The Obama administration's approach to environmental protections crystallized this week with several announcements generating a cacophony of responses.
Late last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to veto what Mike Lillis at The Washington Independent described as the largest mountaintop mine in West Virginia. "Mountaintop removal [or mining] refers to the process of blowing the tops off of mountains to uncover the seams of coal inside," Lillis writes. "The soil, rock, trees and other debris are then pushed into adjacent valleys, often burying tiny streams representing the headwaters of larger rivers below."
Environmentalists celebrated the move, indicating that they were hopeful that the proposal would be acted on by the Agency following its publication on April 2, and a 60-day public comment period.
This morning, however, environmental advocates saw two of their most-favored positions drop off of the Obama administration's agenda.
Speaking on CNBC, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that "cap-and-trade is not in the lexicon any more." Some observers indicated that the statement was a careful back-pedaling away from the policy, which seemed doomed to die in the Senate.