Environmentalists were among the people who were very happy that President Obama was re-elected. Of course that’s not surprising considering that Mother Jones noted the weekend before the election that Mitt Romney had pledged to “take a weed whacker” to federal environmental regulations and had also vowed to reverse many of the administration’s regulations on the coal industry. David Kreutzer, an energy expert at the Heritage Foundation, was quoted by numerous news sources as saying, "Obama's re-election will have a huge impact. We'll see the continuation, and perhaps the acceleration, of anti-fossil-fuels regulations."
Photo: The Washington Post/Getty
A Positive Wave
In February, Oregon passed Senate Bill 1510, which established the first network of marine reserves and marine-protected areas (MPAs) off the state’s coast. Oceana said that the new marine reserves and MPAs added 109 square miles to the nine square miles that had been previously designated. They noted that, “The marine reserves will be ‘no-take’ and the MPAs will allow activities like fishing for Dungeness crab and salmon, while prohibiting bottom trawling, the harvest of forage fish, and offshore development.”
Photo: National Geographic/Getty
Mine Your Own Business
In an attempt to jump start the effort to mine iron from the Penokee Hills of Northern Wisconsin, Republican legislators introduced a mining bill in 2011 that Clean Wisconsin says “would have rolled back environmental protections, limited the voice of the public in the mine permit process, and eliminated accountability for mining companies.” The group worked with residents of the area and others to help defeat the legislation and it was a close call—the Senate rejected the bill by just one vote in early 2012.
Not in My Backyard
In another Election Day victory for environmentalists, 59 percent of the voters in the Boulder suburb of Longmont, Colorado approved a measure to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process by which natural gas is extracted from shale deposits. The measure also forbids the storage of fracking waste in city limits. The headline in the Longmont Times-Call succinctly summed things up: “Longmont fracking ban storms to victory.”
In September, Shell Oil announced that it would be forced to put off completing wells in the Alaskan Arctic for another year after a spill containment dome was damaged during a testing accident. This is particularly good news since, as we reported here in July, The New York Times stated that, “no system for capping a well has ever been tested in Arctic waters and that no technology for cleaning up oil in ice formations has ever been successfully demonstrated.”
Photo: David W Cerny/Reuters
Pulling the Plug on the Pipeline
In January, President Obama denied a permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that would transport crude oil almost 1,700 miles from the oil sands of Canada’s Alberta province, down through the Great Plains, to the Gulf Coast refineries of Port Arthur, Texas. In rejecting the permit, Obama said, "The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline's impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment.” But keep your fingers crossed. Last week, Moody’s predicted that Obama would eventually reverse course and green-light the pipeline.
Lawrence Karol is a writer and editor who lives with his dog, Mike. He is a former Gourmet staffer and enjoys writing about design, food, travel and lots of other stuff. @WriteEditDream | Email Lawrence | TakePart.com