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Archive for February 2010

At today’s Senate EPW hearing on the EPA budget, Inhofe goes off of the deep end.

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I would like to say something more eloquent than this about Senator Inhofe’s opening remarks at the EPA budget hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee but at this moment of shock I am only left with the following:

Is he nuts, or does he just have his head in the sand?  Denying that anthropogenic climate change isn’t real won’t stop it. Finding flaws in some of the climate change studies won’t refute the rest of the overwhelming evidence.  And this generation’s greedy use of climate emitting gases that steals the hope for a healthy planet from future generations is nothing but irresponsible.

And don’t get me started on how Senators citing snow on the ground in DC is not evidence that anthropogenic climate change isn’t real.  Are these elected officials really that simple, or more realistically are they just hoping that the public is that easily misinformed?

Written by Will Nuckols

February 23, 2010 at 9:38 am

It is a sad day in Florida for corals, fish and the people who love them

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This afternoon Associated Press reported that a previously successful project in Florida comes to a halt.  The project, which I conceived, was designed to align the training needs of military divers, Army landing craft operations, and others in our armed services with the need for a massive salvage project that sought to remove hundreds of thousands of tires from an area a mile off of the sandy beaches of Ft. Lauderdale.

Once poised to save taxpayers $28 million, this project’s efficient use of existing government resources is stalled.

Brian Skoloff, an AP reporter in Florida, was able to get the answer to the question that many have been asking for months:  When will the divers and ship crews be back in Ft. Lauderdale for the next round of training and coral reef restoration?   It is unsettling that the answer is at least 2012.

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy firm.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

Written by Will Nuckols

February 10, 2010 at 4:13 pm

A few enviro agency blurbs from the White House 2011 budget

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Below are a few of the summaries for a handful of environmentally important agencies.  Analysis still pending……


DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE:
There will be an overall reduction of DOC’s budget to $9.1 billion to the agency, a 34.4 percent decline.
DOC/NOAA summary:
“Supports Improvements in Weather Forecasting, Climate Monitoring, Fisheries Management, and Ocean Programs. The Budget maintains continuity of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite coverage needed for monitoring weather and climate by providing over $2 billion to fund the development and acquisition of NOAA’s polar orbiting and geo-stationary weather satellite systems, satellite-borne measurements of sea level and other climate variables, and other space-based observations. The Budget supports enhancements to climate science and services, including improved modeling and assessments at global and regional levels. The Budget advances the President’s National Ocean Policy with funding for coastal zone management and planning, competitive grants in support of regional ocean partnerships, integrated ecosystem assessments, catch-share based fisheries management, and research on ocean acidification.”

The President proposes a budget increase for NOAA, increasing its 2010 budget of $4,853 million to a FY2011 level of $5,554 million.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR:
A reduction from $12.15 billion in 2010 to $12.04 billion next year.

“Funding Highlights:

Promotes renewable energy development on Federal lands and waters with the goal of permitting at least 9,000 megawatts of energy capacity on Department of the Interior lands by the end of 2011.

Stays on track to fully fund Land and Water Conservation Fund programs by 2014 by providing nearly $620 million to acquire new lands for national parks, forests and refuges, protect endangered species habitat, and promote outdoor recreation.

Helps Federal land managers address the impact of climate change by expanding the Department’s science capability to develop vital decision support tools.

Improves the return to taxpayers from U.S. mineral production through royalty reforms and industry fees.

Strengthens Native American communities with funds to enhance the management capacity of tribal governments and improve coordination between Federal agencies on law enforcement.

Prepares responsibly for wildfires with full funding for suppression and a contingency reserve fund.

Promotes water conservation and science while balancing competing water resource needs.”

Notable summary highlights include:
“Establishes Climate Science Centers.
Managing ecosystems and wildlife habitat that are facing the impact of climate change requires reliable data on changes, supporting science, and tools to bring these together to inform land management decisions. DOI is establishing a framework, which includes Climate Science Centers that will focus on the impact of climate change on a broad array of Departmental resources. The Budget includes an increase of $14 million for these Centers to provide land managers with vital decision support tools based on the latest
science.”

“Conserves Landscapes and Ecosystems.
The Administration continues its commitment to acquire and conserve landscapes and ecosystems that lack adequate protection with increased funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The Budget provides an increase of $106 million, or 31 percent, for LWCF programs in DOI that protect Federal lands for wildlife and public enjoyment and provide State grants for park and recreational improvements.
Total LWCF funding for the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior is nearly $620 million, keeping the Administration on track to fully fund LWCF programs at $900 million by 2014. In addition, the Budget proposes to reauthorize and expand DOI’s authority under the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, so that the proceeds from the sale of low-conservation value lands may be used to acquire additional high-priority conservation lands.”

US Fish And Wildlife Service will have a modest reduction in funding from 1,647 million in 2010 to 1,642 million in 2011.

The National Park Service will experience a reduction from $2,791 million in 2010 to $2,759 in 2011.

USGS will see a budget increase of $21 million, up from its 2010 level of $1,112 million.

Minerals Management Service will see a $9 million increase to a FY2011 level of $190 million.

A list of additional agencies whose budgets have an impact on environmental and ocean issues will be coming soon….

13 mins and holding

Written by Will Nuckols

February 1, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Posted in Environmental news

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“New Era of Responsibility” is the buzz at OMB but does this budget put funds toward environmental issues in a responsible manner? It is too early to tell.

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The 2011 budget is released by President Obama today.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/

The White House is labeling this the “New Era of Responsibility” but does the 2011 budget put funds toward environmental issues in a responsible manner, or because of the extremely tough national situation with unemployment, will “environmental responsibility” need to take a back seat to stimulating job growth?  We keep saying that jobs and environment are not either/or propositions.  Does the 2011 budget support this proposition?  Much more analysis is needed.  With press conferences in many federal departments happening today, the first cut in the news will be about the most head turning headlines, such as education, health care, and defense and warfighting budgets, but hopefully analysts will turn their attention to the environmental implications of the budget soon.

Written by Will Nuckols

February 1, 2010 at 11:54 am