Environmental Protection Agency

Obama administration tries to sell itself as more open and transparent; don't believe it

Friends, it's Sunshine Week, the annual push by those who would democratize our government by opening up our government to make our case. So Dateline Earth is taking a one-week hiatus while I populate InvestigateWest's From The Field blog with tales of how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is failing to engage with me and other journalists; how the EPA routinely drags out simple requests for public records; how the Obama administration is going to court to fight numerous requests for public records; and how the Obama administration is no better than George W. Bush's when it comes to squelching government scientists. Finally, courtesy of the Society of Environmental Journalists, we'll provide a list of important information sources for citizens, citizen journalists and yes even full-time journalists to use in prying information out of the government. It's all over at our From The Field blog.

-- Robert McClure  

Marshmallows and musical chairs help teach Cap'n Trade 101

Well, this week has been a historic one on the climate change front. The Environmental Protection Agency announced that it was going to place more stringent regulations on the nation's largest carbon emitters -- which represent only 2 percent of U.S. businesses, but 70 percent of greenhouses gases -- and Senate Democrats released a draft bill that included even more zealous carbon cuts than one passed by the House earlier this year. (More in Emily Gertz's roundup.)

While most agree that curtailing greenhouse gas emissions and working to slow global warming is a hunky dory idea, especially when you've got walrus pups being trampled alive in Alaska as a result of disappearing sea ice, many still disagree over the means to that end.

[caption id="attachment_4696" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Alan Durning. Photo courtesy of Sightline.org"]Alan Durning. Photo courtesy of Sightline.org[/caption]

One of the ways politicians have proposed combating emissions is through a carbon cap and trade system. While the idea has been kicked around in Congress for a few years now, the concept is still widely debated and -- not surprisingly --  still perplexing to many.