Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  July ended a NOAA public comment period regarding the North Pacific right whale, the start of a 5-year review under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.  The review “must be based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review.”  Whales have human friends but maybe not this particular whale.  NOAA’s docket presents just one public comment, which raises important issues about energy exploration, plastic pollution and over-fishing and loss of diet.  NOAA writes that they will continue to accept new information about “any listed species at any time.”  Peeps had better speak up.
*  Check this out: Federal Transit Administration (FTA) proposed new, experimental procedures to encourage increased project management flexibility, more innovation in project funding, improved efficiency, timely project implementation, and new project revenue streams.  What?  Make things quicker, easier and cheaper?  No way!  FTA is seeking comments on its ideas.  Wait a minute – if these revisions could work for FTA, maybe these ideas could extend all through DOT’s empire?  Stay tuned.

*  The Department of Commerce announced last week that US coal companies will supply coal to the Ukraine’s state-owned power generation company Centrenergo PJSC.  This is about power, and, of course, power, i.e., the military-political realpolitik of who is squeezing whom, and who or why they can get away with it.  If you’re a Mom in Kiev trying to keep your kids warm and the charming Mr. Putin is withholding Russia’s natural gas to teach you a lesson, well, you’re probably pretty glad to have a diversified fuel source.  In a way, it’s all still like that old Berlin airlift thing isn’t it…?  Sorry, drifting off topic…

Tom Ewing
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