Energy & Environment

Time for a national recycling mandate

As strange as it sounds, the United States does not have a national law that mandates recycling. Instead, Washington, D.C. has delegated the matter to local jurisdictions and in the process, it created a mess. There’s no uniformity and no penalty structure for those who does not follow the recycling guidelines set forward by either cities and/or states.

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Small business owners depend on the great outdoors

In the United States, we enjoy a $646 billion outdoor recreation industry. In every part of the country, during ever part of the year, small business owners like myself rely on the consistent American tradition of enjoying the outdoors. That’s why I joined with 21 other independent outdoor gear sales companies in the outdoor recreation business to urge Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell and the Obama administration to advance policies that bring energy development into balance with other essential uses of our public lands.

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Delaying new flood insurance rates is a bad idea

In March 2011, the chairman of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies testified before House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity on the need to reform the National Flood Insurance Program.  Sandra Parrillo, president and CEO of the Providence Mutual Fire Insurance Company in Rhode Island, warned that the NFIP would continue to be a burden on the taxpayers, and likely grow worse, if Congress failed to act.

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Wind industry has little to show for tax credit

Over 20 years of federal tax breaks and state purchase mandates have failed to turn wind energy into an economically viable industry. The industry has disappointingly little to show for the handout, in terms of long-term job creation and energy affordability. But despite this poor performance, Congress and the IRS have repeatedly extended and expanded the production tax credit (PTC), the main tax break for wind energy. This year, this ever-expanding tax credit expanded even further.

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EPA gets ahead of itself, and technology, with coal rule

With its proposed rule to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from future coal electric generation plants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new front in its anti-fossil fuels campaign that ultimately will dramatically raise energy prices by making energy scarce.  But in its zeal to prevent the construction of new coal plants, EPA has climbed far out on a legal limb, and its proposal is highly unlikely to stand up in court.

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Seeing through the 'War on Coal' smokescreen

As a retired coal miner, the son of a coal miner, and the father of a coal miner, I’m curious about Congress’ recent attacks on the EPA and claims of a “war on coal.” These claims are nothing but a distraction from the real needs of coalfield communities.

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TR's conservation inspiration threatened by oil boom

A hundred and thirty years ago last month, Theodore Roosevelt arrived in the Dakota Badlands to hunt bison. He was immediately so enchanted with the area’s wilderness and wildlife that he established a ranch there and later started a second one, the Elkhorn Ranch, on the Little Missouri River about 30 miles north of Medora, North Dakota.  Today only the foundation stones of the Elkhorn house remain, but the vistas Roosevelt enjoyed and wrote about are still there—the high, rounded buttes, the sweep of prairie along the snaking river, the whisper of wind among the cottonwoods, the trilling of birds, the silence of star-washed nights.

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Opinion: Superstorm Sandy one year later: A lesson in prevention

As we mark the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, we are reminded of the timeless words of America’s most famous fireman, Ben Franklin. His advice that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” rings true today, as we look back at the devastation wrought by Sandy and seek solutions to make America more resilient to natural disasters.

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Mothers on the march

The nearly twelve thousand professional lobbyists in our nation’s capital are about to face some stiff competition.  This week, moms from across the country are mobilizing to bring the fight against common toxic chemicals directly to the congressional doorstep. They’ll be here up close and in person, asking lawmakers to fix a bad law that leaves our families vulnerable. 

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National security experts agree: Bust up Big Oil monopoly

For decades, the lack of a sensible U.S. transportation fuels policy hampered our ability to develop alternatives to oil’s stranglehold on the market. That all changed when the Renewable Fuel Standard was implemented in George W. Bush’s second term. With the support of the RFS, biodiesel, America’s leading advanced biofuel, has grown from barely a blip to an annual billion gallon market. It is creating jobs, advancing energy security, and reducing carbon and other pollutants – just as the RFS was intended.

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