The Washington Post listed their 10 most consequential environmental stories. Below is part two with summaries and my comments (italics).
5. Action on the Dakota Access and Keystone EX pipelines. According to the story, “As winter began to fade, it became clear that camps of protesters in Cannon Ball, N.D. who for months had fought a pipeline that they argued could threaten the drinking water and cultural sites of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.”
Having trashed the site (bringing tears from Native Americans who lived there), participants went home. Some attendees were concerned by the Standing Rock Sioux claims; others were pipeline haters who want to end all fossil fuel use and don’t understand timing or consequences.
The State Department had given its OK to the pipeline route more than once, as had most regulatory bodies that were part of the long procedure. President Obama let the decision hang for months, and then called for an end to the largely-completed project. Days after taking office President Trump signed an executive order allowing the project to continue. Opponents will fight on, but in time the regulatory and judicial hurdles will be cleared.
6. Challenges to the Endangered Species Act. The Post says the 44-year old Actis “arguably one of the most powerful environmental laws in the world, credited with saving at least a dozen animal and plant species from extinction.” Pending legislation by Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, would negate parts of the law that require the Federal Government to ignore economic impact when considering alternative measures to save animals, and the mandate to pay all court costs to environmental groups that win related law suits, and others.
It comes at a high price: people have gone to jail for picking up an eagle feather that they found in a protected area; “dozens of animal and plant species” may have been saved, but some were not saved due to the Act; others live in greater numbers than they have for a century or more, so are “placed” in areas where they never lived. It’s been abused — even worse, it doesn’t apply to the rare and protected birds that are killed every day by huge wind farms from California to vast parts of the United States. The Post (1/12/18) reported that the Department of Interior is considering a new interpretation of the related Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Aimed specifically at oil and gas companies, it continues to allow wind farms and their owner to wreak havoc on protected birds. That will continue because environmentalists favor wind power, no matter what the consequences to their “cause.” Something must be done to fix this tangle.
7. Epic hurricanes and wildfires. The tally sheet as published serves to remind us of the size and scope of the fires and the damage to lives and property that they, and the repeated hurricanes, caused from California, to Texas, Florida, neighboring states, and Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands.
9. Climate march on Washington. “[D]idn’t draw nearly the crowd that the Women’s March did in January” or the March for Science, or other, earlier ones. But it seems to have been to get the march organizers “gearing up for a long fight ahead.”
Not much on these two items. No one even tried to blame the hurricanes and fires with Global Warming. Perhaps they’re learning that no respectable climatologist believes or would argue any connection — except Al Gore, who admits that he lies at times to get people worked up.