It’s possible the OMB might strengthen this weak tweak of the awful Bush rules-

Interior sends revised endangered species rule to OMB. By Allison Winter. Greenwire in the New York Times

 
avatar
About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

26 Responses to A modest reversal of Bush's last-minute anti-ESA regulations is advancing

  1. avatar kt says:

    When, where and how did Salazar oppose the Bush ESA changes? Does anyone know?

    I bet that one way or the other Salazar and/or congress guts/squelches/fast-tracks ESA Consultations for industria “renewables”. Since the big enviro groups are bought off on this. They are hellbent on destroying Nevada, eastern Oregon, the sagebrush country of NE California, some of Idaho – and a bit of what is left of Wyoming, too – to save the polar bear …

  2. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    It won’t save the polar bear – an increase in consumption of “renewables” does not necessarily correlate with a decrease in consumption of fossil fuels when the regulators do nothing to decommission coal plants – it just fosters increased demand which quickly catches supply, especially when true costs are externalizes onto public dollars, public landscapes, and public wildlife and we are left with no actual alleviation of the economic pressures against decommissioning coal-plants. Americans use twice the energy to maintain a similar standard of living as those in Europe – big greens and Obama should be focused on exhausting as much of that potential for conservation to alleviate that consumption disparity as is possible before hitching their wagon/greenwashing the corporate sell-out of our public landscapes and wildlife. An “all-of-the-above” approach is not an economically feasible argument, as popular as it may be among big-greens, because the two approaches compete for economic resource. If you conserve, there isn’t the free-market demand to prompt price-competitiveness for renewable supply. If you produce “renewable” energy, especially at the mega-utility scales proposed and by infusing artificial competitiveness via externalization of cost onto public landscape, wildlife, and mass infusion of public subsidy – then the free-market incentive to develope conservation technologies and to conserve in general dries up.

    Once again – Americans use close to twice the energy as many European countries to sustain the same standard of living – let’s save the polar-bear by conserving – do more with less.

    Screw Salazar.

  3. avatar TimothyB says:

    I agree that the US is wasteful in the way we use energy but comparing the US to the EU is sort of misleading don’t you think? The difference in the size of landmass, population densities and cultural “personal space” makes the comparison like apple to crab apples.

  4. avatar outsider says:

    I’ve been to EU and well they can keep it, everything is cement and people are living on top of each other. Everything is locked up so good luck finding a place to go play, their cost of fuel is considerably higher, they smoke like chinneys, well you’ve heard the old joke about what you call a friendly Eurepon, a touriest, that ones not quite fair because once they leave their own country they are quite friendly. Its really interesting to see what happens to a country when the have to reley on tourism for their bread and butter, trust me its not pretty this year over there, mkaes me glad that we have as much indusrty and ag here in the states.

  5. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    TimothyB,

    The difference in the size of landmass

    The difference in land mass illustrates an inefficiency of commerce and transport – but it is still a choice Americans make. Example, we use relatively big vehicles – not so much because we are confronted by an honest market choice and prefer big, spacious, “safe”, and inefficient vehicles – anyone would, apples to apples prefer a bigger car – but because budget choice at the pump – the cost of owning a bigger vehicle – is not honest – or at least does not encourage conservation, there is more economic “value” to people in waste. that value choice is made for us – not via democratic representation of what we decide is good for us, but by deregulated industries who have an economic interest in us consuming more — at least one of them is going down for it right now. Wind and Solar are NO exception to that. fuel prices are artificially low via geopolitical control of international markets (war & need to maintain military to keep stability at the well – stick in hand, the benefits of the exercise of the soft power of hegemony etc.), willingness to forego incorporation of externality costs (environment etc.). So – with apparently relatively cheap fuel, we make the choice to buy bigger vehicles than they do in Europe – and we use those vehicles to travel to visit family, do business, transport goods – rather than smaller vehicles or say, rail. If we paid the real costs of fuel – incorporated the costs to the environment, a percentage of our military expenditure (proportional to those military ventures/bases funded to support maintenance of our energy “interest”), and infrastructure – in fuel tax (discretionary tax) rather than the income tax (compulsory tax) we pay to address those things for fuel now (remember, we pay income tax whether we use the fuel or not), we might make different decisions about how much fuel we use — that might mean driving less frequently, less distance, or buying smaller cars. It might mean a better market for rail (both cargo & passenger). Europeans pay more for transport (both cargo & passenger) directly – at the pump – and so they are afforded their choice is more reflective of what they value — we pay more for fuel to uncle sam via income taxes (that do not reflect as directly what we value) that gets used to subsidize inefficient market behavior whether we like it or not – at the individual scale, the commercial scale, and even the industrial scale. which makes the choice to waste fuel at the pump (transporting both cargo & passenger with bigger trucks/vehicles rather than rail, driving the 4 blocks for milk, buying shit from far away that might just as likely be bought locally) a lot easier – even economically more valuable given that BS organization of things. So yeah, I guess you might call that apples to crab-apples… This same principle is reflected throughout our electricity markets – especially since deregulation – and there are so many opportunities for us to do the same things we’re doing, even more, while using less.

    population densities

    You must live out west – me too. First, see above – these things happen – population densities can often reflect the way economies are organized. Additionally, there’s a lot of dense populations in the United States – most of our population is such. Third, there are a plethora of ways to drastically reduce our level of energy consumption and waste while maintaining equitable standards of living with the densities that we’ve got right now – even out west. — there is still so much potential for conservation – enough potential to dry up the artificial/marketed urgency to tear up the Mojave, Brown’s Bench, and a thousand other landscapes and species’ habitats.

    cultural “personal space”

    boy now – that “cultural” thing is a popular one in the west (‘regional’ west & ‘international’ west no less !) – especially to excuse environmentally damaging behavior… perhaps if i was just more culturally literate – it’d make it just fine to club a baby seal, or clearcut the amazon … but here’s a question for you – is it the culture that grows the energy economy or is it the energy economy that sets about a particular cultural predisposition ? It’s not a good argument. First, see the first point. Second, see the second point. Of course our western culture is more predisposed to value personal space (not most of our population – which is urban & dense) – it’s impossible to say which set about which to begin with, or how it would react should we set about a more honest conservation oriented economy — it’s not impossible to set about radical improvements in efficiency & conservation by committing to more honest and more direct market choices.

    Stop subsidizing waste — pull the money for those subsidies that waste out of the compulsory income tax and put them into discretionary consumption taxes – if it takes a military presence in the middle east to stabilize energy supply, pay for whatever proportion of the cost of that presence that is attributable to that national interest at the pump. Pay for all road maintenance at the pump. Pay for a representative proportion of reforestation and restoration of carbon sequestering landscapes – at the pump and by the kW. Stop subsidizing beef which wastes so much energy, water, and landscapes – let people pay the true cost if they want to eat 3 servings of beef twice a day. Not so many would – and their lives and our healthcare system would be healthier for it. And cut subsidy toward those things by alleviating income tax. I shouldn’t have to pay for somebody’s steak – or war – or lights left on. I do now – we all do. We’ll use less — which doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll do less — it just means we’ll do it differently, more efficiently, and maybe people will decide to let different things enrich their lives – like say, a hike every week or a garden every other day as opposed to a hummer, more disposable shit from China that ends up in the dump the next week anyway, etc.

    It can be done – it’s already being done – that’s what the comparison to the EU demonstrates. And the EU certainly has so much more potential to do things more efficiently – to conserve even more ! I don’t think that’s misleading at all.

    But efficiency – Negawatts – cut into Big Wind and Big Solar’s bottom line just the same. And they certainly have a brilliant PR program – they had a pretty brilliant PR program back when they were coal, oil, gas, nuclear, etc. too — they’re the same people.

  6. avatar TimothyB says:

    Look Brian….my point is that we have big differences between the two places. If we become like the EU, then of course we can conserve energy just like them.

    So, IF we magically all buy smart cars today, we will sink toward the EU level of fuel consumption. IF we all buy 1000 square foot homes and magically all the 2000+ square foot homes disappear we save on energy.

    For god sakes, IF, IF, IF….Can change we or more importantly, WILL our lifestyle completely in 1 year or how about 15 years? I doubt we will see solar on every house and wind power on every “ranchette” in the US or even a modest 20% of our homes in the next 15 years. In short, we can but will we? Be honest…the Utopian model you wish the US would live, will not happen in the short term.

    Comparing the US to the EU is like comparing apples to apples. Same make and model but one grown in the Garden of Eden and one grown on the corporate farm. One tastes great and one tastes like cardboard. One cost $15 and one cost $1.00. Which one do you think the average joe will buy.

  7. avatar TimothyB says:

    1st line in paragraph 3 above should read:
    “For god sakes, IF, IF, IF….Can we change or more importantly, WILL our lifestyle change completely in 1 year or how about 15 years?

  8. avatar JB says:

    Oh for Pete’s sake, the point of the comparison is that people get by with less and still have the same (or better) quality of life. Will it take time to change the policies to push us toward conservation? Sure, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. The rest of your apples to oranges/apples analogy and outsider’s extremely narrow view of Europe typify the arrogance of people from the U.S.

  9. avatar outsider says:

    JB, your dam right I’m arrogant when it comes to dealing with the Europeans, after all, if it wasn’t for the United States of America the whole dam place would be speeking german and goose steping around exterminating people who didn’t fit their mold. We saved their buts not just once but TWICE, so yes I for one am glad that we are not like Europe.

  10. Given some time, energy efficiency can be increased almost painlessly.

    Look back at the the 1970s when efficiency efficiency standards for appliances like refrigerators and washing machines was introduced. When people bought new appliances, they worked just as well, they didn’t cost more, and they used less electricity.

    Every time we bought one over the years, our electricity bill went down.

  11. Outsider,

    That is true, but regarding these issues it is not relevant. I should also note it was a long time ago.

  12. Hi outsider, could it be you played the dam nasty American over here dealing with us damn Europeans? Long live all our damn stereotypes. Kind regards from Peter alias Herm´the Germ´

  13. Thank you, Peter.

    It’s a good reminder that this isn’t a cafe on the edge of the desert in Idaho or Fox News.

  14. avatar Virginia says:

    If I might interject a personal note into this discussion; while touring Europe several years ago and visiting relatives who taught school in Germany for the armed forces, we noticed that the amount of trash the Germans were allowed to set outside their door for collection was about one-fourth the amount our American relatives created. They were forced to take their garbage to the base to dispose of because they were not allowed that much trash on “the economy.” The Europeans shopped every day only buying what they needed for the day, using shopping bags and food with very little packaging; therefore, not as much waste. When we go to our American grocery stores, the wasteful packaging is not getting better, it is getting worse. When I see a Prius parked outside a store and the engine is left running, I am astonished. We took a lot away from that European trip, mainly that we would make every effort to conserve garbage, by composting, turning off lights when not in a room (driving my kids crazy), driving a small car and not taking several trips a day to town, hanging clothes on a clothesline, etc., etc. Back then, gasoline in Europe was $4.00/gal. and people just accepted it. We rode the trains all over Europe on a Eurailpass. Why is it so difficult for Americans to sacrifice anything and as you say, the comfort level is not impacted, I live that way. It can be done, but it is not being done.

  15. avatar Maska says:

    Hello, Peter, et al.,

    I really have to weigh in on this question of the relative energy costs of the Eurpean and American lifestyles. I had the privilege of living in your country for three short periods back in the 60’s and 70’s, courtesy of the U. S. Army.

    We lived “on the economy,” in a three story, three family German house in a mid-sized Bavarian city for over two years. Contrary to the notion expressed above that everybody in Europe lives in a sea of concrete, our house was situated on a tree shaded street. It had a grassy yard with red currant bushes, roses, and a sweet cherry tree (whose fruits our landlord shared, to the delight of our daughter), peach trees, and other fruit trees. Our six-year-old could walk a block, cross the quiet street, and buy a liter of milk at the corner store, all without parental aid or company.

    In addition to the fruit trees in the yard, our landlord’s family had a little “garden house” in an area of small garden plots in a centralized location a couple of blocks away (i.e. within easy walking distance), where they, like many other residents, grew all kinds of produce and flowers.

    Our flat was about seven hundred square feet in area and had a modest living room, two small bedrooms, a fairly roomy, eat-in kitchen, an entry hall, one bath, and a balcony overlooking the backyard. It was small, true, but comfortable and efficient.

    A well-designed streetcar network took us nearly everywhere we wanted to go, including the downtown area and the zoo. We had a car (a small European Ford), but used it primarily for out-of-town trips through the local countryside on weekends. Going to Berlin in those days of a divided Germany was best accomplished by train, as were trips to London and other cities.

    One huge benefit of driving less and using public transit more was the fact that it forced us to walk–and helped burn off some of the calories we ingested in the form of all that delicious German beer and food.

    Yes, living in a more densely populated community requires some adjustments in personal habits. Turning the music down at ten o’clock, refraining from washing the car or running loud machinery on Sunday morning, and similar rules of behavior are just common courtesy, and frankly, a little more of that would improve the quality of life in many U.S. communities, in my opinion.

    Playing by the local rules gained us considerable acceptance from our neighbors, and made for an unforgettable experience for us and our daughter. We want to thank your fellow countrymen and women for their hospitality and for demonstrating that you don’t have to have a 3,000 square foot house and a big car to live well. It’s a lesson that continues to affect how we live to this day.

  16. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    TimothyB,

    if we can summon the motivation and public support to take a “moon-leap” to prop up a bullshit energy industry that’s going to lay waste to so many of our children’s landscapes and wildlife to maintain a status quo relationship to waste- then I believe we can take a leap right here on earth and commit to moving a great amount of our expenditure on fuel and electricity from compulsory income tax revenues, to discretionary consumption tax revenues. The rest would work itself out. We’d be more like Europe ~ drive less, leave the lights on less, eat less meat – all of our own volition – because it’d pay to do so, and I’m pretty sure Peter wouldn’t mind if we kept our own language.

  17. avatar outsider says:

    Ralph there is an old saying that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, so yes it was a long time ago but not so long ago that people still are very touchy about being called “arrogent americans”.

    “Herm the Germ” I travel very well, seek out locals and local spots, customs and food. I have yet to have anyone call or refere to me as a nasty american. I have however had several locals apoligies for the way some of their countrymen and women treated me when they found out I was an american. But I would have to say hands down, the people of south america, asia, austrial, and new zeland are miles more friendly, I think its just in their nature, they are less stresed out from living on top of each other, and most just seem to love life a little bit more. But hey thats just my personal observations. I also know that if you ask people where they would rather live the majority of them say the United States of America, not Europe, so go figure maybe we are still doing something right.

  18. avatar jdubya says:

    Hey, here is a way we can get rid of Salazar!!

    * Ken Salazar, Interior Secretary
    Born 1955. Former U.S. senator from Colorado. The state’s attorney general for six years before his 2004 election to the Senate. He would receive favorable treatment from his onetime Senate colleagues, and his Hispanic heritage would boost his nomination.

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/05/01/list-of-possible-replacements-for-justice-david-souter/#more-50052

  19. avatar kim kaiser says:

    i would highly recommend that for all of you that want to be like europe, , simply move the hell over there!!! go do the solar thing there or whatever your flavor of discontent is with the United States Our ancestors left europe and england for a better way of life, a different legal system, a different tax system, a different work system. For the life of me I just dont see the attraction to the european way,,,

    And i also see absolutely no reason for anyone especially the so called president to belittle and to ever apologize to any other country for any action we take. Our country through the UN, and all the other world groups of give away, have been the major suppliers of money, technoloty, food, protection, storm and earthquake aid for most of the modern years, and for any country to complain or any representative to bow under is well, quite frankly, chicken shit!! Hell, if hussein had bowed over any further when he cowled down to king faud, he could have picked the camel crap out of his toes with his teeth, People all over the world clamor to get here and stay here because we are not europe or england. So move on, go over there, get your dose!

  20. Kim,

    I think you have a poor sense of history.

    This greedy, Republican fundamentalism you advocate only dates from the Reagan Administration.

    In my mind Obama’s policies are a welcome, if muted, return to installation of economic democracy that began with Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s when he attacked the “economic royalty” that had thrown millions out of work and brought the United States and world economy down.

    He built safeguards into capitalism (such as separating banking from investment banking and a social safety net). As a result, Roosevelt saved both capitalism and democracy by modifying the harsh and self-destructive aspects of capitalism.

    If this is not successfully done again, something truly radical or reactionary will follow.

    Fortunately your brand of Republicanism is dying just like that of Herbert Hoover.

  21. avatar Tilly says:

    JDubya- that is hilarious. Salazar for Supreme Court! Salazar for Supreme Court! (Of course we might regret it later.)

  22. avatar Ken Cole says:

    Kim, your side lost, and it lost big. Love it or leave it.

  23. avatar JB says:

    “Our ancestors left europe and england for a better way of life, a different legal system, a different tax system, a different work system.”

    –Yes. During a time when Kings reigned. Things have changed a bit since then, wouldn’t you agree?

    “And i also see absolutely no reason for anyone …to ever apologize to any other country for any action we take.”

    –How about torture? How about civilian deaths caused by military actions? This attitude is the reason why much of the rest of the world thinks we’re a bunch of asshoIes.

    “People all over the world clamor to get here and stay here because we are not europe or england.”

    –Actually, people clamor to get to Europe (and England) as well, as the European model offers a chance at economic prosperity. FYI: Immigrants tend to migrate to states with decent social welfare systems (it’s why, for instance, Minnesota has very large Somali and Mung populations); nobody is immigrating from these countries to Wyoming (which I’m sure is just find with its current residents).

  24. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    it’s not self-hateful or anti-American to suggest that you love and value the unique landscape and wildlife heritage of this country so much that you’re willing to look at other models that might help us to find a more conservative approach- one that reduces resource consumption that threatens such heritage – so we can preserve our uniquely American landscape and wildlife – values that are so characteristic of what it means to be American, the character of our landscape in general, and in each locality – that we ought be proud enough to ensure these things are not thrown under the bus in some knee-jerk reaction.

    More simply, if we can learn and implement those aspects of the European relationship to fuel consumption that conserve energy – we can save landscapes and wildlife that better represent and illustrate what I believe ought be the lasting character of America – rather than allow ourselves to be OK with our wasteful consumption being what defines us.

  25. avatar JB says:

    “it’s not self-hateful or anti-American to suggest that you love and value the unique landscape and wildlife heritage of this country so much that you’re willing to look at other models that might help us to find a more conservative approach…”

    Exactly. I grow tired of having my patriotism questioned for wanting the United States to be different and (hopefully) better. I find suggestions that I “move the hell over there” [to Europe] especially galling. Apparently the new conservative model of democracy is one vote for one conservative (i.e. democracy is great as long as you agree with me). It is not “anti-American” to question the way our government is run, it is not anti-American to want things to be done better, and it is certainly not anti-American to disagree.

  26. avatar frank says:

    Kim is funny. You have to admit that.

Calendar

Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

%d bloggers like this: