Lydia DePillis

9/12 Comeback Makes Barely A Ripple
September 22, 2009

A week and a half ago, the Capital exploded in vaguely anti-government sentiment. Tuesday was supposed to be the anti-Glenn Beck crowd's rejoinder: 150 health care rallies around the country, sounding a clarion call for the public option. In Washington, a band of about 20 activists gathered on a barren strip of Pennsylvania Avenue while the occasional passerby scuttled past, probably late to lunch. "We are fired up! We are ready to go!" an organizer yelled, as if trying to convince herself.

What Would Jesus Drive?
September 22, 2009

This Saturday afternoon, at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, the time for ideological issue training had arrived, and a breakout session on climate change was packed.

No More Sex and Drugs in the Interior Department
September 18, 2009

On Wednesday, the Interior Department finally terminated a program few people had ever heard of: the royalty-in-kind (RIK) system, which allowed oil and gas companies to drill in public lands and pay the government in oil, rather than cash. Over the past decade, the program, run out of an office in suburban Denver, had allowed companies to underpay the government by $10 million.

Abortion: The Third Rail of Climate Policy?
September 15, 2009

Earlier this week, Thomas Wire of the London School of Economics published a study concluding that improved family planning is one of the most effective methods of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions we’ve got.

When Thinking About the Front Page, Don't Forget the Back Yard
September 14, 2009

The food community in Washington, D.C., has been abuzz over the Michelle Obama-backed plan to open a farmers' market near the White House, starting Thursday. Powerful imagery, that: Think of the photos, with mounds of rosy tomatoes and peaches against that alabaster abode! Certainly a symbol of this administration’s commitment to sustainable agriculture, building off FLOTUS’s veggie garden on the lawn. Hang on, though. Other than the Obamas, pretty much nobody lives around Lafayette Park, where the new market is slated to open.

Tea'd Off
September 13, 2009

On Saturday, September 12, America threw a gigantic temper tantrum in Washington D.C. Organizers called it the “largest gathering of fiscal conservatives in history,” and they’re probably right. But for an angry, anti-government fit, the march was remarkably civil. They had come in large bands--14 buses from Morristown, New Jersey; 12 from Harford County, Maryland--prepared with picnic baskets and lawn chairs. They festooned their hats with teabags and dressed in Revolutionary-era finery.

EPA Starts Cracking Down On Mountaintop Removal, After All
September 12, 2009

Back in May, the EPA surprised a lot of people when they gave the greenlight to 42 out of the 48 permits for mountaintop-removal mining that were under review, saying that none of the approved projects "would permanently impact high-value streams that flow year-round." Many environmentalists have grumbled that the practice of blowing up mountains to get at the minerals underneath should be stopped altogether, and the move was a warning that the Obama administration might chicken out of its green agenda. But yesterday’s announcement was a sign that a permanent change might well be in the works:

By The Numbers
September 09, 2009

In a 47-minute, 5482-word speech, President Obama hit some words hard--and avoided others entirely. Below is a tally for selected keywords from his remarks as prepared. (Rep.

"NIMBY Backlash?" Not so much.
September 04, 2009

Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, Jeffrey Ball discovers there are people who don’t want renewable energy projects going up in their backyards—the "new NIMBYs," he calls them, fueling a "backlash" against solar and wind plants. But Ball only tells one side of this story. It is true that in some places, people aren’t excited about wind turbines on their ridgelines; he even quotes a couple of them. So did The New York Times, back in 2006—the people raising a ruckus about these sorts of projects may be NIMBYs, but they’re hardly new.

Be Careful What You Wish For, John Boehner
September 04, 2009

So, the Republicans want a rebuttal to President Obama’s big health care speech next Wednesday. A “balanced perspective,” John Boehner says, can “only be achieved” by a response on network television from one of their own. There are two strange elements to this approach. One is the brouhaha Republicans made shortly after Obama’s election about the apparently nonexistent attempt to revive the Fairness Doctrine, which cropped up again just last month.