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“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, the stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” ― Aldo Leopold
Kudos to Rare Environmental Leadership
By Brent Fewell
Congratulations to Ben Grumbles, Maryland Secretary of Environment, and Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense Fund, for being honored with this year’s William K. Reilly Environmental Leadership Award. Both are extraordinary leaders in uncommon times. Their hallmark is to work across political divides to reach common sense solutions for the environment and the public.
Fred, who has led EDF for over three decades, decided early on in his career against tilting at windmills and, rather than litigate every environmental grievance, he would work with Corporate America and show them why greening their business made good economic and environmental sense. Under his leadership, EDF has become the world’s largest and most influential environmental organization with an annual operating budget that has grown from $3M to $130M, employee ranks grown from 50 to 450, membership expanded from 40,000 to more than one million, and new offices opened in Arkansas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, Beijing, London and La Paz, Mexico. Among the group’s many achievements, EDF is the architect of the federal market-based acid rain policy that has reduced average U.S. air concentrations of sulfur dioxide by 76% since 1990. In 2002, The Economist called it “the greatest green success story of the past decade.” And Fred isn’t afraid to take unpopular stands, as he did in 2012 when he partnered with the Center for Sustainable Shale Development to promote responsible natural gas fracking, a decision which created an uproar in the environmental community where 67 environmental groups publicly denounced EDF and Fred personally. I have long admired Fred’s work – he speaks softly and carries big credibility on the environment.
Ben Grumbles has spent a lifetime of public service building bridges across troubled waters. I was a young lawyer when I first met Ben in 2003 in DC. He was looking for a new deputy in EPA’s Office of Water and I was looking for a new adventure. Some leaders, like Ben, are born with a servant’s heart. He is one of those rare leaders who the public will never know, but whose influence touches almost everything around them in a positive way, whether its the quality of their drinking water or their favorite fishing hole. Ben recently joined Governor Hogan’s team to oversee Maryland’s Department of Environment – he will be good for Maryland, its people and environment. But his influence will continue to be felt well beyond the parochial limits of politics.
As John Maxwell notes on leadership, “Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course.” Both Fred and Ben have charted a course, a course that is good not only for the environment, but for people and the communities that will benefit from their courage and leadership.
Kudos to Rare Environmental Leadership Congratulations to Ben Grumbles, Maryland Secretary of Environment, and Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense Fund, for being honored with this year's William K. Reilly Environmental Leadership Award. Both are extraordinary leaders in uncommon times. Their hallmark is to work across political divides to reach common sense solutions for the environment and the public. Fred, who has led EDF for over three decades, decided early on in his career against tilting at windmills and, rather than litigate every environmental grievance, he would work with Corporate America and show them why greening their business made good economic and environmental sense. Under his leadership, EDF has become the world's largest and most influential environmental organization with an annual operating budget read more
Linking to a new Gallup poll that shows Americans in 2015 are generally less concerned about environmental issues. Some issues like air pollution and tropical deforestation took a particularly deep dive, with 8 point declines. Difficult to reach sweeping conclusions regarding what is going on behind these numbers. But the public's concerns have reached historic lows. Could it be that the environment is actually cleaner and therefore the public is rightfully less concerned? Or maybe, just maybe there is something else going on here. One number that is particularly troubling is Climate Change, which is the least worrisome issue among all environmental problems. How could this possibly be given all the media focus on the subject? Those who really worry about anthropogenic read more
The water sector seems to be completely immobilized by the canard that a stormwater management fee tied to impermeable surfaces-parking lots, roofs, sidewalks, streets-is a species of “rain tax.” The phrase is waved about like a bulb of garlic before a vampire. This is an abuse of the English language and a distortion of a perfectly reasonable, incentive- or market-based approach to financing solutions to one of the biggest urban water quality challenges in the 21st century. On the Chesapeake Bay, agriculture is the biggest source of pollution, but stormwater is the fastest growing. An impermeability fee is also a great way to encourage or “incentivize” low-cost green infrastructure techniques that also provide multiple benefits such as mitigation of urban heat read more
- When it eats an endangered species. The striped bass (Morone saxatilis) is a prized gamefish native to the Atlantic coast and Gulf of Mexico. It can reach five feet in length, exceed one hundred pounds in weight, and is excellent eating. In 1879, about 100 juvenile striped bass were transported from their home in New Jersey to California’s San Francisco Bay Delta estuary at the instigation of the California fish and game agency. Over a period of years, there were other introductions of stripers into California waters, including by the predecessor agency of what is now the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Ironically, this is the same Fish and Wildlife Service that in 1973 came to administer the Endangered Species read more
Rich Lowry of NRO took on this week Congressman Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Ranking Democratic on the House Natural Resources Committee, for initiating an investigation into several prominent critics of climate alarmism. Linked here at Politico, A Shameful Climate Witch Hunt. Lowry begins: One of the targets is Steven Hayward, a blogger, author and academic now at Pepperdine University (as well as an occasional contributor to National Review). As Hayward puts it, the spirit of the inquiry is, “Are you now or have you ever been a climate skeptic?” Grijalva’s letters were prompted by the revelation that Wei-Hock Soon, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics whose work has been critical of the climate-change “consensus,” didn’t adequately disclose support for his research from read more
This week is the annual observance of National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW). Around the country it is being observed through citizen participation in local programs that are as diverse as invasive species themselves. Invasive species problems are so ubiquitous and often locally so overwhelming, that some consider their management to be a hopeless and endless task. But that is not the case. While, to paraphrase the Irish politician John Philpot Curran, the price of a healthy ecosystem may indeed be eternal vigilance, ridding ourselves of invasive species is by no means a hopeless task. Communities in the northeast have regularly successfully eliminated Asian long-horned beetle infestations, that would otherwise threaten to devastate our northern hardwood forests, and the Fall foliage read more
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