Posts Tagged ‘BP’

Intern and Congress-watcher Jordin Jacobs helps with this report:

Full and dedicated funding for the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund is expected to be considered this week in the context of comprehensive oil spill legislation being considered by the US Congress.

Since its inception in 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has helped state agencies and local communities acquire millions of acres of land for conservation, including Idaho’s Sawtooth National Recreation Area. LWCF grants to states have distributed funds to almost every single county in America for over 41,000 projects including parks, sports fields, swimming pools, playgrounds, and trails. LWCF has also funded the protection of over 1.5 million acres of working forests in over 30 states. Idaho Conservation League’s Susan Drumheller tells us that  local BLM has used LWCF frequently for their waterfront acquisitions an North Idaho spots that have benefited from LWCF include Cougar Bay and Blue Creek Bay.

 LWCF is financed largely through revenue generated in oil and gas leasing. When the LWCF was established, Congress intended that a portion of the oil and gas receipts be dedicated and reinvested in conservation assets across the nation in exchange for the environmental risks inherent in developing finite offshore oil resources. However, in most years, due to tight budgets, Congress and various administrations have diverted funds from their intended purpose.

This year, through the oil spill legislation, it may be possible to fully support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. We are hopeful that full and dedicated funding will finally be given to conservation for National Parks, forests, wildlife refuges, parks and recreation projects, and other federal lands.

Since it was enacted, LWCF has been the only conservation offset for offshore oil drilling. This year, of all years, it should be fully funded. Give your member of Congress a phone call this week.

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We read with interest an excellent op-ed in the Baltimore Sun from Rena Steinzor, president of the Center for Progressive Reform (and a law professor of mine at University of Maryland’s law school),  that points out that the regulatory failures leading up to the BP mess in the gulf is just one of a continuing series of failures of government to properly regulate industry for the protection of the public, the work force, and the environment.

Indeed the similarities are saddening: government regulatory agencies with conflicts of interest, failures of enforcement, and captured by the money and influence of Washington lawyers and lobbyists.  So we get a gulf full of oil, cars with faulty accelerators, coal companies with horrendous safety records, and salmonella in peanut products throughout the food system. And those are only the recent examples. As Steinzor says, “The only reliable, long-term solution is to putting strong and independent regulators back on the beat and self-serving lobbyists on the back benches.”

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Some fascinating and angry readings coming out of the BP disaster in the Gulf:

What would Rand Paul do? Would a private property libertarian have much help for Louisianans in oil spill cleanup? Are they really “our” wetlands? – Nola.com (Also, some Rand Paul views on the environment – Legal Planet)

Parsing the PR: what does BP mean when it says it will pay for “cleanup” and “legitimate claims” — CPR Blog

Bad news for BP is bad news for the Nature Conservancy too — Washington Post

This simplistic cost-benefit approach doesn’t add up if you ask me, but see what you think about Richard Posner’s reasoning on why we don’t plan for worst case scenarios — Washington Post

Indeed, “government on demand” just plain doesn’t work — CPR Blog

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