Category Archives: U.S. Geological Survey

New wave of tree-killing insects on the move in central Idaho

The media downplay, or fail to even mention, the fact that human actions are responsible for launching the infestations such as the one outlined in this article. Between bulldozers, loggers, road builders and tree-killing beetles it’s amazing that we have any substantial forests at all still standing and growing.

EPA’s greenhouse gas rules upheld by court

The Burlington Free Press here in Vermont did a nice job of covering this story, nothing up front that Vermont helped defend the federal agency’s proposed rules. I can’t help but doubt the same effort was expended by the state of Pennsylvania.

Many forests feeling the heat from climate change

That’s the message of the U.S. Geological Survey report summarized in this USGS/NOAA release.

Study finds climate change will diminish songbird populations

Having been on several mountain summits in Arizona over my years, I can readily see the findings of this study happening. It’s not rocket science, but is apparently too much for naive lawmakers to handle. Perhaps they’re just too busy counting their campaign contributions to take significant action to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Transparency in government and conservation issues

From Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility:

Dear Alan:

After the death of Osama bin Laden, the White House supplied a number of details they later retracted, blaming the “fog of war” for the inaccurate statements.  These hasty corrections were made before contrary briefing material reached Congress and the public.

In contrast to these quick retractions, at times when the White House believes it controls the record, it stubbornly sticks to its story – no matter how apocryphal.  A perfect example is incorrect official statements vastly underestimating the plume rate of the BP spill.  Low-balling the spill hampered the response effort, according to the presidential commission report.

Nearly a year after PEER requested the back-up messages from the technical team that developed the estimates of the spill flow-rate the Obama administration is still stalling release of the approximately 60 e-mails that tell the true story.  PEER has been in federal court for eight months pressing to find out who gave orders to deceive the public.  A key agency has even set up a Potemkin web display of e-mails that has only three of the least substantive e-mails we are seeking.

Nor is the duplicity on the Gulf spill an isolated response.  Driven by whistleblower requests, PEER is currently in federal court seeking release of –

Even an initiative to develop scientific integrity and transparency policies is swathed in secrecy.  In response to a PEER suit seeking details as to why the emerging policies are so tardy and timid,  the Obama Justice Department evenrefuses to disclose which agencies will be covered by new policies – if they ever are completed.

Thus, it is not surprising that when some non-profits recently sought to give President Obama an award for transparency, he chose to receive it in private.  In our experience, despite all the agency blogs, web-chats and Twitter accounts, transparency in the Obama administration is merely an unobstructed view of the talking points.

Transparency will only reliably exist when officials believe they cannot successfully dissemble.  Help PEER enforce true transparency.


Tip leads to closure in whooping crane shooting

Note: With only 400 birds in existence, every individual whooping crane is essential to the species’ survival. Read about the citizen’s tip.

Interior budget request would boost conservation, maximize the LWCF

It’s about time the Land and Water Conservation Fund was given its full $900 million. For decades, Congress has siphoned money away from the Fund, which is funded by the revenue from oil andgas drilling leases, and spent it on things bearing no relationship to Conservation. You can find out the whole picture in this New York Times article.