- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Who would’ve thought Earth Day could prove so divisive for the environmental movement?

Enviro-bloggers at Grist.org have started a tongue-in-cheek “Screw Earth Day!” campaign to push for more sustained recognition of the globe’s environmental problems than the one-day-a-year celebration can offer.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson ended her Earth Day message with a hint at plans to expand the official green push beyond one day in 365.

“Celebrate Earth Day this year by making April into Earth Month, then think about stretching out into an entire year,” she said in a video posted on the EPA web site.

And columnist and ardent enviro-evangelist Thomas Friedman — who was pelted with green pies by a handful of disgruntled environmental activists last year around Earth Day — has frequently said that the concept of one day to focus on green efforts undercuts the environmental movement.

On the other side of the green divide sit nonprofit groups, public relations firms and businesses firmly embracing the environmental holiday with the latest, most sustainable products.

Disney will plant a tree for every person who sees its new movie “Earth” during its opening week. The makers of Nasonex allergy medicine will plant up to 20,000 new hypoallergenic trees for every person who plays its online game starring a giant nose stacking picnic baskets.

Ikea is touting being Ikea (with organic Swedish delicacies galore and energy-efficient lighting systems). And, despite its name, ZeroWater promises it will provide plenty of clean water through a filtration system to mark the day.

Hold that teleconference

Environmental groups may want to wait on holding a teleconference Tuesday outlining their response to pending EPA regulations.

The Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Foundation and handful of other green groups sent out press releases touting a briefing outlining their reaction to the expected imminent release on the so-called “endangerment finding.”

But the EPA, according to Washington Times reporter Ed Felker, has no plans to release the endangerment finding this week. The widely anticipated finding could be the basis for major new environmental regulations down the road.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that carbon dioxide should be considered a pollutant and regulated as such under the Clean Air Act. While the Bush administration held back issuing the rule, the Obama administration has moved quickly on the measure, moving the measure to the top of its environmental agenda.

Energy analysts have viewed the endangerment finding more as a cudgel to force action on climate change rather than a tool for curbing global warming.

Off the Hill

While Congress continues its recess, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar continues his offshore energy tour, holding the final two of four meetings this week.

Mr. Salazar will spend all day Tuesday in Anchorage, Alaska, and all day Thursday in San Francisco hearing from business leaders, public officials, activists and anyone else with an opinion on what the nation should be doing with its offshore resources.

Mr. Salazar released a widely-awaited report on offshore energy resources earlier this month which was light on fossil fuel findings (compiling old studies) and focused more heavily on renewable energy sources. But while many energy executives have been skittish about what might become of the nation’s pockets of oil offshore, the Obama administration has said that fossil fuels are still an option for energy development.

The HR File

Ned Farquhartakes over as the Interior Department’s deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management. Mr. Farquhar was a former senior energy adviser to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and also worked for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

And, as part of the ongoing mass-greening of the District’s nonprofit sector, the Integrated Waste Services Association has renamed itself the “Energy Recovery Council.”

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