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Environmental Issues: Environmental Law & Policy

Learn about key national and international environmenal policies that affect the earth, and the pros and cons of environmental laws in the U.S. and other countries. Find out what you can do to make your voice heard.

State of the Union 2012: Clean Energy and an Economy Built to Last
In his third State of the Union address, President Barack Obama shared his plan for rebuilding the U.S. economy and his vision of a return to basic American values.

House Budget Cuts Threaten Environment and Public Safety
U.S. House Republicans passed a sweeping budget resolution that cuts funding for hundreds of government programs, including many that provide essential protections for the environment and public safety. The House budget for 2011 poses serious threats to the environment and public safety.

Obama Links Energy, Economy in Second State of the Union
In his second State of the Union address, President Barack Obama told the nation that America's economic future is linked to innovation and clean energy, but he renewed his support of clean coal and nuclear power.

The Politics of Poison: Many Americans Still Breathe Toxic Air
The Clean Air Act has given Americans cleaner air overall, but many U.S. communities still have local polluters that spew toxic chemicals and other pollutants into the air, poisoning residents and confounding state and federal regulators.

Agreement to Raise Debt Ceiling May Lower Environmental Protections
An agreement between the White House and congressional leaders to raise the debt ceiling and reduce deficit spending could have serious consequences for the environment. Many provisions in the original plan cut funding for critical environmental programs and reduce or eliminate important environmental protections.

Sarah Palin on Climate Change: The Education of a Conservative Pundit
When it comes to climate change, Sarah Palin has turned ignoring facts into an art form -- and a political asset

Will We Have High Speed Train Travel in the U.S.?
Train travel was once popular in the US. Will Obama's plan for high speed train travel bring train travel back, while reducing pollution and saving energy?

Obama Sets Aggressive Vehicle Fuel Efficiency and Emissions Standards
On May 19, 2009, President Barack Obama announced a new national policy and some tough new standards that will increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for all new cars and trucks sold in the United States beginning in 2012, and achieve a combined average fuel-efficiency standard of 35.5 mpg by 2016.

President Obama’s First 100 Days Show Environmental Progress and Promise
In his first 100 days in office, President Obama has done a remarkable job of addressing several key environmental issues.

Profile of Van Jones: Special Advisor to the White House on Green Jobs
Van Jones is special advisor to President Barack Obama on green jobs, enterprise and innovation. A former civil-rights lawyer, Van Jones earned a national reputation as an environmental leader and social entrepreneur by working to battle poverty and preserve the environment with the same economic strategies.

U.S. Economic Stimulus Bill Includes Billions for Energy and the Environment
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009—the $787.2 billion economic stimulus package proposed by President Barack Obama and passed by Congress in mid-February [2009]—is intended to put America back to work and to help shorten the recession. The economic stimulus bill is also likely to have a major impact on a wide range of energy and...

Proposition 2: California Voters Improve Treatment of Animals Raised for Food
On Nov. 4, 2008, California voters passed a measure that could help to transform the way Americans treat farm animals we raise for food.

Biden-Palin 2008 Vice Presidential Debate: Frequently Asked Questions
This list of frequently asked questions about the 2008 vice presidential debate will help you understand where candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin stand on key energy and environmental issues.

How Do Biden and Palin Differ on Climate Change?
During the televised debate between vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin on October 2, 2008, moderator Gwen Ifill asked Palin a question about climate change that sparked verbal fireworks between the two candidates.

How Do Biden and Palin Differ on ANWR, Offshore Drilling and Renewable Energy?
Sarah Palin favors drilling for oil offshore, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and wherever U.S. oil can be found. Joe Biden approaches the issue more cautiously and says renewable energy should play a larger role in supplying U.S. energy needs.

Where Does Biden Really Stand on Clean Coal?
During the 2008 vice presidential debate, when Sarah Palin tried to show a difference of opinion between Joe Biden and his running mate Barack Obama over clean coal, Biden voiced strong support for clean-coal technology.

Why Do Biden and Palin Disagree About the 2005 Energy Bill?
During the 2008 vice presidential debate, Joe Biden and Sarah Palin traded a few barbs about the 2005 energy bill that Barack Obama supported and both Biden and John McCain voted against.

Where Do Biden and Palin Disagree on Subsidies and Tax Breaks for Oil Companies?
During the 2008 vice presidential debate, Joe Biden accused John McCain and Sarah Palin of planning to increase government subsidies and tax breaks for oil companies. Sarah Palin flatly denied it. What do you think?

Where Do Biden and Palin Line Up on a Windfall Profits Tax for Oil Companies?
One issue Joe Biden and Sarah Palin seem to agree on is the need for a windfall profits tax on oil companies that have earned $600 billion in recent years with the help of government subsidies and tax breaks, while working families struggle with the high cost of gasoline, heating oil, and groceries that arrive via gas-powered transportation.

What Can Pro-Environment Voters Learn from the Biden-Palin Debate?
After reviewing all the issues that were argued and discussed by Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Sarah Palin during the 2008 vice presidential debate, what lessons can pro-environment voters take away that will help them make an informed decision when they cast their votes?

What Will Happen When the Offshore Drilling Ban Expires?
The Democrats in Congress agreed to let the offshore drilling ban expire to prevent President Bush from vetoing a necessary funding bill and shutting down the federal government. But what will happen when the offshore drilling ban expires? What effect will the loss of the offshore drilling ban have on the environment and the economy?

Election 2008: Barack Obama on Nuclear Energy
Barack Obama, the Democratic presidental nominee, favors the continued use and possible expansion of nuclear energy in the United States, but cautions that problems of nuclear waste disposal national security should be solved before more nuclear reactors are built.

Election 2008: John McCain on Nuclear Energy
John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, is in favor of expanding US reliance on nuclear energy and has called for construction of 100 new nuclear reactors. Unfortunately, McCain has no clear plan for managing the deadly nuclear waste these proposed facilities would produce.

Is Immigration Bad for the Environment?
Is immigration swelling the U.S. population to a point where the environment and our natural resources can no longer support the number of people who live here? How does immigration affect the environment, and what can we do about it?

Election 2008: Bob Barr on Offshore Drilling
Find out why Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr favors increasing offshore drilling for oil in America's coastal waters.

Election 2008: Sarah Palin on Energy and the Environment
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain's vice presidential running mate in 2008, takes a highly conservative stance on many key energy and environmental issues.

Election 2008: Where the Candidates Stand on Offshore Drilling
Learn where the 2008 presidential candidates stand on increasing offshore drilling for oil in America's coastal waters.

Election 2008: Ralph Nader on Offshore Drilling
Learn where independent presidental candidate Ralph Nader stands on increasing offshore drilling for oil in America's coastal waters.

Election 2008: Cynthia McKinney on Offshore Drilling
Learn where Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney stands on increasing offshore drilling in America's coastal waters.

Election 2008: Barack Obama on Offshore Drilling
Learn where Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama stands on increasing offshore drilling for oil in America's coastal waters.

Election 2008: John McCain on Offshore Drilling
Learn where Republican presidential candidate John McCain stands on increasing offshore drilling in the waters along AmericaÂ’s coastlines.

Joe Biden on Energy and the Environment
Joe Biden, U.S. senator and vice presidential candidate in the 2008 election, has a long history of strong support for key environmental and energy issues. Learn more about Joe Biden's energy and environmental record and proposals.

Does Congestion Pricing Reduce Traffic and Pollution?
International cities use congestion pricing - higher tolls for drivers during peak traffic times - to reduce traffic congestion and pollution. Will NYC be next for congestion pricing?

Bush on Global Warming: Decider or Dissembler?
When President Bush unveiled his new strategy to stop the growth of greenhouse gase emissions and slow global warming, it sounded like the same old bait-and-switch. When it comes to global warming and other environmental issues, is Bush "the decider," as he once famously declared, or the dissembler?

McCain Scores ZERO on Environment; Clinton and Obama Do Better
U.S. Sen. John McCain, frontrunner for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, received a zero score from the League of Conservation Voters for his congressional voting record on environmental issues in 2007. McCain earned his zero score by missing every important vote on environmental issues.

Tax Incentives for Green Living
Looking for tax incentives? Learn how to take advantage of green living tax incentives for individuals and businesses in the U.S. and Canada

Federal Employees Accuse Bush of Climate Science Censorship
Now federal employees are going on record to accuse George W. Bush of climate science censorship. Learn what these employees say about Bush and climate science censorship.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules EPA Can Regulate Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions
In what may prove to be an historic turning point in the fight to reduce global warming, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision in a landmark environmental case that is being hailed as a victory for the environment and a setback for the Bush administration. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act and that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles and other vehicles.

Teach Your Children Well: Does U.S. Environmental Education Make the Grade?
Is America doing enough to educate its children about the environment? Congress declared environmental education a national priority in 1990, but since then has failed to provide sufficient funding for the environmental education programs it created. The task of environmental education has fallen to local schools, individual teachers, and non-governmental organizations.

U.S. House Votes to End Subsidies and Tax Breaks for Oil Companies
The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday voted to end more than $14 billion in subsidies and tax breaks for oil and gas companies and to reinvest that money in renewable energy, alternative fuels and conservation technologies and incentives. This new bill is the first major pro-environment legislation passed by Congress since the Democrats took control.

Congressional Interest in Global Warming Heats Up as 2007 Begins
One early sign of change in the new Democrat-controlled Congress is heightened congressional interest and action on global warming. Lawmakers have announced House and Senate hearings on the issue, and have introduced legislation that would set mandatory caps on greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Global Warming Case
On Wednesday, November 29, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments in a landmark environmental case that will determine whether the EPA has the authority and the responsibility to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

Election 2006: Top 10 Potential Environmental Benefits of the 2006 Election
How will the results of the 2006 election, and the change of political leadership, affect the environment? This issue-by-issue analysis explores some of the potential benefits.

Why are Wetlands Important, and How are Wetlands Protected in the U.S. & Canada?
Wetlands play a critical role in our ecosystem, and wetlands in North America are threatened by development and pollution. Learn why wetlands are so important, and what governments and groups are doing to protect wetlands.

Poll: Americans Bash Bush on Environment
A majority of Americans disapprove of how President Bush is handling the environment, according to a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll.

EPA Plan to Allow More Air Pollution Draws Friendly Fire
Learn about a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency to weaken air emission standards and reporting requirements for industrial operations that spew tons of toxins into the atmosphere each year. The agency’s regional administrators are angry, saying they were never consulted about the proposed change and predict that the new rule would be "detrimental to the environment."

Six Ex-EPA Chiefs Urge Bush to Curb Global Warming
Six former heads of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, five of them Republicans, have called on the Bush Administration to stop talking about the weather and start doing something about it, by setting mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions that lead to widespread climate change and global warming.

Bolivian President Seizes Oil and Natural Gas Fields
Bolivian President Evo Morales has placed his country's oil and natural gas production under state control. Learn why this raises concerns about the potential long-term effects on the energy and economic interests of other nations.

Energy and Environment Top Issues for World Economic Leaders
Energy and the environment head the list of concerns for the world’s leading economic policymakers at the spring session of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Learn how energy and the environment -- especially in developing countries -- have become hot topics for economic and financial leaders.

Federal Court Rules in Favor of Clean Air
A federal appeals court on Friday ruled in favor of a coalition of states and environmental groups that challenged a Bush administration regulation designed to permit factories, refineries and power plants nationwide to avoid installing new pollution controls to help offset increased emissions from equipment repairs and replacements. Learn how this is a legal victory for the Clean Air Act.

EPA Promises More Accurate Gas Mileage Estimates
Learn how the Environmental Protection Agency plans to scrap the outdated testing procedures it uses to determine what kind of gas mileage automobile owners can expect, and to replace them with a new system that will factor in changes in automotive technology and how motorists actually drive.

Food Safety Bill Passes; Lawmakers Have Ties to Food Industry
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a controversial bill -- backed by the food industry and supported by key lawmakers whose family or close friends are food-industry lobbyists -- which would wipe out more than 200 state laws mandating local inspections and safety labels to warn consumers about everything from mercury in fish to pesticides in vegetables.

Senate Republicans Tie ANWR Oil Drilling to Budget Bill
By mid-May, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will approve legislation to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, according to Committee Chairman Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM). Learn about the political machinations that allowed this controversial approval to happen.

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Landmark Case on Global Warming
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal aimed at forcing the Bush administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take action against global warming by regulating carbon dioxide emissions.

Senate Votes to Prevent Oil Drilling in ANWR
learn about the successful floor battle that blocked a provision to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), led by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, a freshman Democrat from Washington state.

U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton Resigns
U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton today announced her resignation, ending a controversial five-year term in which she expanded drilling, logging and development on public lands in the Western United States and fought to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. Learn more about Norton's effect on the environment.

Steiner Elected to Lead United Nations Environment Programme
The United Nations General Assembly unanimously elected Achim Steiner of Germany as the new executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for a four-year term, effective June 15, 2006. Learn about Steiner's background and qualifications.

Budget Cuts and Mismanagement Place Environmental Satellites at Risk
Budget cuts and cost overruns are threatening the current integrity and future existence of a network of U.S. environmental satellites that help scientists forecast hurricanes, droughts and floods, and predict global warming.

U.S., Australia Offer Weak Commitment to Environment
At the Asia-Pacific climate summit, the U.S. and Australia (two of the world's largest polluters) pledged some funds for lowering greenhouse gas emissions, recommending that the job be left to industry. Environmentalists criticized the funds as absurdly inadequate, and labeled the summit a stunt to divert attention from the U.S. and Australia refusals to support the Kyoto Protocol.

Americans Would Support Higher Gas Tax to Reduce Global Warming
Americans are generally opposed to raising the federal tax on gasoline, but a majority would support a gasoline tax increase if they knew the money would be used to reduce global warming or to lessen United States dependence on foreign oil, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

Performance Anxiety - EPA Rewards Polluters with Less Oversight
A U.S. EPA program that's supposed to give recognition and flexibility to companies that are good environmental citizens may in fact be giving a free pass to some firms that are heavy polluters and even lawbreakers, according to a coalition of environmentalists.

AP Poll: Americans Critical of Bush, Favor Democrats for Congress
Sixty-two percent of Americans disapprove of the way President Bush is handling the environment and other domestic issues, and 49 percent favor giving Democrats control of Congress in the next election, according to an AP-Ipsos poll conducted January 3-5, 2006. How will this affect the next election?

Judge Tells Forest Service to Stop Playing Games
A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Forest Service went overboard when it suspended more than a hundred small projects.The Forest Service response had been criticized by environmental groups as a "game playing" strategy to help the agency gain political support for limiting public involvement.

Environment High in Personal Values, Low in Political Priorities for U.S. Voters
According to a survey commissioned by the Nicholas Institute at Duke University, most U.S. voters support stronger pro-environmental policies, but on election day far fewer voters allow those beliefs to influence their choice of candidates. This article includes the research results and some of the reasons behind those findings.

Rewriting the Rules
This thoughtful review of the Bush Administration's first-term environmental record by the National Resources Defense Council uses government data to trace the growing effects of government policies with serious environmental consequences.

Chronology of the Roadless Area Conservation Policy
Published by The Wilderness Society, this chronology provides a brief history of the Bush Administration's efforts to reverse the federal rule banning logging and mineral exploration in roadless areas on national land, and the counter efforts of environmentalists and many elected officials to keep the rule in force.

U.S. Bureau of Oceans
The Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, part of the U.S. State Department, coordinates a wide range of issues related to science, the environment and the world's oceans, from sustainable development to global climate change.

World Environmental Law
This international directory of online resources includes links to governments, organizations and measures related to environmental laws and policies worldwide.

International Environmental Law and Policy
A comprehensive resource on international environmental law and policy from American University School of Law.

What is the History and Origin of the EPA Seal?
The EPA seal, like the agency it represents, has become a symbol of environmental protection, justice and conservation across the United States and around the world. But what is the origin of the EPA seal? Where did it come from and what does it mean?

European Parliament Votes for Binding Energy-Efficiency Target
The European Parliament has voted to adopt a binding agreement to increase energy efficiency 20 percent or more by 2020.

Senate Majority Fails to End Oil Subsidies and Tax Breaks
The U.S. Senate failed to pass a bill that would have ended billions of dollars in federal government subsidies and tax breaks for the five largest oil companies, even though a majority of Americans and senators supported the measure. Are oil subsidies and tax breaks really necessary?

State of the Union: Obama Urges Clean-Energy Economy
One year after taking office, President Barack Obama outlined his vision for a clean-energy economy in his first State of the Union address.

Should the U.S. End Federal Subsidies and Tax Breaks for Oil Companies?
Oil companies are getting billions of dollars in federal oil subsidies while posting record profits. Ending federal oil subsidies would free up billions for reinvestment in the environment and the economy. Is it time to end federal oil subsidies?

Expediting U.S. Oil Production Will Not Lower Fuel Prices
President Obama's move to open offshore drilling sites and take environmental shortcuts to expedite U.S. oil production won't lower gasoline prices or decrease American dependence on foreign oil.

EPA Issues First National Standards to Reduce Mercury from Power Plants
The EPA issued the first national standards for mercury and other toxic emissions from U.S. power plants, which are expected to bring enormous economic and public health benefits.

Obama Kills Keystone XL Pipeline Project – For Now
President Barack Obama rejected TransCanada's application for a permit to build the $7 billion Keystone XL Pipeline from the tar sands oil fields of Canada to U.S. refineries along the Gulf of Mexico.

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