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Archive for December 21st, 2010

2010 Census and Congress: As people move to the south and the coast, influence will be changing

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The 2010 Census numbers are out, and today the Department of Commerce released the data showing the impact on reapportionment in Congress for the next Congressional race.  Given my interests in all things ocean oriented, it is only natural for me to examine the implications on coastal states – and when I say “coastal” I am focusing on the salty coasts.

Generally speaking, people are moving south and they are moving to the coasts. Texas has a huge jump, gaining 4 seats, and Florida is the next biggest winner gaining two.  In all, if you leave aside our coast to the north that we share with Canada (Great Lakes), the coastal states are poised to gain 4 seats on the whole. Whether this means more political influence will get directed to coastal issues, or whether it simply means more people on the coast will result in even more stress on our coastal ecosystems, or some of both, remains to be seen.

But gains in seats aside, looking at the map one becomes hard pressed to understand why coastal issues struggle to be a major part of Congress’s portfolio given the representation in the House.  Texas, Florida and California combined will have 126 seats between just those three coastal states. What we need to do is make “coastal issues” increasingly relevant to the voting public and the elected officials if the ocean portfolio of issues is to move forward.

map of 2010 Cencus apportionment impats on Congress
There’s winners and losers, and trends to be sure.  And one of the policy implications of reapportionment will be on how coastal and ocean issues fare in future Congressional cycles.
For those of you who don’t recall how many seats each state had for the last decade and therefore can’t easily see how many seats were added or lost, here’s a quick breakdown:

States gaining seats in the House of Representatives
ARIZONA +1
FLORIDA +2
GEORGIA +1
NEVADA +1
SOUTH CAROLINA +1
TEXAS +4
UTAH +1
WASHINGTON +1

States losing seats in the House of Representatives
ILLINOIS -1
IOWA -1
LOUISIANA -1
MASSACHUSETTS -1
MICHIGAN -1
MISSOURI -1
NEW JERSEY -1
NEW YORK -2
OHIO -2
PENNSYLVANIA -1

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

December 21, 2010 at 2:15 pm

With the Omnibus process looking all but hopeless, a series of Continuing Resolutions seems likely

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photo of Seantor Harry Reid who failed to find the votes to close debate on the 2011 federal spending bill. A serioes of Continuing Resolutions (CR's) are expedted to keep the federal government limping along through FY2011.

Senator Harry Reid fails to find the votes to close debate on the 2011 federal spending bill. A series of Continuing Resolutions (CR's) are expected to keep the federal government limping along through FY2011.

Senator Inouye’s Omnibus spending bill failed last week, leaving Congress to pass a short Continuing Resolution that runs through today.  With the likely outcome of today’s negotiations resulting in yet another CR for FY2011 extending the federal budget for but just a few more months, the mayhem that having an uncertain federal budget for FY2011 causes in the agencies will continue, with major inefficiencies and little work being accomplished by federal agencies this year as a result.

Chairman Inouye’s statement on the failure of the omnibus spending bill, due to a threat by Republicans to filibuster the bill and a failure of Senator Harry Reid to secure 60 votes for cloture, is a worthwhile read.

Federal environmental agencies, once optimistic due to pro-environment statements by both the Administration and the Hill, now must question how they will operate with a reduced, and potentially significantly reduced, budget in the future.

With the CR that would extend FY2010 levels through March likely to pass today, much work will need to be done to determine what, if any, progress in improving our nation’s environment will be practical or possible in 2011.

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

December 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm