Environmental Protection Agency
April 07, 2011
In 1903, when the Fisk Generating Station in Chicago had its first steam engine turbine installed, engineers hailed the new coal-fired power plant as a marvel—“a monster in its day,” as one magazine put it. But, over the years, the boxy red-brick structure has become, in the eyes of many locals, a monster of a different sort.
March 17, 2011
The day that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act was signed, March 23, 2010, was also the day that the first challenges to the law were filed in federal court. Back then, the notion that health care reform could be overturned seemed remote. For one thing, it would require the Supreme Court to abandon decades of precedent. But nearly as big an obstacle, it seemed, was that the filer of the first suit to move forward was Kenneth T.
Man Versus Wild
March 16, 2011
The earthquake and potential nuclear catastrophe in Japan have brought home a set of questions that have haunted philosophers for hundreds of years—and have played an important role in American politics for over a century. They have to do with the relationship between humanity and nature—not nature as “the outdoors,” but as the obdurate bio-geo-physiochemical reality in which human beings and other animals dwell. To what extent does nature set limits on human possibilities?
Republicans Unanimously Reject Climate Science
March 15, 2011
Well, this is depressing: House Republicans rejected amendments offered Tuesday by Democrats that called on Congress to accept the scientific consensus that climate change is occurring, that it is caused in large part by human activity and it is a threat to human health. The amendments, offered at an Energy and Commerce Committee markup of legislation to block Environmental Protection Agency climate change rules, are part of an effort by House Democrats to get Republicans on the record on climate science. Committee ranking Democrat Rep.
The GOP's Anti-EPA Campaign vs. Public Opinion
February 17, 2011
House Republicans have voted to slash 80% of the budget from the E.P.A. department collecting emissions data from corporations: House lawmakers voted Wednesday evening to drastically reduce the budget of an Environmental Protection Agency program that collects data on greenhouse-gas emissions from U.S.
Show Me the Money
February 15, 2011
President Obama’s 2012 budget contains an impressive array of spending cuts: Pell Grants, EPA state water infrastructure programs, and housing for the elderly, just to name a few. I, like many other writers at TNR, am unhappy with some of these cuts. Deep cuts were probably inevitable, given the professed determination to balance budgets. But these cuts would have been more tolerable had the Obama administration put an equal emphasis on increasing revenues. Thatt’s not to say that Obama didn’t try at all—he clearly did.
Is This What The Climate-Change Debate Has Come To?
February 10, 2011
Spend enough time listening to doubters and deniers of climate science speak, and you start to recognize certain familiar tics and tropes. There's the personal conversion story, for one. The skeptic explains how, once upon a time, he, too, blindly accepted everything climatologists have to say about how human activity is heating the planet.
No Love Gained
January 27, 2011
Cliff Stearns wanted answers. Just not, mind you, complicated answers. Stearns, the Florida Republican who now chairs the House energy and commerce oversight subcommittee, decided to hold a hearing Wednesday on Barack Obama’s promise to snip away outdated federal regulations. In theory, Stearns had the ideal witness: Cass Sunstein, the White House’s "regulatory czar," who, in his past life as a law professor (and frequent TNR contributor), seemed like he published a new book on subjects like cost-benefit analysis every few months.
January 25, 2011
In tonight's State of the Union, President Obama will propose to freeze discretionary, non-defense spending at current levels for five years. I believe ABC News' Jake Tapper was the first to report the story. Administration officials are now confirming it, via statements like this: As a down payment toward reducing the deficit, the President is calling for a five-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending. In areas outside the freeze, we also will be looking for cuts and efficiencies.
Obama’s Cost-Benefit Revolution
January 22, 2011
Tuesday, the president issued a new executive order on cost-benefit analysis and regulation. Already, the right has denounced it as a paean to collectivism and the left has declared that Obama has sold out to business groups. In fact, both sides are incorrect. The surprising reality is that cost-benefit analysis, as it will likely be practiced under the Obama administration, is not nearly as threatening as its detractors suggest. Then again, neither is it as revolutionary as its supporters like to imagine. Long ago, cost-benefit analysis was a rallying cry for conservatives.