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?"
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.