A New Movement of Sorts – Reusable Toilet Paper

I thought I was among the vanguard of sustainability when I installed a couple of those water saving two-button toilets in our household – you know, the ones with the small and big button for small and big jobs.  But I can’t, and probably won’t, top this new trend, reusable toilet paper.  Can you imagine attending a nice dinner party at your friend’s house and, when that biological urge arises, discretely making your way to the powder room, and then all of a sudden the shear horror and dilemma of what to do.  Well apparently this is not all that far-fetched, and happened to Whitney (we’ve withheld her last name to protect the immortaly embarrased).  Continue reading

EPA Priorities in the Waning Hours of the Obama Administration

Toward the end of any administration, there’s always a mad dash by EPA to push through as much of its regulatory agenda as it can.  This past Friday, I was asked to pinch hit for Nancy Stoner, head of EPA’s Water Office, at the ABA’s annual environmental law conference in Baltimore.  Due to the partial government shutdown all EPA officials were threatened prohibited from making any public appearance to prognosticate on the agency’s priorities over the last three years of the Obama Administration.  Sorry, Nancy – we missed you.  But not to be overshadowed by the Air Office and the looming showdown on climate change regulations, I promised big things from you and your office (you’re welcome!), namely the “Big Three” rules, stormwater, waters of the U.S., and nutrients.  Continue reading

Good Intentions Leading to Bad Policy – The Ethanol Quagmire

The American Petroleum Institute this week filed suit against EPA, seeking to overturn the agency’s renewable fuel standards that require 10% of gasoline to be blended with biofuel or ethanol, made from grass, wood chips, corn and other plant materials.  This is one of those requirements DCF 1.0with many detractors and odd bedfellows, that is opposed by not only oil and gas, but by conservative and environmental groups as well.  As John Upton over at Grist points out, only the ethanol lobby seems to like it.  While environmental groups oppose it on environmental grounds, CEI and Cato have long argued that federal subsidies for ethanol should be phased out, as ethanol harms fuel and food prices.  And there simply isn’t enough of it to provide a steady cost-effective supply to blenders.  The blended ethanol fuels, e.g., E10, are also causing havoc with drivers, whose engines may not tolerate the ethanol.  AAA has cautioned drivers about the potential for damage to vehicles and voided warranties. Continue reading

Beware of New Construction – Safety Hazard Ahead

I’m excited to report that this blog will soon be undergoing a redesign, with a vibrant new look and a more ecumenical theme.  Due to the volume of visitors and the desire to provide a greater variety of content and perspective, this blog will be moving toward a multi-contributor platform with a continued focus on the important topic of conservation and environmental stewardship from a philosophically conservative orientation.  I will also be inviting some of my not-so-conservative political friends to offer guest essays to add to the depth and richness of perspective, and to mix up the dialogue on occasion. I’m also very excited about showcasing the incredible nature photography of my cousin, Greg Clark, whose work, like this below, will adorn the front page.  So stay tuned.


EPA Decision Will Effect the Future of Gulf of Mexico

For water junkies like me, or those who care about environmental restoration, you might be interested in this significant decision out of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana that compels the U.S. EPA to make a “necessity determination” on whether it needs to adopt numeric nutrient criteria to achieve restoration of the Gulf of Mexico.  As I’ve blogged previously, the Gulf suffers from a large “dead zone” caused by too much nutrients from, among other sources, agricultural runoff and sewage treatment plants discharging into the Mississippi River and its tributaries.  These extra nutrients reduce the oxygen available to crabs, fish and other aquatic critters in the Gulf.  The Mississippi drains all or parts of 31 states and stretches even up into Canada.  So this is one of those wicked problems that requires significant time and resources to fix. Continue reading

Michael Mann v. National Review – Update

Linking to Jonathan Adler’s latest update on the Michael Mann defamation lawsuit against National Review. For those who haven’t followed this case, the partisan and outspoken climate scientist, Mann, took offense to comments made last year by NR’s Mark Steyn, who called Mann’s climate work “fraudulent” and called into the question his professional integrity, mocking Mann’s oft-repeated false claims in holding himself out as a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Mann sued the conservative organizations NR and the Competitive Enterprise Institute for alleged defamatory statements made against him.

Although Mann’s climate theories and science may ultimately turn out to be correct, he’s about as good for the advancement of objective science as a large scary arachnid to a little girls’ tea party. Zealous advocacy, political partisanship, and thin skin, earning him the dubious title of “Climate Charlatan” by some, have made him an easy – and, yes, enjoyable – target for climate skeptics and opposing partisans.

In any event, a few weeks ago, NR’s and CEI’s request to have the lawsuit dismissed was rejected by a DC Superior Court judge. Adler, over at The Volokh Conspiracy Blog, provides interesting perspective on this case, as it potentially heads to trial. NR and CEI are being represented by their respective lead counsel, Shannen Coffin and David Rivkin.