The EPA and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Finally in the Game

In the United States’ recent history, republican administrations have not been the best friends of the environment, but that was not always the case. Decades ago the quality of the ecosystem was much less of a partisan issue, recognized as a necessity for all citizens, and it was actually President Richard Nixon that proposed the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA was established shortly thereafter on December 2, 1970, yet. Since its inception the agency has done a lot to protect many aspects of our environment from waste and pollution, including the air we breathe, under the Clean Air Act, signed into law the same year. But it wasn’t until January 2, 2011, that the EPA first began regulating Greenhouse Gasses (GHG).

The road to our new protections was a long and hard fought one, at first fought against the EPA itself. On October 20, 1999 the International Center for Technology Assessment petitioned the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases emitted by new motor vehicles in order to reduce the effects of global warming. The agency, however initially declined to take action on the petition, claiming not to have the authority to act on climate change, as the issue did not fall under its traditional powers to regulate emissions directly harmful to humans.

Furthermore the agency went on to explain that even if it were within their power to act on the petition they would not do so, for two reasons: the first being that to do so would not be effective in combatting global warming. The second, and more troubling reason, was that such action would go against the Bush administration’s policies, which aimed at further investigation into the legitimacy of the climate change issue and its causes, as well as encouraging efforts by private parties such as voluntary reductions and technological advances. EPA Logo

On April 2, 2007, the Supreme Court found, in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), that GHGs, are air pollutants covered by the CAA. The Court found that the “EPA was required to determine whether or not emissions of GHGs from new motor vehicles cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” So under pressure from the courts the agency began the investigative process they had been putting off for nearly a decade.

Almost exactly two years later, in April 2009 under the new democratic presidential administration, the EPA proposed a finding that greenhouse gasses do in fact contribute to air pollution that may threaten public health. In early December of that year the Administrator signed two findings on GHG, under section 202 of the CAA: Continue reading

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If You Can’t Turn a Profit, You Must be in Div. I College Sports

CollegeSportsIn December of 2011, The Chronicle of Higher Education produced a series of articles entitled “What the Hell Has Happened to College Sports?” The publication gathered eight experts, a collection of former athletes, educators and sports writers, and asked them the title question about the state of major athletics in higher education and what they would suggest to fix the problems that currently stain the reputation of the NCAA and its members.

In his contribution “Bust the Amateur Myth,” Frank Deford, a sports journalist who has written for Sports Illustrated and other notable sports news outlets, contends that the amateur model is an “indefensible, antiquated system,” that cannot succeed. His solution is to end it and move towards a professional way of doing things that sees the players paid for their efforts.  C Thomas McMillen, a former college and professional basketball player who has also served in Congress and the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, does not feel the ideals of the amateur system need to be abandoned so recklessly. In his piece, “Eliminate the Profit Motive,” McMillen admits the NCAA is facing a tough road, but sees the possibility of saving college athletics not by giving more money to the students, but by seeing less of it in the hands of a few powerful schools and individuals.

Deford states that college football and basketball players are the only premier athletes in the world “denied payment for their services in sports where significant sums of money are involved.” He points out that the inevitable corruption of a system wherein large sums of “money is mixed with forced pro-bono performing,” has been recognized by organizations across the world, from tennis to rugby to the Olympics. Nowhere else has it been condoned and allowed to survive. He points out that while the student athletes work for free, coaches are paid multi-million dollar contracts and scores of others, from journalists to apparel companies, make plenty of money off the work of these young adults.

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