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environment, Trump Maladministration

Glacier National Park is on fire. It caught fire on Saturday, a day on which the temperature in the park reached 100 degrees F. That was the hottest day in recorded history for the park. It was partly evacuated and closed.

It’s clear that Montana is already becoming a vastly different place. In recent decades, warmer winters have helped mountain pine beetles thrive, turning mountains red with dead pines. In 1850, there were 150 glaciers in the area now known as Glacier National Park. Today there are 26. They’ve been there for 7,000 years — but in just a few decades, the glaciers of Glacier National Park will almost surely be gone. By then the park will need a new name. Glacier Memorial Park doesn’t have the same ring to it.

And, of course, the maladministration is in denial about it.

After a tour of wildfire-ravaged California on Sunday, Montana-born Ryan Zinke, President Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, proposed a more controversial cause: The reason there are too many fires is because there are too many trees.

“It doesn’t matter whether you believe or don’t believe in climate change. What is important is we manage our forests,” Zinke said, adding a shot against environmental groups that have curtailed logging on public lands. While forest management is important, Zinke’s comments made some worry that the Trump administration was hoping to use fires as an excuse to open more public lands for logging.

I suppose it’s true that if one cuts down all the forests there will be fewer wildfires. You might still have prairie fires and grass fires, however, until the dry conditions turn the entire West into a desert. So much winning!

In other environmental news, do enjoy the sight of migratory birds while you can.

 For the past 100 years, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) has, among other things, incentivized industries to avoid the intentional or unintentional slaughter of North America’s native birds, primarily using fines. But now, President Trump’s Interior Department has announced that it will no longer enforce prohibitions on “incidental takes” — the unintended, though still perhaps foreseen, killing of birds, as in open waste pits, uncovered oil spills, lit communication towers and low-visibility power lines.

It’s a bizarre, novel interpretation of the law, as the Audubon Society has pointed out, but it was well-received only by those who stand to benefit financially. The American Petroleum Institute, for instance, praised the decision for providing regulatory “certainty,” which it no doubt does for those eager for one less troublesome chore per toxic waste pit. Where companies would have previously been expected to place nets over poisonous waste pits to discourage birds from landing in their deadly waters, the Trump administration’s decision removes any penalties for failure to do so. Some firms might still bother; others probably won’t.

Whooping cranes, Texas

This is what happens when you allow industry, rather than science, to make environmental law.  Keep in mind that industry doesn’t need a lot of extra poor people around, either.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. moonbat  •  Aug 14, 2018 @12:41 pm

    What's amazing to me is that I sense that public attitude about climate change is finally shifting. I've noticed for a long time, that any news article about climate change could reliably produce a nasty and widespread response from RWNJs. With the prolonged fire season in California, the number and intensity of these denials has definitely decreased and become much more muted. I've seen attitudes soften, even become open to learning more. I had a nice exchange just this morning with a softening denialist who didn't understand how people could know what climate was like 100,000 years ago. I directed her to the local natural history museum and to science shows on cable.

    I saw an article a few days ago (on Alternet?) that talked about the "rising climate change vote". I can tell you that when your state is burning down, and when this is going to take decades to reverse, this vote is going to become a tsunami. In five years denialists are going to universally be seen as stupid as those who advocated smoking in the 1950s. Or worse. 

  2. Tom_b  •  Aug 14, 2018 @2:28 pm

    And Soylent Green is people.

    People wonder why fiction is all dystopic today? Some of it is almost cheery compared to by F morons.

  3. drew  •  Aug 14, 2018 @3:45 pm

    Oh that maladministration! If only they cared, like Obama who started drilling for oil in the Arctic and piping it across Lakota land despite those pesky actual-leftists. Or cared like the Democratic party, which really likes the environment despite needing – needing I tell you – to take carbon fuel dollars. If only these chuckleheads in the current administration would wake up!

  4. maha  •  Aug 14, 2018 @5:13 pm

    drew — point taken. And I saw an article recently saying that the DNC just reversed a previous resolution not to take donations from the fossil fuel industry. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

  5. uncledad  •  Aug 14, 2018 @6:22 pm

    Drew, what is your point? Are you justifying Trumps radical EPA policies because the last democrat to hold that office didn't 100% tow the environmentalist line? Trumps environmental policies are so off the chart comparing him to Obama is laughable. The man is trying to roll back restrictions on Asbestos? I think you might be what is commonly referred to as a purity pony! It's one thing to hold democrats accountable but comparing this president to Obama is a fucking joke.

  6. Bernie  •  Aug 15, 2018 @8:30 am

    Lemmings do not think and follow mass movements, or so homo sapiens who behave like lemmings resemble.  Incredible that we (with a little help from the Russians) elect a leader who tells the mass movement to run faster.  So many humans in some other  nations wisely hesitate to follow us.  Unfortunately, that giant sucking effect we are making, is dragging all with us.  Wise people must break free and avoid getting trampled in the process or we all go down.

  7. Ed  •  Aug 15, 2018 @8:45 am

    It's good to see that the ice age continues to fade away.

  8. spirilis  •  Aug 15, 2018 @8:59 am

    I need some advice uncledad.  If nothing was done in the past and nothing is being done in the present should I plan for nothing in the future?

     

  9. Bernie  •  Aug 15, 2018 @10:22 am

    No spiralis, though I cannot speak for uncledad,  you should prepare for a sudden intense impact.  As I hear translated from lemming-speak, all will be better if we survive that. At least the age of magical and squishy thinking will come to an abrupt and welcome end.

  10. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 15, 2018 @10:26 am

    At least Putin has s reason to be a climate denier:

    As Siberia warms up, the receding snow and melting permafrost makes searching for and then mining minerals easier and cheaper.  Ditto, oil.

    So for Russia (Putin), the result a melting of Siberia means, KA-CHING!!!

    tRUMP reason to be a climate-denier is, I guess, to keep Vlad "Dear Leader" Putin happy – AND silent!   

  11. moonbat  •  Aug 15, 2018 @11:01 am

    @cu nd gulag: Bingo.

  12. Billikin  •  Aug 15, 2018 @11:53 am

    It's not like Republicans are inherently anti-environment. Didn't Nixon create the EPA? Poppy Bush believed in climate change. It's just that the deniers have been busy spreading anti-climate change propaganda for decades. 

    As for melting permafrost, that will release massive amounts of methane, which is worse than CO2.