28 Nov 2009, 1:36pm
Latest Climate News
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Cooking the books on climate

By MARK STEYN, Orange County Register, November 27, 2009 [here]

… The trouble with outsourcing your marbles to the peer-reviewed set is that, if you take away one single thing from the leaked documents, it’s that the global warm-mongers have wholly corrupted the “peer-review” process.

When it comes to promoting the impending ecopalypse, the Climate Research Unit is the nerve-center of the operation. The “science” of the CRU dominates the “science” behind the United Nations IPCC, which dominates the “science” behind the Congressional cap-and-trade boondoggle, the upcoming Copenhagen shakindownen of the developed world, and the now-routine phenomenon of leaders of advanced, prosperous societies talking like gibbering madmen escaped from the padded cell, whether it’s President Barack Obama promising to end the rise of the oceans or the Prince of Wales saying we only have 96 months left to save the planet.

But don’t worry, it’s all “peer-reviewed.”

Here’s what Phil Jones of the CRU and his colleague Michael Mann of Penn State mean by “peer review”. When Climate Research published a paper dissenting from the Jones-Mann “consensus,” Jones demanded that the journal “rid itself of this troublesome editor,” and Mann advised that “we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers.”

So much for Climate Research. When Geophysical Research Letters also showed signs of wandering off the “consensus” reservation, Dr. Tom Wigley (”one of the world’s foremost experts on climate change”) suggested they get the goods on its editor, Jim Saiers, and go to his bosses at the American Geophysical Union to “get him ousted.” When another pair of troublesome dissenters emerge, Dr. Jones assured Dr. Mann, “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

Which, in essence, is what they did. The more frantically they talked up “peer review” as the only legitimate basis for criticism, the more assiduously they turned the process into what James Lewis calls the Chicago machine politics of international science. The headline in the Wall Street Journal Europe is unimproveable: “How To Forge A Consensus.” Pressuring publishers, firing editors, blacklisting scientists: That’s “peer review,” climate-style. The more their echo chamber shriveled, the more Mann and Jones insisted that they and only they represent the “peer-reviewed” “consensus.” And gullible types like Ed Begley Jr. and Andrew Revkin of the New York Times fell for it hook, line and tree-ring. … [more]

22 Nov 2009, 1:44am
Latest Forest News
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Logging slump puts pressure on forest owners

by ED MERRIMAN, Baker City Herald, November 20, 2009 [here]

An Oregon Department of Forestry report titled “Oregon’s Timber Harvest: 1849-2004” shows that the state’s timber industry has yet to recover from the downturn that slashed logging volumes in 1994 to the lowest levels since the Great Depression.

Yearly timber harvest in Oregon since 1994 has hovered between 3 billion and 4 billion board-feet, according to the report.

That’s less than half the 7 billion to 9 billion board-feet cut annually during previous 50 or so years.

Since 1994, logging on private and state-owned forests has been fairly constant, averaging between 2.5 billion board-feet and 3.5 billion board-feet.

But cutting on federal lands has declined from a yearly average of nearly 3 billion board-feet to 596 million board-feet in 1994, and to between 166 million and 337 million board-feet from 1998 through 2004, the last year covered in the report.

In Baker County, logging on private and public forests averaged more than 75 million board-feet during the 1980s, peaking at 97 million in 1987.

The harvest remained relatively high in 1990, at 86.5 million board-feet, then plummeted to 45.6 million in 1991.

The annual harvest continued to drop, reaching a low of 16.5 million board-feet in 2003 before rising to 31.5 million in 2004.

During the 20-year period 1984-2004, timber cutting on Forest Service land in Baker County peaked in 1987 at 83 million board-feet, then dropped to 8.5 million in 1994 and to 6.5 million in 1995.

That wasn’t enough to sustain the county’s last sawmill — Ellingson Lumber Co. in Baker City, which closed in early 1996 — even though private forests in the county produced a total of 48 million board-feet of timber in 1994-95. … [more]

21 Nov 2009, 12:30pm
Latest Climate News
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The Evidence of Climate Fraud

By Marc Sheppard, American Thinker, November 21, 2009 [here]

A folder containing documents, data and, e-mails purportedly “hacked” from Britain’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) may be smoking-gun proof of a worldwide conspiracy to exaggerate the existence, causation, and threat of global warming. And the list of apparent conspirators includes many of the world’s leading climate alarmists — the very scientists on whose work the entire anthropogenic global warming theory is based.

In a Friday interview with Investigative Magazine’s TGIF Edition, CRU director Phillip Jones confirmed [PDF] that the incriminating documents, which have been widely disseminated online, are in fact genuine. Accordingly, whether indeed the labor of hackers, or instead that of a CRU whistleblower, the contents of the FOI2009 folder are now public record — and that’s nothing short of dynamite.

After all, the names of the email exchangers represent a who’s-who of the world’s leading climate alarmism scientists, including Stephen Schneider, Gavin Schmidt, and James Hansen. And the e-mails themselves seemingly betray an organized apparatus of deception. …

Both [Michael] Mann and [Keith] Briffa had been challenged for years to produce their data, methods, and source code by Climate Audit’s Steve McIntyre. Both ignored the tenets of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) McIntyre cited and fought every effort to induce their coming clean. And actually not without good reason — last month, CRU was effectively forced to release the Yamal information, whereupon an analysis by McIntyre proved that Briffa et al. had cherry-picked and manipulated data, intentionally omitting records not friendly to their position. …

Criminal? Oh yes, indeed. As this mock-science serves as justification for trillions of dollars in imposed and proposed new taxes, liens, fees, and rate hikes — not to mention the absurd wealth-redistribution premise of international climate debt “reparations” — such manipulation of evidence should be treated as exactly what it is: larceny on the grandest scale in history. … [more]

21 Nov 2009, 11:58am
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Western caucus urges judgment fund accountability

By MITCH LIES, Capital Press, November 21, 2009 [here]

Members of Congress are calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to make public how much money is paid to environmental groups that sue the government under the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws.

The money is provided under the Equal Access to Justice Act.

Twenty-one members of the Congressional Western Caucus signed a letter to Attorney Generic Eric Holder asking the department to explain how the department tracks Equal Access to Justice Act disbursements.

“If no such tracking exists, we encourage DOJ to create a central, searchable EAJA database,” the caucus said in the letter.

The request came from 18 Western representatives and three senators.

On Oct. 16 the Capital Press reported the federal government paid $4.7 billion to environmental groups during a five-year period. The statistics, compiled by Wyoming lawyer Karen Budd-Falen, reflect only a portion of the payments, Budd-Falen told the Capital Press. The actual amount may be far greater, she said.

“I think we only found that the iceberg exists,” she said. “I don’t think we have any idea how much money is being spent. But I think it’s huge.”

When an environmental lawsuit is settled or a judgment reached, the plaintiffs receive money for expenses under the Judgment Fund, which pays settlements in lawsuits against the federal government, and the Equal Access to Justice Act.

The equal access law was created so individuals, small businesses or public interest groups with a limited financial capacity could seek judicial redress from unreasonable government actions.

“Unfortunately,” the caucus wrote, “we are concerned the lack of government oversight of EAJA payments has allowed some groups to circumvent congressional intent with respect to this law.”

In the letter dated Nov. 2, the caucus noted the equal access law originally provided for two annual reports to Congress — one by the Administrative Conference of the U.S. on agency-awarded payments and the other by the attorney general on court-awarded payments.

However, in 1995, Congress defunded the administrative conference and repealed the attorney general’s reporting requirement, the letter noted.

“We urge the creation of a database to bring transparency and accountability to these public interest groups,” the caucus wrote.

21 Nov 2009, 11:44am
Latest Climate News
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The Day Global Warming Stood Still

“We win. You lose. Get a life.”

Investor’s Business Daily, Nov 20, 2009, [here]

Climate Change: As scientists confirm the earth has not warmed at all in the past decade, others wonder how this could be and what it means for Copenhagen. Maybe Al Gore can Photoshop something before December.

It will be a very cold winter of discontent for the warm-mongers. The climate show-and-tell in Copenhagen next month will be nothing more than a meaningless carbon-emitting jaunt, unable to decide just whom to blame or how to divvy up the profitable spoils of climate change hysteria.

The collapse of the talks coupled with the decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to put off the Kerry-Boxer cap-and-trade bill, the Senate’s version of Waxman-Markey, until the spring thaw has led Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, the leading Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, to declare victory over Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and the triumph of observable fact over junk science.

“I proudly declare 2009 as the ‘Year of the Skeptic,’ the year in which scientists who question the so-called global warming consensus are being heard,” Inhofe said to Boxer in a Senate speech. “Until this year, any scientist, reporter or politician who dared raise even the slightest suspicion about the science behind global warming was dismissed and repeatedly mocked.”

Inhofe added: “Today I have been vindicated.”

The Ada (Oklahoma) Evening News quotes Inhofe: “So when Barbara Boxer, John Kerry and all the left get up there and say, ‘Yes. We’re going to pass a global warming bill,’ I will be able to stand up and say, ‘No, it’s over. Get a life. You lost. I won,’” Inhofe said.

more »

21 Nov 2009, 12:43am
Latest Wildlife News
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Video shows 10 wolves - Footage was taken of Wallowa County wolf pack last week

By Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald November 20, 2009 [here]

An Oregon state wildlife biologist videotaped a pack of at least 10 gray wolves last week on Forest Service land in Wallowa County east of Joseph.

The pack is the largest yet confirmed in Oregon since wolves began returning to the state in the late 1990s, said Russ Morgan, wolf coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“ODFW has been regularly monitoring this pack, but until this video was taken, we only had evidence of a minimum of three adults and three pups making up this pack,” Morgan said. “Pups can be difficult to distinguish at this distance, but it appears there may be as many as six pups in the video.”

Pat Matthews, an ODFW biologist in Enterprise, videotaped the wolf pack on November 12.

Matthews saw the wolves across a canyon at a distance of at least several hundred yards, Morgan said.

The 1-minute, 32-second video is available on the ODFW Web site [here]. …

Biologists also saw three pups, and three adults, in the area this past summer.

Matthews’ video showing at least 10 wolves is “not a surprise,” Morgan said.

Female wolves usually birth about five pups, but larger litters are not uncommon, he said.

Although Morgan said he has heard that cattle ranchers in the Imnaha country were missing calves this fall when they gathered their herds from summer pasture, he said he’s not yet seen evidence that wolves have killed any livestock in the area.

A pair of wolves killed two dozen sheep this past spring and summer on Curt Jacobs’ ranch in Keating Valley in Baker County.

Federal officials shot and killed those two wolves in early September. … [more]

21 Nov 2009, 12:41am
Latest Fire News Latest Forest News
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Judge affirms plan to restore Kaibab National Forest

By Associated Press, AZ Capitol Times, November 9, 2009 [here]

FREDONIA - A federal judge this week struck down a lawsuit contending the U.S. Forest Service unlawfully approved a plan to reduce forest fuels and plant trees on a northern Arizona forest.

The Warm Fire Recovery Project called for harvesting fire-killed trees on 9,000 acres of the Kaibab National Forest and replanting conifer trees on about 10,000 acres.

A 60,000-acre natural fire that grew out of control swept through the area where recovery efforts are planned in 2006.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians sued over the plan, claiming it violated several environmental laws.

U.S. District Judge Frederick Martone ruled in favor of the Forest Service on Wednesday, saying it satisfied its obligations under the law.

For more on the Warm Fire, see Back to the Rim: The Story of the Warm Fire [here].

21 Nov 2009, 12:36am
Latest Wildlife News
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Lawsuit settlement tosses rule on removing wolves for livestock kills

By Bill Coates, AZ Capitol Times, November 20, 2009 [here]

Mexican gray wolves no longer will be subject to the “three strikes and you’re out” rule, thanks to a settlement reached between environmental groups and the federal government.

The informal rule went by the bureaucratic sounding name of standard operating procedure 13 (SOP 13), which allowed wolves to be removed from the wild for attacking and killing livestock three times within a year.

Because of the settlement, however, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to scrap it.

Six environmental groups had joined in a federal lawsuit to toss out the three-strikes rule, claiming it had undermined efforts to recover the endangered wolf in the Blue Range area of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.

Wildlife agencies expected to have more than 100 wolves in the wild by the end of 2006. Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity said there were only 52 when last counted in January. The center was a plaintiff in the suit.

“Obviously, the wolf is more endangered today than if the SOP 13 had never taken charge,” said Robinson, the center’s conservation advocate.

The center and five other environmental groups entered into a consent decree with Fish and Wildlife on Nov. 13. They originally filed suit in May 2008.

In addition to dismantling SOP 13, the agreement also strips an interagency group of any authority over management of the wolf program. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is a member of the group, known as the Adaptive Management Oversight Committee (AMOC). Other members include New Mexico Game and Fish, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the White Mountain Apache Tribe.

Robinson said the agreement puts management of the gray wolf recovery back into the hands of Fish and Wildlife. He said the Endangered Species Act gives the agency control over wolf recovery.

AMOC, Robinson said, was susceptible to pressure from ranchers and others who had an interest in seeing the recovery program slowed, if not fail. Robinson said the wolf program was poorly managed under AMOC.

But Barbara Marks, a rancher and wildlife representative for the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, said she hoped AMOC would continue to play a role. The group had provided input to ranchers and other Arizona residents, Marks said.

“I hope that we’re not going to be taking a tremendous step backwards in community relationships,” Marks said. “That’s my biggest worry.”

Marks and her husband Bill run a cattle ranch in the Blue Range.

Officials with the Arizona Game and Fish and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service called the Center for Biological Diversity’s press announcements on the settlement misleading. They said Fish and Wildlife already had the final say in all decisions.

In its own news release, Arizona Game and Fish noted: “AMOC is not and never has been the deciding authority on whether or not a wolf stays in the wild.” … [more]

20 Nov 2009, 1:59am
Latest Wildlife News
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Judge: Keep grizzlies on threatened list

The Associated Press, Billings Gazette, 11/19/09 [here]

BILLINGS, Mont. — A judge says the government must keep Yellowstone-area grizzly bears on the list of threatened and endangered species, denying an attempt by federal officials to reverse an earlier court ruling.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service two years ago said grizzlies in and around Yellowstone National Park had recovered from near-extermination and no longer needed protections under the Endangered Species Act.

But in September, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said climate change and lax regulations threatened to undermine the bears’ recovery. After Molloy ordered the animals back onto the threatened list, government attorneys asked that he reconsider, saying the bear would thrive without sweeping federal protections.

In an order Tuesday, Molloy rejected the government’s argument and confirmed his earlier ruling.

Note: Judge Molloy will hear the suit to re-list wolves early next year.

19 Nov 2009, 7:38pm
Latest Fire News
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Negligence ruling in Katrina floods may cost feds

By CAIN BURDEAU (AP), FindLaw, [here], Nov. 19, 2009

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The federal government could be vulnerable to billions of dollars in claims after a judge ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers’ failure to properly maintain a navigation channel led to massive flooding in Hurricane Katrina.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval on Wednesday awarded seven plaintiffs $720,000, but the government could eventually be forced to pay much more. The ruling should give more than 100,000 other individuals, businesses and government entities a better shot at claiming damages.

Duval sided with six residents and one business who argued the Army Corps’ shoddy oversight of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet led to the flooding of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward and neighboring St. Bernard Parish. He said, however, the corps couldn’t be held liable for the flooding of eastern New Orleans, where two of the plaintiffs lived.

The ruling is also emotionally resonant for south Louisiana. Many in New Orleans have argued that the flooding in the aftermath of Katrina, which struck the region Aug. 29, 2005, was a manmade disaster caused by the Army Corps’ failure to maintain the levee system protecting the city. …

In his 156-page ruling, Duval said he was “utterly convinced” that the corps’ failure to shore up the channel “doomed the channel to grow to two to three times its design width” and that “created a more forceful frontal wave attack on the levee” that protected St. Bernard and the Lower 9th Ward.

“The Corps had an opportunity to take a myriad of actions to alleviate this deterioration or rehabilitate this deterioration and failed to do so,” Duval said. “Clearly the expression ‘talk is cheap’ applies here.” …

Pierce O’Donnell, another lead plaintiffs lawyer, said the ruling was the “first time ever the Army Corps has been held liable for damages for a major catastrophe that it caused.” … [more]

Note from Al: Change the references to “USFS”, “wildfires”, “fuel loading” etc. …

Forest Service says trees can slow climate change

By MATTHEW DALY (AP), November 18, 2009 [here]

WASHINGTON — National forests can be used as a carbon “sink” with vast numbers of trees absorbing carbon dioxide to help slow global warming, the Forest Service chief said Wednesday, but that goal must be balanced.

He’s also concerned about the risk of catastrophic wildfires that produce massive amounts of carbon dioxide.

Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said his agency is trying to manage forests to combat climate change while still easing the risk of wildfires that have increased in frequency and intensity, in part because of global warming.

Forests now store enough carbon to offset about 16 percent of the nation’s fossil fuel emissions, but that number could be reduced or even reversed if wildfires and insect infestation continue to increase, Tidwell said.

“Disturbances such as fire and insects and disease could dramatically change the role of forests, thereby emitting more carbon than currently sequestered” by tree stands across the country, Tidwell told the Senate Public Lands and Forestry Subcommittee.

Elaine O’Neil, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s School of Forestry, said wildfires in California alone released emissions equivalent to that of seven million cars a year from 2001 to 2007.

The Forest Service and Interior Department spent about $2.4 billion last year fighting fires, double the average amount spent a decade ago.

Tidwell said he hopes to increase the resiliency of federal forests through projects such thinning out young trees and underbrush to control wildfires. Some fires must be allowed to cleanse and regenerate forests that are overly dense, he said.

Lawmakers are looking at the role of forests in climate change, with the goal of including national forests as a key part of a climate change bill being considered by the Senate.

“In my view, it is time to manage the nation’s forests to address climate change and unlock their potential,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the panel’s chairman.

Proper management can ensure healthy forests that create carbon offsets that can be used to help minimize the cost of carbon reduction in other parts of the economy, Wyden said. Use of such offsets — which now are excluded from the Senate bill — would “finally provide a way to truly account for the economic benefit that federal forests provide to our environment,” Wyden said.

“We can create good-paying, green jobs while preserving our treasures and helping our climate,” he said.

18 Nov 2009, 9:27am
Latest Fire News
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California Commissioner Touts Wildfire Payment Recoveries

Insurance Journal, November 16, 2009 [here]

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Sayre, Tea and Freeway Fires in Southern California, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced in a press statement Friday that the California Department of Insurance (CDI) has recovered $16.9 million from insurance companies by standing up for consumers and helping to mediate disputes in those fires and more than $17.4 million for victims of 2008 wildfires throughout the state.

“We continue to be vigilant and help whomever calls and asks for assistance in recouping money from insurance companies,” said Commissioner Poizner, in the statement. “I am pleased that our efforts have helped victims of those terrible wildfires last year recover almost $17 million to help rebuild their homes and rebuild their lives.”

To date, the department has recovered $17.4 million for 2008 wildfires throughout the state. That includes:

* $13.2 million for Sayre/Sylmar wildfire survivors (124 total complaints including 13 for underinsurance)

* $3 million for Tea wildfire survivors (41 total complaints including 19 for underinsurance)

* $873,714 for the Triangle wildfire survivors (23 total complaints including 3 for underinsurance)

CDI was able to recover these funds for consumers that notified the department of their problems and suspected unfair treatment by their insurer. CDI received 234 consumer complaints since late 2008.

Of the 234 complaints received from consumers, 40 have involved underinsurance allegations. CDI recovered more than $2.8 million for consumers who had complaints stemming from underinsurance issues.

18 Nov 2009, 9:26am
Latest Fire News Latest Forest News
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Shoshone may close campsites

by CJ Baker, Powell Tribune, 17 November 2009 [here]

Bark beetles bite regional budget

A bark beetle-induced budget crunch could lead to the closure of the Shoshone National Forest’s camping sites next summer.

The regional Forest Service office in Denver is proposing to shift funding away from some of its forests to focus on those in northern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming — the areas hit hardest by mountain pine beetle-kill.

Some 2.5 million acres in the the Arapaho, Roosevelt, White River, Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests are believed to be affected by the beetle epidemic.

Much of those areas are interwoven with power lines and infrastructure. A large concern for foresters is the possibility that the dead and weakened trees will topple onto power lines, knocking out large swaths of power and perhaps sparking catastrophic wildfires.

In those five national forests, the Forest Service already has begun planning an effort to clear all potentially hazardous trees within 200 feet of of electrical transmission lines and from within 75 feet of distribution lines.

The Rocky Mountain Region has budgeted $49 million to deal with the beetle-kill in fiscal year 2010, the Associated Press reported — with some of that money being re-directed from forests such as the Shoshone.

The preliminary directive from the regional office in Denver told forest managers that all campgrounds — except for those run by private concessionaires — should be shut down as one cost-saving measure. … [more]

See also the Gunbarrel WFU Fire [here, here]

18 Nov 2009, 9:24am
Latest Wildlife News
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UI Prof Suspended for Big Horn Sheep Findings

By JOHN MILLER, Idaho Statesman, 11/15/09 [here]

BOISE, Idaho — A University of Idaho professor suspended from sheep research duties since June has repeated claims that wild bighorns don’t catch fatal diseases from domestic sheep, despite pledging not to disseminate information on the issue until the school completes an inquiry into her work.

An August interview with Marie Bulgin, head of the UI’s Caine Veterinary Teaching and Research Center in Caldwell, appeared in October’s edition of The Shepherd: A Guide for Sheep and Farm Life, an industry journal based in New Washington, Ohio.

In the story, Bulgin insists there’s no proof bighorns die after catching diseases from domestic sheep on the range.

“It’s the bighorns’ own pathogens that are killing them - not something they are picking up from domestic sheep or goats,” she is quoted as saying.

Wildlife advocates said her comments are virtually identical to those that helped lead to the UI inquiry. …

“It’s inappropriate for her to be doing this, pending conclusion of this review by the University of Idaho,” said Craig Gehrke, regional director of The Wilderness Society in Boise, on Friday. …

In June, Bulgin was suspended from leading the Caine center as UI administrators intervened to address concerns about the integrity and accountability of their researchers’ work and contributions to shaping public policy.

Bulgin also agreed to relinquish her involvement in sheep disease research and pledged to UI College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean John Hammel “to not write or disseminate any information until such time as the charges filed against me have been concluded,” according to a June 17 letter from Bulgin to Hammel obtained by The Associated Press.

University officials said they were aware of the article and are considering it as they continue their review. … [more]

17 Nov 2009, 2:12pm
Latest Climate News
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EPA Issues Climate Change Gag Order on Civil Servants

Agency Threatens Discipline for Off-Duty Warnings on Cap and Trade Failures

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, November 9, 2009 [here]

Washington, DC — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered two of its attorneys to remove a video they posted on YouTube about problems with climate change legislation backed by the Obama administration or face “disciplinary action”, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The couple had received clearance for posting the video but EPA took issue with its content following publication of an op-ed piece by the two in The Washington Post on October 31.

The video, entitled “The Huge Mistake”, is by Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel, two EPA enforcement attorneys speaking as private citizens. The video explains why the cap and trade plan endorsed by President Obama will not accomplish its goals, let alone effectively curb climate change. On November 5, 2009, EPA ethics officials ordered the two veteran employees to –

* Remove your climate change video from You Tube by the close of business on Friday, November 6, 2009;

* Edit your You Tube video by:

(i) Removing the language starting at 1:06 min – ‘Our opinions are based on more than 20 years each working as attorneys at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the San Francisco Regional Office.’

(ii) Removing the images of EPA’s building starting at 1:06 min …

(v) Remove [sic] the language starting at 6:30 min – ‘In my work at EPA, I’ve been overseeing California’s cap-and-trade and offset programs for more than 20 years.’

* All future requests for approval of an outside writing activity must be accompanied by a draft of the document that is the subject of the approval request

“EPA is abusing ethics rules to gag two conscientious employees who have every right to speak out as citizens,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, who has re-posted the original video [here] and its script. “EPA reversed itself because someone in headquarters had a tantrum about their Washington Post essay.”

Williams and Zabel, who are married to each other, go to great lengths in the video and other writings to provide disclaimers affirming that their views are personal and do not represent the agency. However, EPA now objects to them even referring to their on-the-job experience as the basis for their views.

“How is government supposed to be transparent when public servants are forbidden from discussing the nature of their work?” asked Ruch. “EPA and every other federal agency should have simple, clear guidelines so that government workers can express themselves freely without political prior restraints.”

In August, EPA Administrator Jackson issued an all-employee statement saying the agency will operate as if in a “fishbowl” but left ambiguous whether and how employees may publish papers or communicate with Congress and the media. By contrast, a few agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have dispensed with any pre-approval of employees’ unofficial expressions, as long as they are accompanied by a short disclaimer.

  • For the benefit of the interested general public, W.I.S.E. herein presents news clippings from other media outlets. Please be advised: a posting here does not necessarily constitute or imply W.I.S.E. agreement with or endorsement of any of the content or sources.
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