The Hottest Summer on Record

The Hottest Summer on Record

The sweltering Summer of 2023 has come to a close. According to NASA and the World Meteorological Organization, it was Earth’s hottest summer on record, with July and August being the two hottest months ever recorded. Our warming climate has moved well beyond the era of minor temperature fluctuations and scientific modeling, it is slapping us in the face by smashing records and adversely affecting people’s lives. Here in the U.S., more than a dozen cities experienced their hottest summer ever. These include Pensacola, Sarasota and Key West, Florida; Mobile, Alabama; Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Del Rio, El Paso, San Antonio and Victoria, Texas; and Roswell, New Mexico. We are seeing real impacts on our health, on our economy and cost of living, and on our water and food supplies. The impacts of climate change are impossible to ignore, and its time for conservatives to get more engaged in crafting real solutions. Climate change is driven by the accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the Earth’s atmosphere, gases that act like a blanket to trap more the sun’s heat rather than allowing it to escape back into space. That extra heat not only results in sweltering heatwaves, it affects weather patterns, intensifies storms, expands the range of destructive or dangerous pests, and fuels wildfires. Florida, Arizona, California We have witnessed some record-breaking heat that put all previous summers to shame. NASA’s temperature data show that this summer’s record heat was not just a small blip on the radar. Average temperatures across the country during these months reached levels we’ve never seen before, bringing with them a multitude of challenges for...
CRS Releases “Restoring Accountability” Follow-up Report on Taxpayer Exposure from Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells

CRS Releases “Restoring Accountability” Follow-up Report on Taxpayer Exposure from Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells

PRESS RELEASE                     October 24, 2023 CRS Releases “Restoring Accountability” Follow-up Report on Taxpayer Exposure from Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship (CRS), a national grassroots organization with more than 23,000 members, has produced a new report following up on its 2021 report Broken Promises, which detailed the staggering taxpayer exposure from orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells. “Despite agreeing, as a condition of their drilling permit, to fully clean up and plug well sites once they are finished using them, oil and gas companies regularly skip out on that obligation, leaving us taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars in clean-up costs,” explained CRS president David Jenkins. This new report, with updated data, underscores how this fiscal burden on taxpayers continues to grow and explains how long overdue new rules proposed by the Department of Interior (RIN 1004–AE80) to significantly increase its oil and gas program bonding requirements can help. In Broken Promises, we reported that at the end of FY2020, there were more than 96,000 “producible and service wells” on federal public lands, which could leave U.S. taxpayers on the hook for as much as $13.7 billion in future clean-up costs. Since then, BLM has approved more than 11,200 additional permits for oil and gas companies to drill new wells on federal public lands—wells that, without federal bonding reform in place, potentially exposing U.S. taxpayers to an additional $1.6 billion more in clean-up costs. Taxpayers could eventually have to pony up as much as $15 billion, and that does not account for any potential...
Nixon’s Endangered Species Act turns 50

Nixon’s Endangered Species Act turns 50

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) turns 50 years old this year. The law, which was passed in 1973 by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in Congress (unanimous in the Senate) and signed into law by President Nixon, stands as an enduring testament that we can rise above our lesser instincts and be good stewards of what President Reagan referred to as “this magical planet that God gave us.” From the deliberate and cruel efforts to eradicate wolves and grizzly bears from the Lower 48, to the carelessness that drove the bald eagle, our national symbol, to the brink of extinction, history is full of examples where mankind has been intolerant of wildlife and/or ignorant of its needs. Thanks to the ESA, bald eagle numbers have recovered across the Lower 48, going from a low of 1,000 or less in the 1950s to more than 300,000 today. Wolves and grizzly bears have also rebounded significantly, with healthy, sustainable populations in several states. Unfortunately, too many people fail to recognize the ESA as the conservative law it is. President Reagan once rhetorically asked, “What is a conservative after all, but one who conserves?” Conservative political theorist Russell Kirk went even further, writing in a Baltimore Sun op-ed, “nothing is more conservative than conservation.”Wildlife, from apex predators to the tiniest insects, play an essential role in keeping the earth’s life-sustaining ecology healthy. Bears and wolves, by preying primarily on weak and sick moose, deer, or elk, make the populations of those ungulates healthier. And pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, are essential to our food crops. From my personal experiences, I have come to...
Every Breath Matters: Pollution & COVID-19

Every Breath Matters: Pollution & COVID-19

Nothing quite sharpens one’s focus on the importance of clean air quite like a respiratory illness that exploits lungs damaged—and made more vulnerable—by pollution. A recent study out of Harvard found that even a small increase in long-term exposure to air pollution significantly increases one’s risk of dying from COVID-19. The study focuses specifically on exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which includes the visible air pollution from vehicle exhaust and coal-fired power plants. These tiny particles of pollution are able to travel deep into one’s respiratory tract and reach the lungs. Exposure to PM2.5 is already known to cause inflammation and cellular damage. Evidence suggests that it may also suppress early immune response to infection. This pollution has been linked to many of the pre-existing conditions that increase mortality among those with COVID-19. The Harvard study, which analyzed 3,080 counties across the U.S., found that coronavirus patients in areas that had high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are more likely to die from the infection than patients in parts of the country with cleaner air. This should be a huge wake-up call to all of us, especially those who have not previously been concerned all that much about air pollution and how it affects their health. The study gives added urgency to expanding our use of renewable energy and electric vehicles (EVs). Having cheap, reliable, and clean electricity is important in the best of times, but it becomes most critical in times like these, where we face fear, uncertainty, and economic hardship. The energy market has changed dramatically in recent years, with solar energy emerging as...

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