Maybe The Feds Aren't So Useless After All

Like most intelligent human beings, the more I look at Waxman-Markey the more dismayed I am. If you thought Obama could actually stop lobbyists writing legislation, you missed the audacity of whatever gets past Pelosi and Reid. I take Gerson's view that it's a start. But after so much procrastination, we're really back to the fierce urgency of whenever, aren't we? But here's something to give you something to celebrate. The federal government may even - wait for it - do something itself to address a problem:

The Department of Interior, which is by far the largest landowner in the United States, and which at various points in its history has been seen as a beacon of the "drill, baby, drill!" philosophy of land management (cf: James Watt, passim), [is] in fact now quite serious about applying a "Re-greening" approach to the 20 percent of the US landmass under its control.

The idea is to develop the land to absorb more carbon:

Hayes gave more details than I will recount here. They boiled down to a sequence of: trying to measure and understand the carbon-absorption properties of the various lands under its control; seeing how they can be improved, including with market-based offsets; telling the story to the public of why protecting and expanding forests, grasslands, wetlands, etc has an important climate-change component; making forest-preservation an important part of international climate negotiations (rather than talking only about clean-energy sources); and a lot more.

This is indeed most encouraging. But if the Interior Department is like the rest of this lotta-talk not-so-much-action administration, I'll believe it when I see it.