A year ago, as President Obama prepared for his inauguration, environmentalists were optimistic.
For eight years previous, the most hostile administration to environmental concerns in the nation’s history had flouted science and flogged nature. There was nowhere to go but up.
My brilliant (and more succinct) predecessor, Peter Dykstra, pegged a column to the inauguration. He asked five very experienced environmental operatives for their take on the prospects of the incoming administration. “Together,” Peter concluded, “they paint a fairly rosy picture of the future of energy, environment, and climate change legislation in Barack Obama’s Washington.”
Perhaps, it’s inevitable that such hope would be met with disappointment. Idealism often is replaced by pragmatism when politicians take office, and the battleship of state seldom takes a 180-degree turn in a year’s time.
While some policy reversals (auto efficiency and the regulation of greenhouse gases, for example) were unequivocal, others changes (such as halfway steps on coal ash disposal and mountaintop removal mining) have been compromises between good science and greedy special interests...MORE
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