Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Glacial slowness''

That's what Judge Alan Gold said about the EPA in a "blistering" order that accuses the agency of ignoring the judge's previous orders. From reporter Andy Reid:

U.S. District Judge Alan Gold in Miami blamed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for failing to heed his 2008 ruling that directed the agencies to enforce water-cleanup standards that were supposed to begin in 2006.
Instead, federal and state officials have opted for a 10-year extension to enforce tougher standards to clean up phosphorus in water that flows to the Everglades.
On Wednesday, Gold ordered the EPA and DEP to ``immediately carry out'' his previous mandates or face fines and sanctions for violating the federal Clean Water Act.
Gold also called out the South Florida Water Management District, which leads Everglades restoration. Gold said the district ``has chosen to ignore'' the court's call to enforce the water-quality standard.
``The hard reality is that ongoing destruction due to pollution within the Everglades Protection Area continues to this day at an alarming rate,'' Gold said in his ruling.

Gold isn't the only judge who is upset:

Gold became the second federal judge in recent weeks to raise concerns about the repercussions of the U.S. Sugar land deal on already-overdue Everglades restoration efforts.
U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno on March 31 ordered construction to resume on an Everglades restoration reservoir that had been shelved as the district tried to finalize the still-pending U.S. Sugar deal.
The unfinished reservoir in western Palm Beach County has already cost taxpayers almost $280 million.
The Miccosukee Tribe, which contends that Everglades restoration is off course, filed the legal challenges that led to both judges' rulings.
The tribe has also teamed with U.S. Sugar competitor Florida Crystals to wage a legal fight to try to stop the U.S. Sugar land deal.
They argue the deal threatens to take money from other restoration efforts, such as the reservoir, and would lead to further restoration delays.
"You are supposed to be cleaning up the water,'' Miccosukee attorney Dexter Lehtinen said. "They are abandoning the already existing plans. It's a deliberate ignoring of the requirements.''


Anonymous said...

Good for him! What a sad commentary that a judge has to order these two environmental protection agencies to do their job in protecting Florida's environment.

Fake Ed Williams said...

Nice cross of Justice Thomas in the House today:

Rep. Crenshaw: There are a disproportionate share of clerks that come from either Harvard or Yale… Is the reason for that because people from Harvard and Yale are better qualified to be Supreme Court justice clerks or do a disproportionate share of students from those schools apply?
Justice Thomas throws the rest of the justices to the Congressional wolves:

Thomas: I for one think there are excellent kids… from all over the country… I tend to hire from a very broad pool. I have [clerks] from Harvard, Yale, Utah and Notre Dame… But it’s an individual thing. I hire my own clerks and I have my own criteria. And I’m certain the other members of the Court have theirs and with that may go their comfort level with moving beyond the Ivy Leagues, or too far beyond.
Thomas has made that argument before. He pointed out that he’s had the broadest base of law school grads as clerks, with the possible exception of Justice Stevens.

But Congresswoman Barbara Lee was not satisfied with CT’s answer.

She pointed out that Harvard and Yale are “excellent institutions… but there are few minorities attending these law schools.” She asked why there aren’t grads from Howard or Texas Southern getting clerkships, or why there isn’t more “regional diversity, like Boalt Hall.”

This led Thomas to throw feeder judges — i.e., the lower-court judges who send clerks on to the Supremes — and the federal courts in general under the bus:

Thomas: The pool for us — all of our clerks, or virtually all, with rare exception — come from the Court of Appeals… So you look first at the Court of Appeals — what does that look like? Then you look at what we pull from that…

The reality is that Hispanics and blacks do not show up in any great numbers.

Lee: “They don’t show up” — why?
So then Thomas threw the law schools under the bus:

Thomas: I don’t think it’s up to us to increase the pool. It comes from law schools and other judges.

That was the set-up. Here is the finish:

Lee: But what’s in the pool has to do, unfortunately, with some of your decisions on the Supreme Court that have shut out many people of color in some of these institutions so if we go there, we could really have a good healthy discussion about some of your decisions.

Nice work.