Posted in BROWNFIELDS, ECOLOGY, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, HABITAT, LAM MAGAZINE, LAND MATTERS, POLLUTION, REGION, REGULATIONS, tagged Alpha Natural Resources, Appalachian Mountains, biodiversity, coal, Donald Trump, Hydrologic Balance, Massey Energy, mining, Mountaintop Removal, Obama, regulations, Stream Protection Rule, Streams on February 17, 2017|
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BY BRADFORD MCKEE
Image courtesy of iLoveMountains.org [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
Among the very early priorities of the new Republican-controlled Congress was to give the greenest of lights to any corporation—corporations being people—that wants to blow off the top of a gorgeous Appalachian mountain for coal, throw the spoils into the nearest headwaters, ruin the stream, ruin much downstream, and destroy a spectrum of wildlife, not to mention human life, in the process.
The instrument was a joint resolution of the House and Senate that pulled back the Stream Protection Rule, a long-sought goal of the Obama administration to prevent mountaintop removal for mining, which took effect on January 19, Obama’s last day as president. Its reversal by Congress was presented to President Trump on February 6. The resolution kills the Obama rule, which (more…)
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Posted in CITIES, CLIMATE, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, FEATURES, LAM MAGAZINE, REGION, RESEARCH, tagged arctic, Arctic Design Group, climate change, coal, Cold Climate Research, Leena Cho, Longyearbyen, Matthew Jull, National Science Foundation, Norway, Partnerships for International Research and Education, Svalbard, Svalbard Science Centre, U.S. Arctic Research Commission, UNIS, University of Virginia, Urbanism on January 9, 2017|
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BY JESSICA BRIDGER
The Arctic could be the next hot place to live.
The dock screeches and groans, the noises of cold metal in cold air. It is dawn as 14 students, two instructors, and one journalist board the Langøsund. The boat sits in the Adventfjord in the High Arctic. Barren gray slopes, crusted with snow on their peaks, rise from the glassy surface of the sea. The sky’s colors are reflected in the fjord, a mirror of this strange, cold place.
The mission is an experiment in design education: an expedition for serious research about the human settlement potential of Arctic places. We motor out into the water, leaving Longyearbyen (population 2,144), bound for Barentsburg (population 471). Both towns lie on Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago, halfway between the Norwegian mainland and the North Pole. Longyearbyen is said to be the northernmost town with a permanent population in the world.
Leena Cho double-checks the zipper on her poppy-red jacket as the boat makes headway. She grins at the students; (more…)
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Posted in ECOLOGY, EDUCATION, LAM MAGAZINE, LAND MATTERS, tagged Bradford McKee, Clean Power Plan, coal, Congress, December, EPA, Keystone XL pipeline, oil drilling, presidency, Trump, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on November 15, 2016|
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BY BRADFORD McKEE
Courtesy Peretz Partensky [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons.
There can scarcely be any overstating the threat the Trump presidency poses to the interests of the landscape architecture community, which center ardently on the welfare of human society and ecology and the planet. If design is the sum of all constraints, as Charles and Ray Eames said, this presidency will be the greatest constraint many of us will work under in our lifetimes, on the order of anathema to everything landscape architecture has ever stood for. We have to get right to work and be very canny about it, or the Trump administration, along with a Congress controlled by some of the most venal people ever to lodge themselves into American politics, will be a disaster well beyond the many ways we can name even now.
During the campaign, Trump’s positions on public policy, such as they were—and fairly obscured by endless evidence of his career as a liar, a swindler, a bully, a bigot, and a sexual predator—did not, to me, warrant detailed study. They weren’t policies in any developed sense. (OK, there was the child-care one, but what was that?) They consisted largely of frequent impulsive eruptions calculated only to produce outrage among his disaffected rabble and people of greater composure, though different strains of outrage, for sure. However masterful he is at plucking a populace, in terms of governance I kept thinking of the line about the French revanchist and anti-Semite Paul Déroulède, who was said to have “the political vision of a child.” If you heard what I heard during Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention this summer, you got a gothic harangue of wild paranoia and vengeance. It was pure Tarantino. I found myself fantasizing that Ronald Reagan would appear in the form of a fireball to relay a few words from God.
No, what got my attention most then and since is the Republican Party platform. The section on natural resources begins on page 17. On oil drilling: “[W]e support the (more…)
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