Quote of the Day - There is no such thing as a self-cleaning oven.
Vote for FRAP / The Washington Water WrangleToday will be a very short post: if you're a lawyer, please check out this article by Edward Lazarus at FindLaw regarding the change in the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure to allow the citation of unpublished opinons. I've written about this once before, so you can write in and vote.
If you could care less about the FRAP, then you've probably been wondering what else goes on in Washington. Don't we all?
There's a dispute about water back East. At least for once its not the Western states battling over the Colorado River. The spat now involves Maryland and Virginia in a battle over Potomac River water.
And you thought it all flowed downhill.
Mistakes 1, 2, 3, and 4 - Membership Card Revoked
You really have to wonder whether we're evolving backwards.
Why Look Back When You Can Look Forward?
On December 7, the world got a little older, by some 2,300 sailors. Pearl Harbor lay devastated, as did a Country.
Bulletproof Vests for Wolves
A judge in Alaska has refused to block hunters from shooting wolves from airplanes. The refusal has sparked a promise to boycott the State's $2 billion tourism industry.
Air Pollution: Getting Less Fast Enough?The USEPA indicated yesterday that because the Clear Skies Initiative is bogged down in Congress, it will begin establishing regulations to do the same thing.
If you can't beat 'em, go around 'em.
Air advocates are hopping mad. "The reality is that what they are proposing will still allow industry to pollute too much for too long," said Frank O'Donnell, executive director of Clean Air Trust. "And that will lead to continuing unnecessary health problems."
New USEPA Chief Mike Leavitt says that the regs will cut mercury emissions by 70 percent from 48 tons to 15 tons by 2018. If you click the link, you'll see that this is not news - it's something they haven't done for the last three years. The plan will also establish a type of pollution credit trading program for large utilities.
The new regs would also reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants from about 10 million tons a year to 3.2 million tons by 2015. Also, nitrogen oxide would drop from 4 million tons annually to 1.7 million tons.
Another air advocate group, Environmental Defense had no issue with the trading program, but claimed "reductions ought to be deeper than being proposed."
Other environmental groups have criticized pollution credit trading for allowing the development of "hot spots" of higher pollution around homes and schools. They claim increased emissions are possible just by purchasing credits instead of reducing emissions.
Looks like we're moving forward, just not fast enough for everyone's tastes.
Dirty Harry's New Law for 2004Well, it's time to start thinking about next year's new laws. I still haven't even started my Christmas shopping yet, but I'm already beset by a bevy of new laws. This one's right up there with Court TV's Stupid Crimes and Misdemeanors. There's usually a good crop of candidates there for the Darwin Awards, too, if you're looking for some runners-up.
Anyway, I'm getting off track. New laws.
In California, if you go to the movie theater with your camcorder and videotape the movie before January 1, you will not have violated this crime. There are likely a number of other crimes and copyrights you will have violated, but not this one.
After the New Year, it's $2,500 and up to one year in jail for videotaping a movie in a theater. And, the guy with the popcorn next to you can make a citizen's arrest if he spots you. Only New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia have similar laws.
Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo tried to get into the news with this sound bite: "These thieves are stealing from Los Angeles and are stealing from American creativity." Wtih a palm-sized camcorder in one hand, Delgadillo stole a line from the Dirty Harry movie: "If you carry one of these into a movie theater, you have to ask yourself, 'Do I feel lucky?'"
Me? I'll just rent the DVD when it comes out. It's cheaper than buying a camcorder.
Enlibra - More Regulation Than EnforcementUSEPA head bureaucrat Mike Leavitt gave his first speech yesterday.
Heavy on regulations, snappy titles for new programs (Enlibra), and light on enforcement. In fact, Leavitt said, "What about enforcement? I want our first goal to be compliance." Good news for business, bad news for environmentalists.
Leavitt explained Enlibra this way, "I subscribe to an environmental philosophy called Enlibra. It’s a Latin derivative meaning “to move toward balance.” Read compromise.
No judgments here, it's a wait and see attitude.
New USEPA Chief to Speak About Clean Air PlanIn about an hour, we'll hear the first public speech from the new USEPA chief, Mike Leavitt, Utah's former governor.
In case you're wondering about Leavitt's policies, click here. Here's what he has said about the environment.
According to a USEPA press release, "Leavitt has repeatedly stated that 'environmental protection needs to be more than an agency – it needs to be an ethic,'" a statement that doesn't appear on this
full quote page.
In any event, Leavitt's talk should identify where the USEPA will be going in the near future. So far, his past has not met with much support. CNN reported that environmental groups were not pleased with his nomination.
But, let's give him a chance. Leavitt's speech is expected to detail a nationwide clean air plan. No matter what he says, though, vocal critics of the USEPA's relaxation of air rules will surely speak out after the talk.
You can read about it here tomorrow.