, the proposed rule would allow the authorized officer to require an operator to suspend any aspect of operations that is causing such injury, loss or damage while the process of modifying the approved plan of operations is ongoing.
Section 228.6(i) would note the Clean Water Act (CWA) obligations that an operator or the Forest Service itself must meet in connection with the approval of a plan of operations. In 2006, a Federal District Court held that the Forest Service cannot approve a proposed plan of operations that may result in a discharge to navigable waters until the operator has obtained a proper 401 CWA certification and presented it to the authorized officer unless the certification requirement has been properly waived. The proposed rule would alert operators and authorized officers to the applicability of this requirement. (The Forest Service Manual has also been amended to include direction for complying with the CWA (FSM 2817.23a)).
Section 228.8 Inspecting Operations and Remedying Noncompliance
The Forest Service has experienced some difficulty in enforcing compliance with the current regulations. A consistent and clearly understood response to noncompliance is needed. The NRC report stated: "* * * the committee is persuaded that more consistent and accessible procedures for deciding when to refer apparent violations to other agencies and the ability to issue reasonable administrative penalties, subject to the appropriate due process, would improve the efficiency of agency operations and enhance the protection of then environment." (pgs.102-103).
This section would list enforcement steps the authorized officer can take if the operator fails to comply with a notice of noncompliance. This proposed rule notes, as is true today, that the authorized officer may initiate a civil action, issue a Violation Notice under 36 CFR part 261, or use the reclamation bond to take all necessary measures to protect the environment specified by the notice of noncompliance.
Section 228.9 Environmental Protection Requirements
This proposed rule would update and revise the environmental protection requirements applicable to locatable mineral operations. A new paragraph, § 228.9(e), would reference the requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This change would be made because some people have asserted that the ESA does not apply to locatable mineral operations given that the ESA is not mentioned in the currently applicable requirements for environmental protection.
Some operators also do not understand that the Forest Service may require bond coverage that includes the cost of removing any abandoned equipment or other property from National Forest System lands. Some have argued that since the current regulations do not specifically state that removal of equipment is part of reclamation, the operator cannot be required to post a bond for the removal of that equipment. As in the current rule, a separate section of this proposed rule (§ 228.11) would require removal of structures and equipment upon the cessation of operations. However, to prevent further confusion, a new paragraph, § 228.9(i), would be included in the proposed rule to make it clear that a required element of reclamation is the removal of structures and equipment from National Forest System lands. Section 228.13(c)(1), would govern reclamation bonding and also would specify that the cost of complying with proposed § 228.9(i) would be factored into a reclamation bond's required coverage.
This section also would be revised to make the environmental protection requirements applicable to bonded notices as well as plans of operations.
*15699 Section 228.10 Reasonably Incident Uses
This new section would allow an authorized officer to require an operator to cease uses of National Forest System lands that are not reasonably incident to locatable mineral prospecting, exploration, development, mining, processing, or reclamation. This proposed rule would establish a process for evaluating the reasonableness of operations or incidental uses, and to initiate a surface use determination.
Uses such as occupancy and in particular, residence, would be evaluated under this section to determine whether those uses are necessary based on the nature or stage of ongoing or proposed operations. These proposed requirements and requirements proposed elsewhere in this proposed rule are modeled upon the BLM's parallel rule (43 CFR subpart 3715) governing occupancy and reasonably incident uses and operations on the public lands.
Section 228.11 Cessation of Operations
This section would be revised to give the authorized officer a clearly stated process and criteria to use when responding to a proposed or actual cessation or temporary closure of operations. The Forest Service has noticed inappropriate characterizations of closures or cessations of operations as "temporary." These characterizations sometimes appear to be attempts to delay or avoid taking appropriate interim or final actions to clean up and otherwise close and reclaim completed or abandoned operations. These changes would address any such abuse.
Section 228.12 Access for Operations
This section would be revised to clarify that all access must be reasonable. A clarification also would be added stating that the Forest Service may elect to regulate access on National Forest System lands for associated work on lands patented under the United States mining laws pursuant to 36 CFR part 228, subpart A. The vehicle for regulating such access would be either a complete bonded notice or an approved plan of operations.
Section 228.13 Reclamation Bonds for Bonded Notices and Plans of Operation
The revisions in this section would clearly identify the different types of financial instruments that can be used as a reclamation bond. This proposed rule would retain the use of statewide or nationwide blanket bonds while including a new mechanism to insure the adequacy of any blanket bond.
The current regulations do not contain an appropriately detailed process for the administration of reclamation bonds, which results in inconsistent administration of such bonds. As it would be revised, this section would lay out a clear process and definitive standards for administering reclamation bonds. This would facilitate consistent administration of reclamation bonds by Forest Service authorized officers.
Questions have been raised as to whether the authorized officer has authority to require periodic reviews of reclamation bonds, and to require appropriate adjustments of reclamation bonds based upon those reviews. To forestall such questions in the future, the proposed rule would be expanded to set forth detailed language providing criteria and a process for the authorized officer's review of reclamation bonds. The proposed rule would permit review of a reclamation bond's adequacy whenever the authorized officer believes it is necessary. However, the proposed rule would require the authorized officer to seek input from the operator before requiring any adjustment of the bond.
The proposed rule would provide that value should not be attributed to any property that an operator places or creates on National Forest System lands for purposes of determining the cost to fully reclaim such lands in accordance with § 228.13(c). Any other approach would not be reasonable. The operator not only is entitled, but would be required, to remove such property in accordance with § 228.9(i) of the proposed rule. The value of any property impermissibly abandoned on the area of operations also could not be determined in advance. An operator might not own property placed or constructed on National Forest System lands. Even if the operator owned such property initially, ownership of it could pass to another person during the course of the operations voluntarily by sale or involuntarily by bankruptcy. When operations are lengthy, property that was initially valuable may be worth less than the cost to remove it when the operations cease or are concluded. Liability could also be associated with any such abandoned property that the United States would not accept.
This proposed rule would require mandatory bonding for all bonded notices as well as all newly approved plans of operation.
Under current practice, few, if any, operations requiring an approved plan of operations are authorized today without reclamation bond coverage given serious problems that have arisen with respect to previously approved operations for which a bond was not required. However, approved plans of operations are in effect for which a reclamation bond was not required. This proposed rule would require an operator to furnish a bond complying with the requirements of the proposed rule for all existing operations subject to an approved plan of operations, including those for which a reclamation bond initially was not required. Operators would be given 180 days after the effective date of the final rule to furnish such a bond. The BLM also required bonds for existing operations subject to an approved plan of operations to be brought into compliance with the bonding requirements of its revised 43 CFR subpart 3809 regulations within 180 days of that rule's effective date.
As it would be revised, this proposed rule would provide for use of escrow accounts to cover long-term monitoring, maintenance, or treatment measures to prevent or otherwise minimize on-site or off-site damage. The BLM has successfully used this kind of financial instrument to bond such obligations as long-term water treatment (see 43 CFR 3809.556).
This proposed rule also would be expanded to set forth specific criteria and a formal process that the authorized officer must use in deciding whether to permit the release of a reclamation bond or to require the replacement or forfeiture of a reclamation bond. The authorized officer also would be obligated to seek the operator's input before requiring the replacement or forfeiture of a reclamation bond.
Section 228.14 Operations on Withdrawn or Segregated National Forest System Lands Including National Forest Wilderness
The provisions in the current rule governing operations in National Forest Wilderness are reorganized for clarity. Another clarification is made concerning information gathering about any type of mineral as authorized by the Wilderness Act on lands which that Act has withdrawn from appropriation under the United States mining laws. Although the United States mining laws do not govern such information gathering, this proposed rule would make the procedures set forth in this subpart applicable to that work given the similar methods by which such information is gathered.
Proposed paragraphs (f) through (i) of this section would establish the requirements for conducting locatable mineral operations on all National Forest System lands segregated or withdrawn from the operation of the *15700 United States mining laws. National Forest System lands are withdrawn or segregated pursuant to many authorities and there is no logical reason to distinguish between lands segregated or withdrawn from appropriation under one versus another authority.
These proposed provisions specify that operations generally are allowable on all National Forest System lands segregated or withdrawn from the mining laws only to the extent that a person has valid existing rights to proceed, regardless of whether the operations may proceed under a complete bonded notice or an approved plan of operations. Thus, the proposed rule allows the Forest Service to protect genuine valid existing rights (by requiring a determination that such rights exist) while at the same time protecting areas that have been withdrawn or are being proposed to be withdrawn from operation of the mining laws. However, these proposed provisions specify that the Forest Service may allow limited activities before the existence of valid existing rights is established or disproven, including certain limited sampling and limited annual assessment work.
Proposed paragraph (f) of this section would require the Forest Service to prepare a mineral examination report before approving a plan of operations for proposed operations on National Forest System lands withdrawn from the operation of the mining laws. Additionally, this section would grant the Forest Service the discretion to prepare a mineral examination report before confirming that a bonded notice is complete or approving a plan of operations for proposed operations on National Forest System lands that have been segregated under section 204 of FLPMA (43 U.S.C. 1714) for consideration of a withdrawal. This section also would provide that when a mineral examination report finds that a mining claim is invalid but the operator declines to alter the proposed operations to avoid the segregated or withdrawn National Forest System lands in question, the Forest Service will request that the BLM promptly initiate contest proceedings to determine the validity of all such mining claims.
However, in specified limited circumstances proposed paragraph (g) would allow the Forest Service to approve a plan of operations before a mineral examination report for a claim located on withdrawn lands has been prepared. Specifically, the Forest Service may allow operations to take samples to confirm or corroborate mineral exposures that were physically disclosed and existing on the mining claim before the segregation or withdrawal date, whichever is earlier; and to perform any minimum necessary annual assessment work under 43 CFR 3851.1. This section also would permit an operator to conduct the same limited operations on segregated lands under either a bonded notice that the Forest Service has confirmed is complete or a plan of operations that the Forest Service has approved.
Proposed paragraph (h) allows the Forest Service to suspend the time limit the agency would take for final action on a proposed plan of operations until the existence of valid existing rights is finally established or disproven pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section, whether by virtue of the mineral examination report, a mineral contest, or federal court proceedings. The section also provides for the suspension of the time limit for the Forest Service to confirm that a proposed bonded is complete under identical terms.
Proposed paragraph (i) requires an operator to cease all operations, except required reclamation, when the absence of valid existing rights is finally established pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section, whether by virtue of the mineral examination report, a mineral contest, or federal court proceedings.
Section 228.16 Applicability of This Subpart
This section would specify how the revised rule would apply to classes of operations such as approved and ongoing operations, preexisting proposed plans of operation, preexisting unapproved modifications of approved plans, and other preexisting operations. This section would directly parallel the applicability of the BLM's revised 43 CFR subpart 3809 regulations to the same classes of ongoing or proposed locatable mineral operations.
Section 261.2 Definitions
The definition of "operating plans" set forth in this section would be revised to include bonded notices within its scope. A new definition of "residence," patterned upon the definition of "residence" which would be set forth at 36 CFR part 228.3(m), also would be added to this section.
Section 261.10 Occupancy and Use
Paragraphs (a), (b) and (l) of this section would be revised to apply to bonded notices as well as to plans of operation. This change has no substantive effect. These paragraphs presently apply to operations requiring an approved plan of operations. Operations that would be conducted under a complete bonded notice should the proposed rule be adopted, presently require an approved plan of operations under 36 CFR part 228, subpart A. Thus, whether or not the proposed rule is ultimately adopted, the same operations would be subject to these three paragraphs.
New paragraphs (p) and (q) also would be added to this section. Paragraph (p) would prohibit the use or occupancy of National Forest System land or facilities without a complete bonded notice or an approved plan of operations when the operations require such a bonded notice or plan of operations. Paragraph (q) would prohibit the use of National Forest System land as storage sites without a complete bonded notice or an approved plan of operations when the operations would require such a bonded notice or an approved plan of operations.
PART 292--NATIONAL RECREATION AREAS
Subpart D--Sawtooth Natural Recreation Area--Federal Lands
Section 292.17 General Provisions
This section would be amended to add a citation to 36 CFR part 228, subpart A.
Subpart G--Smith River National Recreation Area
Section 292.63 Plan of Operations--Supplementary Requirements
This section would be amended to reflect the revised requirements that would be set forth at proposed 36 CFR part 228.4(f)(1) through (f)(4) and proposed 36 CFR part 228.9. This section also would be revised to employ the same terminology that would be set forth at 36 CFR part 228, subpart A.
PART 293--WILDERNESS--PRIMITIVE AREAS
Section 293.2 Objectives
This section would be amended to add a citation to 36 CFR part 228, subpart A.
Section 293.15 Gathering Information About Resources Other Than Minerals
This section would be amended to add a citation to 36 CFR part 228, subpart A.
March 17, 2008
Drink Water for Life
This article is written by Denise Olivera, Columbia School of Journalism, about the Drink Water for Life Challenge originated by 1st Congregational Church, U.C.C. of Salem, Oregon. The article was covered by the Great Reporter newsservice link The congregation pledges to give up some of its lattes, sodas, etc. during Lent and give the money to our Pure Water Fund. In celebration of Lent, spring, or World Water Day, please chose to follow this lead.
March 17, 2008 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack
March 07, 2008
Plug in to NRDC's Blog
There's a little something for everyone here -- but some of the most prominent environmental lawyers in the world are blogging here. NRDC Blog
March 7, 2008 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack
March 05, 2008
Pulitzer Prize Anyone??? Only if you write by March 12th
Well, no prize, but...You can become a Pulitzer Center Citizen Journalist!!!
- Pick an issue. Issues list "Should US environmental standards apply when multinational companies develop the petroleum resources of fragile ecosystems such as Peru's Amazon forest?" should be of particular interest. Extraterritorial application of US environmental standards
- Read the corresponding coverage at Pulitzer’s website. Your article should draw on information from the Pulitzer Center articles; but you may also include include original reporting of your own or firsthand experiences. The goal is to provide fresh insight in a compellingly written article.
- Share your perspective on the issue and write your best article at Helium by March 12th.
March 5, 2008 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack
February 23, 2008
Election 2008 -- The Candidates Speak in Their Own Words -- Part II:Hillary Clinton
During the last year, Foreign Affairs published a series of pieces on the 2008 presidential election, allowing candidates to frame their foreign policy in their own words. Foreign Affairs Election 2008 I am reviewing those pieces for discussions of global environmental issues, including climate change. I find this a particularly useful approach because it allows candidates to move beyond sound bites and into the substance of what they believe.
I expect to look at all of the current candidates: Democratic and Republican. The first candidate I am reviewed was Barack Obama. Today's post is Hillary Clinton.
Here's the foreign policy of Hillary Clinton with respect to the environment (especially global warming) in her own words:
The tragedy of the last six years is that the Bush administration has squandered the respect, trust, and confidence of even our closest allies and friends. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the United States enjoyed a unique position. Our world leadership was widely accepted and respected, as we strengthened old alliances and built new ones, worked for peace across the globe, advanced nonproliferation, and modernized our military....At the same time, we embarked on an unprecedented course of unilateralism:..Our withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol and refusal to participate in any international effort to deal with the tremendous challenges of climate change further damaged our international standing....At a moment in history when the world's most pressing problems require unprecedented cooperation, this administration has unilaterally pursued policies that are widely disliked and distrusted....
We need more than vision, however, to achieve the world we want. We must face up to an unprecedented array of challenges in the twenty-first century, threats from states, nonstate actors, and nature itself...Finally, the next president will have to address the looming long-term threats of climate change and a new wave of global health epidemics....
But China's rise is also creating new challenges. The Chinese have finally begun to realize that their rapid economic growth is coming at a tremendous environmental price. The United States should undertake a joint program with China and Japan to develop new clean-energy sources, promote greater energy efficiency, and combat climate change. This program would be part of an overall energy policy that would require a dramatic reduction in U.S. dependence on foreign oil....
We must find additional ways for Australia, India, Japan, and the United States to cooperate on issues of mutual concern, including combating terrorism, cooperating on global climate control, protecting global energy supplies, and deepening global economic development...
As president, I will make the fight against global warming a priority. We cannot solve the climate crisis alone, and the rest of the world cannot solve it without us. The United States must reengage in international climate change negotiations and provide the leadership needed to reach a binding global climate agreement. But we must first restore our own credibility on the issue. Rapidly emerging countries, such as China, will not curb their own carbon emissions until the United States has demonstrated a serious commitment to reducing its own through a market-based cap-and-trade approach.
We must also help developing nations build efficient and environmentally sustainable domestic energy infrastructures. Two-thirds of the growth in energy demand over the next 25 years will come from countries with little existing infrastructure. Many opportunities exist here as well: Mali is electrifying rural communities with solar power, Malawi is developing a biomass energy strategy, and all of Africa can provide carbon credits to the West.
Finally, we must create formal links between the International Energy Agency and China and India and create an "E-8" international forum modeled on the G-8. This group would be comprised of the world's major carbon-emitting nations and hold an annual summit devoted to international ecological and resource issues.
February 23, 2008 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
February 18, 2008
ExxonMobil Deliberately Misled Blogosphere About Funding Global Warming Denialists
Yesterday's post on ExxonMobil (2/17/08) highlighted that it had
funded the Frontiers of Freedom and its Center for Science and Public Policy (CSPP link ) during 2006, contrary to its claim that it was not
funding global warming denialists. You may wonder about the
context in which ExxonMobil made this claim.
Remember last year when the IPCC 4th Assessment report came out – the Guardian wrote a story about American Enterprise Institute soliciting result-oriented denialist analyses of the IPCC report and that report included information about ExxonMobil’s funding of AEI. Guardian 2/2/07 Report. During conversations in late January and early February, 2007 with me and other bloggers, Maria Surma Manka from Green Options [Giant Part I Post; Giant Part II Post], Jesse Jenkins from Watthead [ExxonMobil Posts], Tom Yulsman from Prometheus [Post on earlier conversations -- I can't recall whether Tom participated in the February call, but I believe he did], Stuart Staniford from The Oil Drum [ExxonMobil AEI Post], Ken Cohen, ExxonMobil’s Vice President for Public Affairs had assured us that ExxonMobil was no longer funding controversial denialist groups like Competitive Enterprise Institute and it did not fund AEI with the intent that they engage in denialist analyses. The first conference call occurred in late January and the second on the same day that the Guardian story and the IPCC report came out.
Cohen spent considerable time before the IPCC report came out in January 2007 trying to convince us that ExxonMobil was changing its Neanderthal stripes, truly accepted that anthropogenic global warming was a serious problem, and was ready to take a responsible role in the future discussions of how to reduce GHG emissions. Admittedly Cohen did that in the truly diplomatic way of saying that ExxonMobil had not effectively communicated its position that anthropogenic global warming is real and that GHG emissions need to be reduced.
During the February call, Cohen knew that the Guardian’s report about ExxonMobil’s funding of AEI and AEI’s alleged solicitation of result-oriented denialist analyses threatened to undercut public perception of ExxonMobil as a responsible actor. Indeed, those reports ended up on CNN. So, Cohen went out of his way to schedule this call about the Guardian’s allegations.
As Maria recounted that discussion:
“We had no knowledge that this was going on,” insisted Cohen. He explained that Exxon funds a lot of different groups, and “when we fund them, we want good analysis." Exxon does not condone what AEI did, but Cohen confirmed that it does continues to fund AEI, although other groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute are not funded by them anymore.
Cohen assured us that Exxon is “trying to be a constructive player in the policy discussion and not associate [themselves] with those that are marginalized and are not welcome in that discussion.” The IPCC report “is what it is,” and Exxon does not believe in engaging in scientific research that preordains an answer. Cohen:
…that's the issue with AEI: Are they preordaining an answer?…I can understand taking a market approach or a government interventionist approach, but this is not a question of trying to find who’s right or who’s wrong. Let’s let the process work.
But, I asked, how can you grant AEI nearly two million dollars (n.b. slsmith -over the entirety of AEI operations, not annually) and not know what they’re doing with the money? Turns out that Exxon conveniently funds the “general operations” of AEI, not specific programs that would allow them to track how the money is being used. Perhaps Exxon needs to think hard next time before it funds an organization so clearly disinterested in constructive solutions.
Cohen was consistently explicit in Exxon's
position that global warming is happening and mainly caused by human
activities. If that is true, then how will Exxon fight the huge misperception
that it’s still the planet's largest naysayer? Cohen conceded that the company
needed to do a better job of communicating its position on global warming,
rather than allowing a fact sheet or
news release on their website to do the work.
Cohen kept telling us that the 2006 contribution report was coming out, but declined to give us any specifics about ExxonMobil’s contributions to AEI or other groups, but he said Competitive Enterprise Institute was no longer funded. Cohen continued to defend AEI as a responsible, albeit very conservative, think tank doing legitimate policy research. And frankly, I supported him on that score during the calls because at least some of the work done by AEI is just that. And I was not nearly as skeptical as others about ExxonMobil's protestations of innocence. See my post on the AEI matter ELP Blog Post on AEI
Here’s why yesterday I called ExxonMobil’s behavior in early 2007 deliberately misleading. Initial Post on 2006 Funding Report
As the quoted material above indicates, Cohen in early February 2007 led us to believe that ExxonMobil was no longer in the denialist camp and did not condone AEI soliciting denialist analysis (if indeed that’s what they had done). He claimed that ExxonMobil no longer associated with marginalized denialist groups. He suggested that the 2006 report would indicate that ExxonMobily had disassociated itself from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which brought us the classic, sadly humorous “Carbon dioxide: they call it pollution, we call it life!” TV commercials. You tube link to CEI Energy commercial.
From this discussion, it seems clear that Cohen knew precisely which “public information and policy research” organizations that were funded by ExxonMobil during 2006. Yet, while he perhaps sat with the 2006 report in front of him and refused to release its contents, the 2006 contribution report later showed that in 2006 ExxonMobil provided $ 180,000 to Frontiers of Freedom and the CSPP, the policy center it created with ExxonMobil's funding several years ago. P.S. Cohen denied funding CSPP in an e-mail today, but unless my sight is failing: CSPP is reported as the Science and Policy Center under Frontiers of Freedom Download 2006 ExxonMobil's "public information and policy research" contributions If that’s not supporting denialists and associating with marginalized denialist groups, I don’t know what is!
Take a good look at the high quality analysis of global warming that CSPP provides:
(1) the amicus curiae brief filed in Mass. v. EPA by lawyers from the Competitive Enterprise Institute
(2) Dr. Ball's The Science Isn't Settled powerpoint presentation - Dr. Ball is the Chairman of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project which describes its first project on understanding climate change as "a proactive grassroots campaign to counter the Kyoto Protocol and other greenhouse gas reduction schemes." NRSP describes Dr. Ball as the "lead participant in a number of recent made-for-TV climate change videos, The Great Global Warming Swindle."
(3) Joe Daleo's Congressional Seminar on global warming in March 2007 devoted to disputing the IPCC's report and arguing that anthropogenic global warming from greenhouse gas emissions are not a real problem.
(4) CSPP's May 2007 rebuttal of Al Gore's testimony, which suggests there is no scientific consensus that CO2 emissions are causing global warming
(5) a nonsensical piece on "Gore's Guru," positing that because Dr. Revelle, who died in 1991, had cautioned in 1988 and 1991 against drawing rash conclusions about global warming might still take that position. I call it nonsensical because Dr. Revelle suggested that we wait 10-20 years to see if the trends continued. We've waited and now we've answered that question: between 1998 and 2008 we witnessed incredibly dramatic global warming and the scientific community has spent the last 10-20 years studying whether indeed human-caused GHG emissions are responsible for much of that warming. We and ExxonMobil know its answer to that question.
Obviously, the blogosphere is not the only group worried about ExxonMobil's funding choices. Britain's national academy of scientists, The Royal Society, in September 2006 took ExxonMobil to task about its funding of denialist groups. Royal Society letter
Well, maybe ExxonMobil finally pulled the plug on FF and its “Science and Policy” center in 2007 (and so Cohen was just tap-dancing around the embarrassing, but not on-going, reality of funding denialists). Although, FF's CSPP might survive: it apparently does have funding from two major tobacco companies!
Maybe ExxonMobil has rethought its policy on funding organizations whose primary contribution to the climate change discussion is to distribute continued attacks on those who conclude that the current state of climate science supports an effective policy to reduce GHG emissions. I’d like to think so – but we won’t know until ExxonMobil releases its 2007 contributions report. I requested that Cohen release it to me; he declined.
However, even if it had
defunded FF and CSPP (and other denialist groups), I’m not sure I’d believe that ExxonMobil hadn’t found new denialist outlets to fund.
If the Guardian and other media or the blogosphere produce a big enough stir on this story, perhaps it will. But I am astonished that, just as it was selling itself as a responsible player on global warming, ExxonMobil would act so irresponsibly and so deceptively. And I am deeply embarrassed at my naievete in believing what Ken Cohen and ExxonMobil were selling about ExxonMobil’s born again conversion to a responsible position on anthropogenic global warming.
Watch out, though, ExxonMobil knows that the question is no
longer whether global warming is real, but what to do about it. You can bet it
is smart enough and devious enough to fund a lot of “public information and
policy research” that will muddle policy discussions about global warming
legislation and may assure that not much is done to regulate GHG emissions from oil and gas and that what is done doesn’t cut hardly at all
into ExxonMobil’s astounding profits: $41 billion for 2007 and almost $ 12 billion in the 4th quarter of 2007 alone. ExxonMobil profits post
I have a modest suggestion for ExxonMobil: do not fund organizations whose published information, analysis, and research on global warming or climate change has primarily sought to undercut the conclusions reached by the joint statement published in 2005 by 11 national academies of science, including the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, India, Brazil and China . That statement is linked here: Joint Science Academies' Statement: Global Response to Climate Change
Unless and until ExxonMobil stops funding the sort of stuff that Center for Science and Public Policy is peddling, I hope that the new President and Congress will not believe a single word that is said about global warming policy by ExxonMobil or any of denialist and anti-regulatory "public information and policy research" organizations it funds.
February 18, 2008 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Foreign Affairs - The Candidates in Their Own Words --
During the last year, Foreign Affairs published a series of pieces on the 2008 presidential election, allowing candidates to frame their foreign policy in their own words. Foreign Affairs Election 2008 I am reviewing those pieces for discussions of global environmental issues, including climate change. I find this a particularly useful approach because it allows candidates to move beyond sound bites and into the substance of what they believe.
I expect to look at all of the current candidates: Democratic and Republican. The first candidate I am reviewing is Barack Obama. I chose Obama first in part because I am torn between Clinton and Obama. Although I respect John McCain's leadership on climate change, I could not vote for a Republican after the 1994 - 2006 Republican congressional legacy and the debacle of Bush's presidency for virtually every freedom and human need. I also disagree with McCain's position on Iraq.
In his own words, Barack Obama primarily addresses climate change as a matter of global policy. He ties the US response to global warming to his overall foreign policy in this way:
Strengthened institutions and invigorated alliances and partnerships are especially crucial if we are to defeat the epochal, man-made threat to the planet: climate change. Without dramatic changes, rising sea levels will flood coastal regions around the world, including much of the eastern seaboard. Warmer temperatures and declining rainfall will reduce crop yields, increasing conflict, famine, disease, and poverty. By 2050, famine could displace more than 250 million people worldwide. That means increased instability in some of the most volatile parts of the world.
As the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases, America has the responsibility to lead. While many of our industrial partners are working hard to reduce their emissions, we are increasing ours at a steady clip -- by more than ten percent per decade. As president, I intend to enact a cap-and-trade system that will dramatically reduce our carbon emissions. And I will work to finally free America of its dependence on foreign oil -- by using energy more efficiently in our cars, factories, and homes, relying more on renewable sources of electricity, and harnessing the potential of biofuels.
Getting our own house in order is only a first step. China will soon replace America as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Clean energy development must be a central focus in our relationships with major countries in Europe and Asia. I will invest in efficient and clean technologies at home while using our assistance policies and export promotions to help developing countries leapfrog the carbon-energy-intensive stage of development. We need a global response to climate change that includes binding and enforceable commitments to reducing emissions, especially for those that pollute the most: the United States, China, India, the European Union, and Russia. This challenge is massive, but rising to it will also bring new benefits to America. By 2050, global demand for low-carbon energy could create an annual market worth $500 billion. Meeting that demand would open new frontiers for American entrepreneurs and workers.
February 18, 2008 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 06, 2008
Candidates Compete for Green Title
After the Bush administration legacy, it is refreshing to see both Democratic and some Republican candidates competing for the title of Mr. or Ms. Green. See the comparison in Grist.
February 6, 2008 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack
October 18, 2007
Ruth Norton Smith (Nov 27, 1921 - Oct 14, 2007)
Ruth Norton Smith died peacefully in Boulder, Colorado on Sunday, October 14, 2007 after enjoying her full measure of life.
Ruth was born in Oklahoma on November 27, 1921 in a tent in Oklahoma. She was raised during the Depression years, moving frequently as her family farmed and followed the tunneling, mining, and other work available to her father. Ultimately, her family settled in southern California. There Ruth met the love of her life, Herbert Frank Smith, a carpenter and union organizer, whom she married on June 4, 1941.
In WW II, while her husband served in the Navy in the South Pacific, Ruth became a Rosie the Riveter, building bombers, and then joined the Women’s Army Corps, serving as a nurse. After the war, they settled in the Los Angeles area, where she became a real estate broker and the mom of two children, Greg in 1948 and Susan in 1953.
In 1955, her family moved to Colorado where she worked side by side with her husband to build two of the largest home-building companies in Colorado, Happy Homes and Fireside Homes, and a prominent real estate firm. When she left real estate and home-building in the late 1960s, Ruth became a political and market researcher for Research Services, Inc. and later became a researcher for the U.S. Census Bureau, from which she retired in 1989.
Ruth was a life-long Democratic political activist with a passion for peace, civil rights, and all aspects of social justice. She served in every capacity: running political campaigns, serving as a precinct committee woman, county, congressional district, and state delegate, pollwatcher, and election judge. She worked with Metro Denver Fair Housing center as a realtor, helping the first African-American families in Jefferson County to find housing. She volunteered with youth mentoring programs in Four Points and with Metro Denver Urban Coalition, Another Mother for Peace, Meals on Wheels, and countless other organizations.
Ruth was too busy with her family, volunteer work and career for many hobbies. She thrived on the stimulating conversations born by inviting friends and guests from all over the world and from every walk of life to dinner. She also found great pleasure in reading, traveling and attending theatre and opera performances.
Ruth was a warm, intelligent, extroverted vibrant woman who loved and was loved by virtually everyone she met. Her loss will be sorely missed by the many friends and family she has left behind, including her sister Lorene, her brother Fred, her son Greg, her daughter Susan, and her grandchildren Clint Smith, Brent Smith, Nathanial Smith-Tripp and Sarah Smith-Tripp. Her family and friends will gather at Mt. Vernon Country Club on Sunday, October 21, 2007 at 10:30 am for a celebration of her life. The family requests that no flowers be sent and suggests donations to Meals on Wheel or a charity of your choice.
October 18, 2007 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack
October 16, 2007
Thank you to Read/Write Web
Read/Write Web has listed Environmental Law Prof Blog prominently in its list of the 35 best environmental blogs. [35 best environmental blogs] Thanks!
October 16, 2007 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
July 06, 2007
Vote for Children's Safe Drinking Water
Project ID: 01250
Date Posted: 7/02
For Two Cents We Can Change the World. Four thousand children die needlessly every day from drinking contaminated water. It's a tragedy that hundreds of millions of people obtain their drinking water from polluted sources such as muddy rivers, ponds, and streams. This public health crisis can be addressed today through an innovative and low-cost technology that effectively purifies and cleans water while removing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Right now millions of people in Africa, Asia, and the Americas are being reached by a not-for-profit project, but millions more are in need. Help us reach a goal of providing 2 billion liters of safe drinking water. For only two pennies a day a child can have safe drinking water. We'd love to hear your thoughts. In fact, Give Us Your Two Cents Worth. Thank you.
My mission is to prevent the sickness and death that occur in the developing world from drinking unsafe water. I'm lucky to spend much of my life building partnerships to provide a low-cost technology to purify water. I never get tired of seeing filthy and highly contaminated water miraculously turn into clear and safe water. And, what's most satisfying is to provide children with their first drink of truly clean and purified water. Now we've developed a way for everyone to get involved. We can make, transport, and deliver the technology on a sustainable basis for only pennies per person. In fact, for just two cents we can provide purified drinking water for a person for a day. Two Cents to Change a Life. Please consider joining our project: "Give Your Two Cents Worth.
1.1 billion people around the world do not have access to clean water. As a result, 5,000 children die needlessly every day. In poor, rural communities, the only source of water is often miles away and the grueling task of collecting it often falls to young girls.
In the mountain village of La Horca, Nicaragua, Rosibel Gonzalez, 12, traveled 7.5 miles each day to fetch water for her parents and five siblings. Waking up before dawn, she walked to the creek before school and carried back a bucket of water on her head. She repeated the task after school and again before bed. But because the water she fetched came from the same source used by village livestock, it was dangerous to drink. When Rosibel's little brother, Wilber, was only eight months old, he and other villagers contracted cholera. That's where UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, came in. UNICEF provided a new solar-powered water pump and filtration system to bring clean water directly into La Horca's 35 homes. Now, Rosibel and her entire village have safe water to drink and Rosibel is left with plenty of time to study and play with her little brother.
With a presence in 156 countries, UNICEF is striving to duplicate this success worldwide. By voting for this project, you can help UNICEF save millions of children's lives. We know what needs to be done, we just need your help to do it. Only 2 cents will purchase one water purification tablet to clean 5 liters of water, $48 can purchase a portable latrine and $5,000 can buy a solar water pump, like the one installed in Rosibel's village. UNICEF partners with communities to provide these and other innovative, low-cost and life-saving solutions for the world's most vulnerable children and their families.
July 6, 2007 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack
June 26, 2007
Zoellick becomes World Bank president
The Executive Directors of the World Bank yesterday unanimously selected Robert Zoellick as the 11th President of the bank for a five-year term.
The President of the bank is ex-officio President of the International Development Association (IDA) and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the Administrative Council of the International Centre of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
This announcement affects every aspect of environmental, energy, and resources law, of course, due to the Bank's pivotal role in financing development -- and thereby setting development policy throughout the world. So, who is this masked man?
Here's the Bank's bio:
Professional History of Mr. Robert B. Zoellick
Mr. Zoellick, a U.S. national, is currently Vice Chairman, International, of Goldman Sachs Group, and a Managing Director and Chairman of Goldman Sach’s Board of International Advisors. He has served in a number of senior positions in successive US administrations, including as Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of State, and as U.S. Trade Representative (2001-05). He also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Policy, US Department of Treasury, and Undersecretary for Economic and Agricultural Affairs and Counselor in the U.S. State Department. He was Executive Vice President of Fannie Mae (1993-1997), the large U.S. mortgage finance corporation, as well as Vice President and Assistant to the Chairman and CEO. In addition, he served as Olin Visiting Professor, U.S. Naval Academy, as Senior Advisor, Goldman Sachs, as Research Scholar, Belfer Center, Harvard University, and previously on three corporate boards, as well as numerous research and non-profit boards.
Mr. Zoellick has a J.D., magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, and a M.P.P. (in public management and international issues) from the Kennedy School of Government. In addition, Mr. Zoellick has received numerous distinguished service awards.
Read between the lines: Zoellick is a Bush loyalist and true believer in globalization for the benefit of corporate interests and the wealthy. Wouldn't it be refreshing sometime for the World Bank to be led by someone who is committed to reducing international poverty and who has on the ground development experience -- rather than ideological theorizing and strategizing experience.
Unfortunately, and I say this as an alumna of both, Zoellick's Kennedy School and HLS credentials just mean he's smart, not moral or committed to the public he is supposed to serve.
June 26, 2007 in Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack
February 26, 2007
Spirit of the Eagle
This blog is devoted principally to the professional or academic aspects of environmental law, policy, science, and ethics. But like any blogger, I do have a life. Anyone interested in the slightly less academic side of me is welcome to visit Spirit of the Eagle, my personal blog.
February 26, 2007 in Africa, Agriculture, Air Quality, Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | TrackBack
February 06, 2007
2007 Drink Water for Life
Drink Water for Life Challenge
As readers know, the royalties of this blog are now devoted to international NGOs providing safe, clean drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene education.
The 7th Millennium Development Goal seeks to cut in half the number of people without those essentials by 2015. Current estimates are that it will cost about $16 billion additional per year until 2015 to accomplish that goal. I find it unbelievable that we cannot globally achieve that goal, especially when unnecessary deaths from water-borne diseases exceed 2 million, mostly children, each year. That's one child every 15 seconds.
For those of you who are members of faith-based communities, I suggest that you sponsor a DRINK WATER FOR LIFE challenge associated with your congregation. Drink water instead of lattes (sodas, bottled water, coffee, alcohol). Do it for Lent (or your appropriate analogous spiritual break). Get your friends, your synagogue or church, school or workplace to do the same. Collect the money you save, gather it together on Easter (or whatever date makes sense in your faith tradition), put it in a Water Fund, and send it to one of the organizations that do this work. With just $5000, an entire village of 200 - 500 people can be supplied with safe, clean, sustainable drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene education.
If you need addresses of faith-based organization who do this work, or secular charitable organizations who do this work, let me know. If you need flyers explaining the problem, let me know. Together we can make a difference.
February 6, 2007 in Asia, Australia, Biodiversity, Cases, Climate Change, Constitutional Law, Economics, Energy, Environmental Assessment, EU, Forests/Timber, Governance/Management, International, Land Use, Law, Legislation, Mining, North America, Physical Science, Social Science, South America, Sustainability, Toxic and Hazardous Substances, US, Water Quality, Water Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack