2012 is just a few days away. That means all the 2011 year-in-review lists are coming out. I usually check out the lists for top news stories or top songs, but what about environmental policies?
This was certainly a year for environmental dispute with “the most anti-environment House in history” (as stated by Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA)) and several anti-environment bills and riders. In a year that was full of environmental debate, these are the stories that made the top of my list:
- Forest Service Planning Rule – The USDA Forest Service is revising a 30-year-old rule that oversees how the majority of forests in this country are managed. With the help of an advisory committee, the Forest Service hopes to create a more efficient Planning Rule in 2012.
- Everglades – The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has developed a proposal to restore and protect the Everglades ecosystem. The plan will address issues like habitat fragmentation and development that have had a negative impact on the areas wildlife.
- Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) – As part of the CFRL Coalition steering committee, American Forests worked on a report laying out the successes of the program in its first year. The program is already making an impact: 1,550 jobs have been created, 66,000 acres of wildlife habitat have been improved, and 90,000 acres have been cleared of fuels that contribute to destructive wildfires.
- Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) – Energy is a hot topic for the 2012 presidential campaign, and the search for domestic energy sources continues. One controversial site is the 10-02 coastal plain area of ANWR. The Alaskan Energy for Americans Job Act that would establish a drilling program in the coastal plain area was introduced in the House on November 14th, but has not made any movement since.
- Keystone Pipeline XL – President Obama passed a bill containing a measure to postpone the pipeline decision until late February. With elections coming up in 2012, the project may be delayed even further, as the pipeline is an important issue for many Obama supporters. The State Department also announced in November that the decision would be delayed until after the presidential election.
- COP 17 in Durban – With some provisions of the Kyoto Protocol set to expire next year, the participants of the COP 17 conference were determined to make plans to keep international climate change policy alive. The push for action, and the resulting agreement to reduce emissions, came from developing nations and those most affected by climate change. While not legally binding yet, all countries agreed to work towards a legally binding deal by 2015.
For more details on all of these topics, check out the policy reports and comments page on our website. Also, be sure to stay tuned as I share more policy perspectives with you in 2012. Happy New Year!