Sarah Laskow

Sarah Laskow is a journalist based in New York.

Recent Articles

How Long Will Salazar Stay at Interior?

On Friday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar [introduced]( http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/165811-salazar-queries-cong... ) the Obama administration's much-reduced plan for conservation of public land. Late last year, the administration [was arguing]( http://prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month=03&year=2011&base_na... ) the the government should consider conservation—leaving land wild, even for a little while—as a possible use of public land. Now the only lands that will be left wild will be the lands that Interior and Congress consider "crown jewels." Salazar wrote to Congress asking members to put forward conservation possibilities that fit that description. But what does it mean? It implies that the pieces of land in question stand out in some way—are the most beautiful, or the most fit for recreation. But Salazar also implies in his letter that they are whichever pieces of land would be least controversial to protect, that is, places for which there is...

What Action on Climate Change Would Romney Support?

Conor Friedersdorf argues this morning at The Atlantic that the right and its talk radio hosts are not doing conservatives any favors by pushing the conversation on climate in a way that will allow only conservative candidates who disavow climate change to get the nomination. (Rick Santorum argues a leftist conspiracy is using a happenstance trend in weather patterns to push government regulation.) Instead, Friedersdorf proposes that Republicans look for a message that would marshal "the biggest anti-carbon-tax, anti-cap-and-trade-alliance," and, at the very least, push Mitt Romney to disavow any interest in a carbon tax. But given that Romney, the front-runner for the moment, does believe in climate change, wouldn't it also be useful to know what he is for, instead of only what he is against? He said last week that he thinks "it is important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases." How does he propose to do that? He's said some nice things about the...

Harry Reid's Power Plays

Sometimes, it's good to be Harry Reid. You get to announce that the Department of Energy is loaning your state $350 million to create a geothermal power plant, which draws energy from water heated deep in the earth. It also creates jobs! (OK, not too many jobs, but 330 temporary construction jobs and more than 60 permanent jobs.) Also, your former staffer now chairs the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and can help derail that pesky and unpopular Yucca Mountain project. A report from the NRC's inspector general says that this staffer, Gregory Jaczko, did not break any laws, but kept information from his fellow commissioners that would have clued them into the impact of a budget guidance directive he had issued. The directive told staffers that since Congress hadn't passed a FY11 budget, they should look for guidance to the president's budget, which argued Yucca Mountain should not go forward. Kimberley Strassel at The Wall Street Journal also thinks that Jaczko kept a vote in favor of...

Crashing a Bike into Trucks, Laws, and Public Perception

Casey Neistat got a $50 ticket for riding outside of a bike lane in New York and made an amazing video in which he demonstrates why, exactly, a cyclists might venture outside of the lines. (Skip ahead to 1'10" or so to see him crashing into stuff.) Neistat got his ticket around the time the city was cracking down on cyclists for traffic infractions. The police officers giving the tickets were often ignorant of the rules; biking outside of a bike land is allowed, as long as it's for safety reasons. This video is funny, but it's another piece of evidence that New York is taking exactly the wrong approach to expanding cycling in the city. After rapidly expanding the infrastructure for cycling, the Bloomberg administration decided to cave to bike critics and make it super annoying for cyclists to use the nice new lanes by ticketing them excessively and beginning a public ad campaign that target cyclists as "jerks." Who wins here? Not the administration, which is undermining its own policy...

What the Clean Air Act Has in Common With Preventative Medicine

The Clean Air Act, which has been taking a beating lately, falls under the EPA's jurisdiction, but in some ways, it's really a law about public health. Its goal is not to keep the air clean solely for the sake of atmospheric purity: polluted air exacerbates conditions like bronchitis, asthma, and heart disease. One of the law's earliest iterations, in 1963, established an air pollution program under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Public Health Service. The Clean Air Act works on the same principle that visiting a primary care doctor is meant to: it helps prevent people from getting sick to begin with. Much of the law's recent trouble has grown from its new application to carbon pollution, as opposed to more obviously dangerous pollutants, like lead and sulfur dioxide. And the connection between soot and poor health is clearer than the connection between carbon pollution and health problems. But it's going to get up to 101 degrees today in places on the East Coast. Maybe higher. As...

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