FROM Scott Edwards
Can Cap-and-Trade Survive a Papal Denunciation? A papal encyclical is the highest form of teaching from one of the world's most powerful religious leaders. Pope Francis' message on climate change insists there's a moral imperative to save the Earth and serve the least among us by limiting greenhouse emissions. Part of the argument is a critique of the cap-and-trade system, which is basic to California's war against air pollution — and it took many environmentalists by surprise.
Is 'Factory Farming' a Danger to Public Health? Twenty-five hundred cows produce as much waste as a city the size of Miami; many new, so-called "factory" farms are larger than that. Factory farms, officially called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFO's, are on the rise, with thousands of cattle, pigs and poultry all in the same space, producing millions of gallons of waste. But the waste from animals is not regulated like human waste, and there's widespread concern that it's polluting water supplies in many places. Now the EPA is under fire for failing even to gather enough information to find out how big the problem might be.
Coal: A Necessary Evil? Twenty-five miners are known to have died in this week's massive explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. The effort to rescue four men still unaccounted for may be a lost cause. Even before this week's tragedy, the Obama Administration took aim at surface coal mining with a new set of environmental regulations. The loss of human life in the Upper Big Branch mine will likely produce new safety measures for methane gas deep underground. The coal industry and miners themselves claim new rules threaten their economic survival. Can coal mining be made safer and cleaner, or does America's appetite for energy mean putting up with so-called "hidden costs?"
GOP 'Nukes' the Senate filibuster on SCOTUS nominees Senate Democrats today blocked Judge Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the US Supreme Court… but just for the moment. The Republican majority has changed the rules to force a likely confirmation as soon as tomorrow.
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?