The court case, Babbitt v. Sweet Home Chapter of Communities for a Great Orego

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Babbitt v. Sweet Home Chapter of Communities for a Great Oregon (1995) is a United States Supreme Court decision involving the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (O'Leary, 2016). Declaring that taking or harming any endangered or threatened species from their natural habitats is illegal. There was some discussion over earlier limits imposed on the northern spotted owl and red-cockaded woodpecker. Plaintiffs claimed that as a result of the Threatened Species Act and logging regulations, many people were enduring financial hardship.  Due to this, plaintiffs challenge the interpretation of the word “harm” resulting in the Supreme Court reversing appeals placed, confirming the Department of the Interior’s regulation (O'Leary, 2016). Notably, the case’s ruling (judgment) stated that using economics as a means to argue out that conserving an endangered animal’s survival was irrefutable. Hence, the definition of what ‘harm’ means based on endangered animals and not human economic activities.

The TVA v. Hill case (1978) was the courts first attempt at interpreting the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Throughout this case, the TVA wanted to construct a dam where the Little and Big Tennessee River meet with the desired goal to extend the river, and create a 30-mile-long reservoir (Justice, 2015). However, the plaintiff argued that the construction of the Tellico Dam would abolish the environment and imperil the snail darter populace the of which reside in the Little Tennessee River. When moving forward, by damaging the snail darter’s habitat and with a large amount of money spent from public funds, plaintiffs took authority saying that this would be the first big test to find out how much the court cares to enforce the ESA (Justice, 2015). With much consideration, the Supreme Court and The Court of Appeals concluded that although the dam could affect the snail population, it was found that the ESA didn’t relate. In response, the Congress passed a bill that released the Tellico Dam from the ESA resulting in the dam being built in 1979 (Justice, 2015). Although the dam was still constructed in the end, this decision ensured that when in need, the court will indeed enforce the act and that development does not always endanger the animal species. This case is significant to the environmental policy because it demonstrates how even in intense debate, the courts collaborate to obtain a favorable outcome while evaluating the issues it will cause. In the end, this case resulted in the Congress adding the “God Committee” which implies that economic implications will be considered in future projects (Justice, 2015). Causing this case to be individually significant to the environmental policy.

The Chevron v. NRDC case (1984) was a landmark case in the Supreme Court. In this case, the court had to determine whether to grant deference to interpretation by a government agency of a statute it administers. The case was a sheer reference to the Congressional Act on administrative office through an elucidation of a particular provision of the enactment of regulation. However, the fact, according to critiques within the legal fraternity, argues that the case did not make any presumed impact and was merely following the law as it is the Court’s approach.

Part II- Short Answers

A. Krupp’s main point throughout his article is that although many are skeptics, climate change is real, and it can be observed throughout the various changes in weather patterns over the recent years (Krupp, 2012). Scientists from the MIT felt compelled to write a letter in response to Krupp’s article because they thought he failed to provide his readers with proof of the trend in extremely high temperatures to support his statement on “hotter and wilder weather” (Krupp, 2012). Scientists argue that it is hard to believe what Krupp is trying to portray to his readers due to the few claims of hotter weather they have personally experienced (Roger W. Cohen, 2012). Scientists from the MIT state that with the help from outside sources, such as NOAA, humanity has experienced changes in the climate over history and because of this, they feel that these weather patterns don’t all directly relate to CO2 emissions. Although the scientists make a valid point, we do experience “the hottest day of the year,” every year, Krupp’s side has the best argument. Krupp attempts to explain the causes and effects of climate change elaborating on the common reasons of increased surface temperatures. Whereas the scientists discuss situations only to disagree with Krupp without providing us with valuable evidence of what they believe causes climate change.

B. According to Tucker, there is a misleading concept about renewable resources of energy. Tucker finds this idea to be misleading because renewable energy resources “can only be renewed at a pace that natural cycles allow (Tucker, 2008)” when we have various sources of energy stored within our crust. He discusses the idea of the carbon cycle related to photosynthesis, that taming fire was one of the best energy inputs ever created in human history, and the importance of the organic material, coal (Tucker, 2008). Using renewable sources such as hydroelectric dams, waves or “lunar energy,” among various others Tucker argues isn’t as good as what coal provides us with. He has also argued that the collection of renewable resources is inexhaustible and isn’t always renewable. Tucker states that “terrestrial energy offers us the opportunity to power the world while eliminating all manners of environmental degradation (Tucker, 2008).” Furthermore, Morris also believes that the concept of green jobs is misleading since it has a lot of interior illogicalities, vague jargon, doubtful science and contempt for basic economic philosophies. Morris states that the claims of harvesting the sun will heal the land seem to be erected on “seven myths” about finances, projecting, and expertise (Andrew P. Morris, 2009). It has been said that with Green jobs, we will develop a growth in employment whereas Morris follows this myth with a factual statement such that, “Promoting more jobs instead of more productivity leads to low-paying jobs in less desirable conditions (Andrew P. Morris, 2009).” Due to this being a standard issue seen throughout the Morris reading as well as various others, the debate on renewable energy resources should be based on facts, not myths (Andrew P. Morris, 2009). Isaac’s and Spiegel’s articles also disregard the concept of renewable energy saying that it mainly increases the prices of energy with will affect the economy (Staff, 2013). While evaluating the various readings by Tucker, Morris, Der Speigel and Isaac, although they all touch on significant aspects to consider, Isaac’s and Spiegel’s article seemed to have the better case because they specify how much it’s going to cost the citizens to adopt renewable energy in European countries. Whereas the other readings touched on the various myths or promised ideas the government wanted us to believe, where we are today, and the unreliable sources not always being renewable. Isaac’s and Speigel’s point relates to the general public on a more personal level as for with any environmental policy, the majority of people think about the cost. If the value to produce such technology and equipment is high, it's hard to say how much we will genuinely benefit.

C. When evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of collaboratives for managing environmental and natural resource problems, common management terms used include; Top-down hierarchical meaning regulation, rules, structures, consequences, and fines. Next to being Bottom-up collective meaning decision making, volunteer, community-based, time costs and compliance. Lastly, Individual meaning privatization, market-driven, and assumptions about people being rational and having access to good information, resulting in fake news. Some strengths or advantages commonly take place within top-down and bottom-up hierarchical. In top-down hierarchical, it includes a person or group of people acting like a manager in a top position, commonly known as government officials. During environmental resource problems, this system can be beneficial due to the directional support they provide us. Meaning, within the three necessary levels of federal courts including; U.S. District Courts, U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court, it is the U.S. Supreme Court that makes all the final decisions. They provide structure, consequences, fines, and management when dealing with the various environmental policies we see today. Whereas in bottom-up control, whenever there is an issue or debate, all ideas or opinions first go through the bottom of the three, working its way up to an ending again, with the U.S. Supreme Court where appeals are then reviewed. Having this structure may seem annoying to some, but it's because of this system why we can maintain a healthy environment. Without this system, many policy debates would never be solved due to the various issues that arise. However, although top-down and bottom-up hierarchical seem to be an advantage, they can cause disadvantages as well. For example, if there is an immediate issue it must pass through the various stages of our court system before becoming law or regulation, resulting in a lengthy process.

Part IV- Essay

The 1994 Northwest Forest Plan was a result of three studies done in the early 1990’s. The first study done in 1990 was “a conservation strategy for the Northern spotted owl (Thomas et al. 1990) (Thomas J. W., 2006)” This study successfully challenged the adequacy of the national plans to defend the Northern Spotted Owl. It resulted in an order on the harvesting of owl habitats and the listing of owls as a threatened species (Thomas J. W., 2006). The second study was, “alternatives for management of late-successional forests of the Pacific Northwest (Johnson et al. 1991) (Thomas J. W., 2006).” This study argues that the conservation should not only be about owls but also the other species found in the forest. They also wanted the preservation of the wild fish stock. The third and final study was the conservation of species that inhabited Late-Successional and riparian areas (Thomas J. W., 2006). This study was done in 1993, and it decided that the amount of species related with old-growth forest was more than 34 species.

Has the NWFP worked? Identify and apply a series of reasonable criteria for making this assessment and conduct your analysis here.

In my opinion, the North-West Forest Plan instituted by President Bill Clinton has not achieved its mandate. Therefore, it has not worked efficiently to cater for all the stakeholders and still improve on the protection of old forest covers in the United States of |America. To be precise, there are numerous ways through which the plan has worked, for instance; there has been an increase in forest biodiversity (Thomas, 2006), which is part of its program. The need to improve the living conditions of some of the almost extinct animals within the forests. Nonetheless, as proposed earlier, the NWFP has not worked for an extended period. The issue is that the forest plan has not yet considered the loggers who are part of the program. Issues have been raised on the ability of the loggers who are provided with access to the forests may not have the necessary logging capacities to ensure that they stay in business.

One of the main reasons the plan has failed is due to the need to give leeway to loggers to gain entry into the forests. By the sheer fact that the loggers are having closed business meetings with concerned agencies means that there might be a consideration for increasing the number of logs that the loggers have access. As such, by allowing that door to open, it will create a rippling effect for the future where the loggers may also claim they lack the capacities to meet the demand. Further, in my opinion, the plan has failed because initially there should have been a measure that can be used when such issues are raised up. Is the idea to safeguard the forests with the need to compromise or is the aim to protect the forests without any regard for economic activities within the forests? More so, there are dangerous loopholes in the plan which do not explain how such issues are to be effectively handled and who has precedence in protection- the forest or the loggers?

Make at least three suggestions for how the NWFP can be improved (make sure you explain how your opinions will work and why, and for whom or what).

The NWFP has worked well so far in the protection of biodiversity within the forests. However, with there being more loopholes in the plan that permits Congress to permit more loggers which goes against the initial idea. Therefore, in my opinion, one of the measures to ensure that the forest is protected is to segregate the forest in sections. Each section can be used by the loggers for a period allowing other parts of the forests to grow. But, the loggers are controlled through certification. The certification entails that the loggers ought to cut down specific trees that have been analyzed as not being homes for animals and cutting down a certain percentage of trees is dimmable for a specified period. The process has to be regulated regarding years where the forest agency governs the roadmaps for the loggers, tracks the loggers entry and exist and recording of how much timber has been harvested in the forest. The sections of the forests will be regulated based on how long individual trees grow to control as well as the forest cover.

Even though the NWFP has helped in the conservation of several animal species, there is still a need for the plan to set standards for the protection of animals. This aspect may lead to further increases in animals in the forest. This program can also be improved through the involvement of the general public in its discussion making. It helps the individuals feel like they are part of the community and they may assist in finding a solution for some of the problems faced by the forest. Finally, the NWFP can be made better through the strengthening of the reserve network through coming up with sustainable ways to protect the forest in this climate change era. It will ensure the provision of habitats for wild animals in this ever-changing environment.

Works Cited

Andrew P. Morris, e. a. (2009). 7 Myths About Green Jobs. Bozeman: PERC.

Davis, S. J. (2010). Future CO2 Emissions and Climate Change from Existing Energy Infrastructure. Science AAAS.

Isaac, R. J. (2012). Europe's Green Energy Suicide. The Wall Street Journal.

Johnson, J. F. (2012). A Restoration Framework for Federal Forests in the Pacific Northwest. Journal of Forestry, 1-20.

Justice, D. o. (2015, May 15). Tennessee Valley Authority V. Hill. Retrieved from The United States Department of Justice:

Krupp, F. (2012). A New Climate-Change Consensus. The Wall Street Journal.

O'Leary, R. (2016). Enviornmental Policy in the Courts. In M. E. Norman J. Vig, Enviornmental Policy; New Directions for the Twenty-First Century (pp. 139-148). Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, Boston. : SAGE.

Ridley, M. (2012). Notable & Quotable: 'Lukewarmers' in the debate over climate change. The Wall Street Journal, 1.

Roger W. Cohen, e. a. (2012). Letter to the Editor: 'Climate Consensus' Data Need a More Careful Look. The Wall Street Journal, 1-2.

Staff, S. (2013, September 4). How Electricity Became a Luxury Good. Retrieved from Spiegel Online:

Thomas J. W., J. F. (2006). The Northwest Forest Plan: Origins, Components, Implementation Experience, and Suggestions for Change. Society for Conservation Biology.

Tucker. (2008). Terrestrial Energy. In Tucker.

May 02, 2023

Learning Ecology

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