red tailed lockdown, early morning

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Parting Gifts

This has not been a good week for the environment. On the heels of the decision to roll back stricter regulation on lead emissions, the Bush Administration, in an old fashioned October Surprise, has announced several more doozies.

A proposal by the Department of the Interior would change the rules that regulate the disposal of mine waste that would make it even easier for mining companies to rip the tops off mountains in search of coal.

The proposed change would call upon companies to avoid dumping debris from large-scale excavation operations within a 100-foot buffer zone around streams. But it would allow such dumping "if avoidance is not possible," and direct companies to minimize environmental harms "to the extent possible."

Administration officials say the proposed changes are needed to eliminate confusion over what constitutes compliance with the law. The net environmental effect of the change, they add, is "slightly positive," because it would require companies to minimize the volume of rock and waste disposed of outside the mined area. Environmental groups say it promotes the coal companies' practice of shearing off mountain crests in search of coal and dumping the waste into valleys and streams.

So, the reality is that once again we are going to trust these companies to regulate themselves. It worked so well with the investment banks. To allow them to tear the top off of a mountain and fill the waterways with the offal, "if avoidance is not possible". Now call me cynical but my bet is that many coal companies are going to reach that conclusion awful quickly.

Mountaintop removal, Kayford Valley, West Virginia.

The Bush Administration is also calling for more uranium mining around the Grand Canyon. I encourage everyone to do a little research on the harm that these companies have caused on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations. The sickness, the radioactive hot spots, it is truly appalling. Nothing is holy or sacrosanct to the evil minions in the beltway. And in a true flash of the dark side, comments on the proposal have to be made by Monday on this proposal, which was published October 10th.

Radioactive water on Navajo Reservation near abandoned mine.

"This administration will stop at nothing to jam through as many reckless proposals as they can before the clock runs out," says Rep. Nick Rahall (D., W.Va.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.

The Interior Department wants to overhaul the Endangered Species Act to allow federal agencies to decide on their own whether protected species would be put at risk by their projects. As it now stands, government agencies must consult the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service or other agencies to see if projects pose risks to species or the environment. According to the Administration, this change will allow them to focus more on critical conservation efforts. Read - pick and choose and the animal and environment lose. This last minute skullduggery poses tremendous harm to our land.

The administration initially set a 30-day public-comment period, half the normal period allowed for new rules. After a wave of protests from opponents, the administration extended the period by another 30 days, ending Oct. 14.

The Bush Administration is trying again to take the gray wolf of the Northern Rockies off the federal endangered species list. Having lost in court this summer in a legal battle with conservationists, the US Fish & Wildlife Service has decided to reopen for public comment a proposal to delist the wolves, currently considered endangered under the Endangered Species Act. "We think the wolves no longer need the protection of the Endangered Species Act," said Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for Fish & Wildlife. Wildlife advocates immediately protested.

"This is the Bush Administration's last-gasp attempt to remove protections for wolves," said Louisa Wilcox, senior wildlife advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Bangs said the government will open a comment period Tuesday, lasting until Nov. 28. After that, officials could swiftly decide to remove the federal protections for the wolf in much of the Northern Rockies and turn management of the predator species over to the states. The act provides that, once an endangered species has recovered, states take control of them.

Some ranchers are eager to see the wolf delisted. "We was doing fine without 'em," says Gerry Endecott, a ranch manager south of Jackson, Wyo. "In this day and age, it just can't go back to where it was a hundred years ago. If you go back a hundred years, you have to get rid of Jackson and all the people."

Gee Gerry, you make a lot of sense. I'm glad you was doing fine.  With the relatively small numbers of livestock kills by wolves, I am in favor of paying off the ranchers to shut up.  It's a good trade, I think.

A 2007 attempt to delist the wolves led a coalition of conservation organizations to file suit in federal court. In July, US District Judge Donald W. Molloy ruled in their favor, issuing an injunction that put the wolf back under federal protection pending a final resolution of the suit.

What is wrong with these people? Do their children and grandchildren and they themselves not also have to live on this earth? Is this legacy that they are leaving something they can be proud of? I know that Bush stacked the Justice Department with a bunch of career Calvinists caterwauling for the endtimes. Has the same thing happened at Interior and the EPA? Screw the planet, this is all moot when the good lord returns...

Take the time to google Julie Macdonald, who left the Interior Department in shame, look at her record on species protection, examine the actions of Stephen Johnson at EPA. Gale Norton. Look at the government's stance on dolphins, beluga whales, perchlorate, bisphenol, lead, snowmobiles, mercury. The list gos on and on. This is the most hardened bunch of nasty monsters one could ever encounter. Maybe they spend their lunch breaks torturing cats and pulling the wings off of bugs? This administration has made a mockery of environmental protection, much of which is irreversible.

If we are lucky enough to get a more environmentally sensitive government after Nov. 4th and I don't think it could get much worse, will we have to institute some sort of palliative Maoist purge at these agencies? Like ridding the ranks of the Vichy? They have done their best to tear down about 30 years of sensible environmental regulation. I hope that people will make some noise and try to stop this crap.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Gee Gerry, you make a lot of sense. I'm glad you was doing fine. With the relatively small numbers of livestock kills by wolves, I am in favor of paying off the ranchers to shut up. It's a good trade, I think."

-I second that. Well put.
Thank you for sharing. Keep it up! :)