The US will have a Congress run by the Republicans (although not a supermajority in the Senate needed to overcome Obama vetoes).  What will likely happen regarding environmental policies?

Sadly, I fear a lot of posturing and continued gridlock.  Obama will try to force agencies to do his bidding by executive orders.  Congress will hold hearings galore and hold appointments and budgets hostage.  Anti-science politicians will rant and fight against change.  More bills and more Presidential vetoes.  More lawsuits will be filed by NGOs and companies. Agency staff will be demoralized and ineffective and leadership will bail.

On optimistic days, I hope that we will start dialogs and work out practical solutions that tweak existing laws and regulations and invent new ways that use life cycle thinking and principles of sustainability.

TSCA Tweak:  Something ought to be able to issue on TSCA along the lines of the Shimkus and Vitter bills that will allow Boxer to keep her precious Prop 65 and not blacklist 90% of the chemicals in commerce nor quash the development of new chemicals.  Obama shouldn't have too many pains signing it.

Ultra-optimism: Bipartisan and un-partisan groups will have the guts to start talking about separate legislation and voluntary programs to address widespread natural resource management issues that don't fit into legacy statutes and that overlap jurisdictions and national policy issues.  There would be explicit consideration of short term, transition periods, and long term system impacts to find solutions that support resilience and a thriving society.


Climate Change




Land Use


As a rulemaking wonk, I have to admit that the rulemaking and legislative processes are too dang slow to change and adapt to new understandings of how we are impacting the environment. Furthermore, both are bogged down with intricate details to placate special interests and are totally unmanageable except by the highly monied.  The US rulemaking and the democratic legislative process is intended to allow public input on the restrictions we choose to place on ourselves.  It's not supposed to be easy or decided by a small set of dictators. But we need improved processes that preserve the ability to find solutions that work and are fair for the vast majority of stakeholders.  But that requires participation, dialog, compromise, creativity, adaptability and agility by more than the 36.4% of eligible voters who bothered to vote in 2014.

Can we be un-partisan and work together on a better future?

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