A zoom in of Marcos Island, Florida, an upscale community on the Gulf Coast side of the state. The city is was built on marshy barrier islands and is susceptible to beach erosion and sea level rise. It’s surrounded by protected conservation land, marine protected coast land, and was, until today, restricted from rapid development and expansion. The Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, is set to reverse the trend by signing a slate of bills that would allow aggressive development in this and other protected areas around the Everglades. Over 20 environmental regulations and decades of environmental and land conservation battles are about to be destroyed at the stroke of a pen. But, if you’re a real estate developer, it sure is a pretty place to bulldoze…
Posts tagged republicans.
New survey from the Center for Climate Change Communication: Extreme Weather and Climate Change in the American Mind.
- About six in ten Americans (58%) say “global warming is affecting weather in the United States.”
- Many Americans believe global warming made recent extreme weather and climatic events “more severe,” specifically: 2012 as the warmest year on record in the United States (50%); the ongoing drought in the Midwest and the Great Plains (49%); Superstorm Sandy (46%); and Superstorm Nemo (42%).
- About two out of three Americans say weather in the U.S. has been worse over the past several years, up 12 percentage points since Spring 2012. By contrast, fewer Americans say weather has been getting better over the past several years - only one in ten (11%), down 16 points compared to a year ago.
- Overall, 85 percent of Americans report that they experienced one or more types of extreme weather in the past year, most often citing extreme high winds (60%) or an extreme heat wave (51%).
- Of those Americans who experienced extreme weather events in the past year, many say they were significantly harmed. Moreover, the number who have been harmed appears to be growing (up 5 percentage points since Fall 2012 and 4 points since Spring 2012).
- Over half of Americans (54%) believe it is “very” or “somewhat likely” that extreme weather will cause a natural disaster in their community in the coming year.
- Americans who experienced an extreme weather event are most likely to have communicated about it person-to-person - either in person (89%) or on the phone (84%).
Shopping list of corporate giveaways, most skirt pollution regulations - even elimination of disclosing environmental harms. One anti-science measure was snuck in by Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. His amendment would defund (in part) the United States’s world renowned scientific research institute called the NSF (National Science Foundation, widely known as the NSF).
The NSF supports science in universities around the US and is a beacon/model for science around the world - from cancer research to climate change. It is speculated that Coburn has failed over the years to get his pet anti-science bill passed through regular procedural votes, so he’s attaching it to an emergency budget bill which will keep government running only temporarily.
None of the amendments promote economic stability or aim to create jobs.
(M)any of 110 amendments offered by Republicans to the Democratic-authored legislation would amount to giveaways to major industry groups. The amendments, unveiled Thursday, are expected to see floor action by Friday evening.
“Giant corporations are hoping to sneak provisions into the rushed Senate budget bill to undermine the core regulatory protections on which Americans rely to make our country stronger, better, safer, cleaner, healthier and more fair and just,” said Robert Weissman, who serves as co-chair of the coalition and president of Public Citizen.“The American people aren’t so easily tricked, and they demand Senators vote down these corporate-gift amendments,” he added.
Modern Farmer: Wyoming state congress passes "ag-gag" law, set to become fourth state with anti-whistleblower laws for agriculture ›
Wyoming’s House of Representatives is the latest legislative body pass a “ag-gag” law, a new breed of legislation which makes it illegal to record video or photograph inside factory livestock farms. From Food Safety News:
In her bill, [Republican Sue Wallis] makes it a crime to “knowingly or intentionally” record images or sounds of an agricultural operation with concealed devices without the consent of the owner. Six months in jail and a $750 fine are provided as penalty. But anyone reporting animal abuse to local police within 48 hours is immune from civil liability.
If the bill passes in Wyoming’s state senate, it would become the fourth state to pass anti-whitsleblower laws. Iowa, Utah, and Missouri all passed similar bills last year, though Wyoming would be the only state to mandate jail time for those (including employees) who film in slaughterhouses.
New Hampshire, Indiana, Nebraska and Arkansas are all also considering their own versions of ag-gag laws. Last year saw 10 states attempting to pass similar piece of legislation, with many backing down after public outcry or worries about the constitutionality of the proposed bills.
Ag-gag laws have sprung up in response to the increasing number of videos taken in large-scale slaughterhouses showing a dizzying number of abuses. In Wyoming’s case, a video taken at a Wheatland, WY hog farm showed workers beating sows and tossing piglets. A later investigation turned up a number of abuses. From the Casper Star-Tribune:
A subsequent investigation by the Wyoming Livestock Board uncovered numerous harrowing incidents.
— Workers cut off the testicles of piglets and fed them to their sow.
— A woman worker who weighed more than 200 pounds sat on a sow that couldn’t walk because of a broken leg and was screaming in agony.
— Workers throwing piglets as if they were balls.
— Keeping pigs in crates so small, the animals were nearly immobilized and helpless.
— A sow with a prolapsed uterus that was left to die slowly after a worker botched an attempt to pull her piglets from her uterus
The hog farm is now under new management, and nine employees were charged with animal abuse.
When not working as a state legislator, Wallis heads up Unified Equine, LLC, a company that is seeking to build horse slaughterhouse in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Wyoming. Wallis has attempted to pass numerous bits of favorable legislation for large-scale animal production plants, winning her a fun nickname: “Slaughterhouse” Sue.
(Image: Thomas Bjørkan/CC 2.0)
Surprise of the year so far. It’ll be interesting to see how enviros will react if/when the national GOP moves towards similar legislation.
Inslee climate change bill passes state Senate
OLYMPIA — The Republican-controlled state Senate on Wednesday passed legislation aimed at developing ways to reduce state greenhouse-gas emissions, and meet targets set by the Legislature in 2008.
Senate Bill 5802 passed by a vote of 37 to 12. The legislation, requested by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, creates a work group that’s supposed to come up with recommendations by the end of the year.
A similar bill was introduced in the House, but Democratic leaders are expected to work with the version that passed the Senate.
Inslee and his staff actively lobbied for the bill and the governor testified at committee hearings in the House and Senate. The measure that passed the Senate removed language talking about problems associated with climate change.
“I really want to take the religion out of carbon and I want to take a good hard look at how we can most effectively meet those goals” set in 2008, said Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, speaking in favor of the bill. Ericksen is chairman of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee.
Via Seattle Times
Members of the Congressional International Conservation Caucus vote against the environment 52 percent of the time. ›
So it’s a good thing that exists.
Their argument against cleaning up after businesses is that it costs money. That’s it in a nutshell.
The Anti-Science Left. A wonderful set of interviews on how the left denies science. (Warning: Chris Moody is as smug as ever, but the rest of the video is great.). They discuss Mark Lynas’s switch from anti-GMO to supporting GMOs by looking at the reams of scientific data. The great science writer Michael Shermer discusses evolution and climate change, and makes the case that despite all the doom in the news, humans and the environment are much better now than ever in history. Great conversation.
South Carolina's Dept of Natural Resources intentionally "hides" climate report from public. Scientists blame GOP politicians. ›
The SCDNR’s climate report was supposed to be published in 2012, but new leadership changed focused on expanding a shipping port and building a the East Coast’s largest gold mine.
The report warns of dire economic circumstances if nothing is done. One scientist even quit due to (it seems to me) political in-fighting within the Department.
Secret climate report calls for action in SC
A team of state scientists has outlined serious concerns about the damage South Carolina will suffer from climate change – threats that include invading eels, dying salt marshes, flooded homes and increased diseases in the state’s wildlife.
But few people have seen the team’s study. The findings are outlined in a report on global warming that has been kept secret by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources for more than a year because agency officials say their “priorities have changed.”
Current DNR director Alvin Taylor said the department is busy with other environmental matters, such as port expansions in Charleston and Savannah, and a massive gold mine planned for Lancaster County.
Via The State
North Carolina politician Buck Newton is bent on submitting to oil and gas companies. Local media has soured on the Republican, yet NC residents remain silent. The bill (in part) exempts oil and gas frackers from regular permitting procedures, such as avoiding pollution monitoring. Faster drill permits means faster fracking development for the state. (I also note that Duke Energy, which contributed to Buck Newton’s campaign, is lobbying to raise electricity rates. In other words, drillers want free money from two sources - free gas from drilling, and free money from residents’ electric bills. Clever.).
North Carolina hopes recent legislation introduced into its general assembly will send a “very clear signal” to oil and gas companies that the state wants shale gas exploration in the state, a state representative told Rigzone in an interview Monday.
State Sen. E.S. “Buck” Newton, the sponsor of Senate Bill (SB) 76, the Domestic Energy Jobs Act, told Rigzone that, while the ban on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has been lifted, the state hopes to provide certainty to the energy industry by fixing a specific date in which permits for shale gas drilling can be pulled.
Newton, who represents Johnston, Nash and Wilson counties in eastern North Carolina, introduced the bill last week. SB 76, which would authorize the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources to issue permits for oil and gas exploration and production, including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, on or after March 1, 2015.
North Carolina officials hope to send a signal in two ways – one, that the legislature is very serious about pursuing shale exploration, and two, that the state is working “with all deliberate and purposeful speed” to get itself ready to issue permits.
Early indicators show North Carolina to have shale gas reserves that may be on the order of the Fayetteville play in Arkansas, with approximately 1.4 million surface acres with shale deposits of an average thickness of 200 feet. North Carolina has three basins with shale potential. The Deep River Basin, the one that is most talked about, has wet gas reserves.
President Obama’s plea this morning to avert the $85 billion sequester before March 1 was instantly ridiculed by Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, as a “campaign event.” That’s presumably because the president spoke in front of a group of emergency responders whose livelihoods are threatened by the indiscriminate spending cuts, just as he often used middle-class Americans as backdrops on the campaign trail.
Fine, the emergency workers were props, just like the people who have filled the first lady’s box at State of the Union speeches for decades. But there’s nothing wrong with the president using federal employees as illustrations, since workers are going to bear the brunt of the sequester’s pain. He could just as easily have lined up a group of federal meat inspectors since they will be going on furlough in a few weeks, resulting in grocery shortages. Or a group of air traffic controllers. Or cancer researchers. Or Head Start teachers. Or prison guards.
All of them will be working less in the coming months if Congress does not avert the sequester, producing backups in their specific fields that will be felt by all Americans, as well as a slowdown in spending and financial activity that will have an asteroid-like impact on the economy. The president is driving Republicans a little crazy by holding these illuminated events, because they vividly undermine the basic Republican tenet that vastly reduced spending is good for society — getting government out of the face of Americans who hate it — and good for the economy.
Cancer researchers are American government, and if Republicans don’t think their work should be supported by taxpayers, they are free to make their case publicly. But they won’t do that, because the various government functions facing cuts are both necessary and popular. Instead they talk in dire but abstract terms about the debt threat, pretending there is no need to ever raise taxes, and hoping that voters won’t remember what their dollars actually pay for.
“This is not an abstraction — people will lose their jobs,” Mr. Obama said today. “The unemployment rate might tick up again.”
Not my normal style to post political opinion, but this one is indisputable. I worry for my friends at FEMA, EPA, NOAA, NSF, and even universities conducting important research in climate and disaster management. Their jobs are at stake, and the safety of Americans are, as well. Why?
To many politicians, teachers and firefighters are targets NOT because these cuts actually save money. No. It’s because these are the cuts that the public can “see.”
It is insane to me that obsolete, wasteful projects like the Joint Strike Fighter (2,500 jets for $250 billion? A quarter trillion dollars for a plane that doesn’t work?) or buying new nuclear submarines (more billions) are exempted from sequestration, while things like weather satellites and even smokejumpers are on the chopping block.
Yeah National Journal!
The Scary Truth About How Much Climate Change Is Costing You
By Coral Davenport
While policymakers fiddle, the threat of economic harm posed by rising sea levels, devastating storms, and drought is growing every day.
It should be noted that the original disaster relief bill is filled with pork for Republican, not Democratic, districts. ›
A reporter for Forbes exposes the sheer hypocrisy of Republican double talk when it comes to government spending. On the one hand, Republicans want massive cuts to government spending. On the other, they filled this disaster relief bill with pet projects that have nothing to do with helping Hurricane Sandy victims.
the pork portions of the Senate bill were not earmarked to benefit Democratic members of the upper chamber of Congress. And you may be quite surprised to discover where that money is actually headed once the rich Senate legislation is passed by the House.
A review of the mark-up of the Senate bill reveals that all that extra, non-Sandy related cash is actually set to provide billions for “storm events that occurred in 2012 along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast within the boundaries of the North Atlantic and Mississippi Valley divisions of the Corps that were affected by Hurricanes Sandy and Isaac.”
Why, you might ask, would the Senate be packing billions of taxpayer dollars for these areas of the country that are nowhere near the devastation brought about by superstorm Sandy into a bill designed to bring relief to those suffering from the storm that ripped the northeastern part of the nation?
The answer can be found in a quick review of the states that are set to benefit from the Senate’s extra-special benevolence—states including Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana.
What, you may ask, do these states far from New York and New Jersey have in common?
Each is not only a red state, but each of these states are represented by two Republican senators—with the exception of Louisiana with its one GOP senator.
And what happens when you buy off seven Republican senators with a package of goodies under the guise of storm relief supposedly meant to benefit two blue states?
You get yourself a filibuster proof piece of legislation.
Republican Congress approves $9.7 billion in disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy victims. The balance, $51 billion, is set for a January 11th vote.
Republicans are calling for cuts to other parts of the government to offset the relief, marking a new era in disaster relief response.
I can’t bring myself to quote the interview, so here ya go.