December 15, 2015
The Pennsylvania General Assembly is being downright subversive. Not in the sense of resisting injustice or speaking truth to power, but by subverting the democratic process.
Late last week, the Senate voted 48-2 to pass the latest version of the fiscal code, the bill that implements the state budget. The House could vote to pass the same bill this week. Legislators have packed the fiscal code with provisions that would never survive as stand-alone bills, avoiding debate and public scrutiny. While the tactic isn’t new, it’s a blatant example of “backdoor” governance and an attempt to usurp the authority of government agencies. It may even be unconstitutional.
December 14, 2015
On Wednesday, Congress held its fifth hearing on the August 5 spill of 3 million gallons of toxic mine drainage in to Colorado’s Animas River. On this occasion, the House Natural Resources Committee invited Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Sally Jewell to testify about her agency’s technical report on the causes of the spill.
December 9, 2015
The greater sage grouse is an umbrella species, emblematic of the health of the sagebrush habitat it shares with more than 350 other kinds of wildlife, including world-class populations of mule deer, elk, pronghorn, and golden eagles.
Sage grouse once occupied nearly half a million square miles and numbered in the millions. Now, this iconic Western bird, with its flamboyant dance, occupies a little more than half of its historic range, and its numbers have declined to several hundred thousand.
November 17, 2015
Last week, Senators Udall, Bennet, Heinrich, Markey, and Wyden introduced the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2015 (1872 reform). Pegged as the solution to preventing future Animas River disasters, this legislation will reform the antiquated General Mining Law of 1872 and bring the hardrock mining industry in to the 21st century.
November 10, 2015
Yet another mine failure has caused yet another spill — this time with fatalities.