The Tune Inn bar in Washington, DC. (Credit: Bill Walsh/flickr)

Peter Dykstra: A Congressman goes into a bar ...

And other curiosities from the past week

Two news items this week illustrate the sometimes-maddening struggle for environmental progress.


On Tuesday, the U. S. Energy Information Administration reported that domestic coal consumption has dropped to its lowest level since 1979.

Huzzah! That'll take a bite out of the world's carbon crimes.

Or not.

On Wednesday, Stanford's Global Carbon Project reported that worldwide carbon emissions will rise in 2018 for the second consecutive year. This increases the likelihood that the strict limits of global temperature rise called for by climate experts will be farther out of reach.

Sliming a distinguished member of Congress—and an equally distinguished DC dive bar

Beset on all sides by more than a dozen potential ethics violations, at least one of which is reportedly a criminal violation, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Eagle Scout Emeritus, has struck back.

With the Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives next month, Congressman Raul Grijalva will likely Chair the House Natural Resources Committee. He has promised to make Zinke's life unpleasant, and called for his resignation in a USA Today op-ed.

Zinke would have none of it. He took to Twitter, criticizing not just Grijalva's drinking habits, but his drinking habitat.

The Interior Secretary, whose expertise in habitats would normally be respected, took a swipe at the Tune Inn, a Capitol Hill dive bar located a few blocks from the Capitol and Grijalva's office in the Longworth Building.

My, what a political tin ear. The Tune Inn is a revered, dusty dump of a place where hunting trophies festoon the walls and Patsy Cline rules the jukebox.

Its bipartisan barflies down PBR's and legendary double cheeseburgers.

Don't ask me how I know all this, but there were times during my 12 years in Washington when the Tune Inn was the only place that made the slightest bit of sense in the whole city. I look fondly on my time there, but I'm never going back. I mean, to live. If I'm visiting, I'll definitely stop at the Tune Inn.

A final word about George H.W. Bush 

Former President George H.W. Bush at Joint Base Andrews. (Credit: US Navy)

Much has been said about the passing of George H. W. Bush, so I'll be brief. He fit the now-obsolete definition of a Republican environmentalist.

We're 22 months into the Trump presidency, and Bloomberg News recently compared Trump's enthusiasm for the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to that of every other recent President. From inauguration to the midterm elections, Trump's team proposed only 15 species for ESA protection. But the Reagan Administration proposed adding only 12 over the same time period. President George H.W. Bush proposed 70; his son, 22. Among the Democrats, only Bill Clinton proposed more than Papa Bush, 166. Jimmy Carter had 61, and Barack Obama 56.

Bush also attended the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. He signed what some environmentalists considered a watered-down climate agreement. But that's a far cry from today's denial-driven Republicans.

And one more non-environmental word about Bush 41. I'm in a wheelchair. Bush championed and signed the American with Disabilities Act. It's a law I benefit from every day. Thanks.

Print Friendly and PDF
SUBSCRIBE TO EHN'S MUST-READ DAILY NEWSLETTER: ABOVE THE FOLD
Credit: Kristina Marusic
Pittsburgh

Clairton residents plead with officials to protect them from pollution following US Steel fire

PITTSBURGH—Residents from eight communities surrounding the Clairton Coke Works gathered alongside environmental advocates in Clairton on Wednesday to share their concerns about the health impacts of a recent influx in air pollution resulting from an accident at the plant nearly a month ago.

Keep reading... Show less
Originals

LISTEN: Visiting climate migrants in New Bern, North Carolina

Lewis Raven Wallace visits displaced residents in New Bern, North Carolina, who are still struggling for housing and health in the wake of last year's Hurricane Florence.

Keep reading... Show less
Victor, who shines shoes downtown for work, is "squatting" in his own town house at Trent Court in New Bern. (Credit: Lewis Raven Wallace)
Popular

Lingering long after a storm, mold and mental health issues

Editor's note: This story is part of a series examining the social and health injustices resulting from increasingly intense storms and is the result of a collaboration between EHN and Scalawag Magazine, an independent nonprofit magazine that covers the American South.

Read part 1 here.

Keep reading... Show less
From our Newsroom

Above The Fold

Daily & Weekly newsletters all free.