President-elect Donald Trump is reported to have selected Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican from Washington, for Secretary of the Department of Interior. Also, "Climate McCarthyism" emerges as a concern for federal employees.
With McMorris Rodgers at the helm of the department that is responsible for the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources, including the National Parks system, will the manatees that currently grace the Department of Interior's homepage be replaced by oil derricks? In any case, expect at least two of the four priorities currently listed on their website to be removed:
"She has consistently opposed Obama’s measures to fight climate change, and once argued that former Vice President Al Gore, a longtime advocate for steps to combat global warming, deserved an 'F' in science and an 'A' in creative writing," reported Ginger Gibson and Valerie Volcovici of the Reuters news agency.
The selection would be consistent with Trump's nomination of climate skeptic Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general, to head the Environmental Protection Agency, the same agency he is suing over energy and climate regulations.
"Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), a member of the GOP congressional leadership (is) a strident advocate for increased oil and gas drilling on federal lands," reports Evan Halper for the Los Angeles Times.
She would be charged with implementing Trump’s plan to aggressively roll back many of the environmental restrictions the Obama administration has placed on federal lands, which the president-elect wants to open up for substantially more drilling and mining.
"The League of Conservation Voters, which publishes a score card ranking the environmental record of each member of Congress, gave McMorris Rodgers a zero in its most recent ratings," add Gibson and Volcovici. "It was among several environmental groups that criticized her likely nomination."
"Donald Trump just posted a massive 'for sale' sign on our public lands," the LCV said in a statement.
McMorris Rodgers, the highest ranking Republican woman in the House of Representatives, would be the fourth woman to be selected for Trump's cabinet after Betsy DeVos and Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C) as Education Secretary and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, respectively, and Elaine J. Chao as Transportation Secretary.
In related news, "President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition team has circulated an unusual 74-point questionnaire at the Department of Energy that requests the names of all employees and contractors who have attended climate change policy conferences, as well as emails and documents associated with the conferences," reports Coral Davenport for The New York Times.
The questionnaire “suggests the Trump administration plans a witch hunt for civil servants who’ve simply been doing their jobs,” Robert Weissman, president of the watchdog group Public Citizen, said in a statement.
Climate McCarthyism currently is a term coined by some in the science community who feel they are being pressured because they are not sufficiently alarmed by the scope of climate change. Thanks to Trump, it now takes on a more literal meaning as the investigations come from government, just as they did in the 1950s.
Correspondent's note: climate skeptic or climate denier?
Now that President-elect Trump is following-up on his famous campaign rhetoric that "climate change is a Chinese hoax," perhaps experts will look more into which term to apply to those who appear to question settled climate science: "Climate denier, skeptic, or contrarian?"
Hat tip to Mike Keenly.
Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes
The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
LA Freeway Ramp ‘Quietly Canceled’
A 2018 lawsuit forced Metro and Caltrans to do full environmental reviews of the project, leading to its cancellation.
LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water
The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.
Micromobility Operators Call for Better Links to Transit
For shared mobility to succeed, systems must tap into the connectivity and funding potential offered by closer collaboration with public transit.
Retaining Transit Workers Is About More Than Wages
An analysis of California transit employees found a high rate of burnout among operators who face unpredictable work schedules, high housing costs, and occasional violence.
California's Stormwater Potential
A new study reveals that if California could collect and treat more stormwater in cities, it could provide enough water to supply a quarter of the state’s urban population.
Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
City of Birmingham, Alabama
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.