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Weekly John Locke Foundation research division newsletter focusing on environmental issues.

This newsletter highlights relevant analysis done by the JLF and other think tanks as well as items in the news.

1. In a fit of honesty, Interior head tells staff that global warming skeptics are not welcome

Obama’s new Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, pictured right, told her staff directly something that no one would actually be surprised to know, but that is a little surprising for an Interior Secretary to actually announce publicly — on the question of global warming, skepticism with respect to her views is not welcome. Of course, Jewell didn’t use the respectful term "skeptic" when referring to those who might disagree with her views. Instead she use used the pejorative "denier." Addressing her staff, she proclaimed that "I hope there are no climate change deniers in the Department of Interior." She also told them that combating global warming is a "moral imperative" and added that it was a "privilege." Of course, when a goal is a "moral imperative," there can be no room for disagreement, and if there’s no disagreement, there’s no science.

Personally, I find the secretary’s honesty refreshing. She doesn’t even pretend to honor scientific openness or objectivity with respect to considering the economic costs and benefits of alternative policies. It’s about morality, much like fighting the Nazis or communism during the Cold War. Marlo Lewis writing on assesses the situation as follows:

Only a few months on the job and Jewell already behaves like a self-righteous bully. A good swift dose of congressional oversight is in order. It might just keep the thought police from harassing climate dissenters at DOI.

2. 2013 Ozone Report — the good news continues

The 2013 ozone season began on April 1 and, as in the past, each week during the ozone — often called smog — season this newsletter will report how many, if any, high ozone days have been experienced throughout the state during the previous week, where they were experienced, and how many have been recorded during the entire season to date. According to current EPA standards, a region or county experiences a high ozone day if a monitor in that area registers the amount of ozone in the air as 76 parts per billion (ppb) or greater. The official ozone season will end on October 31. All reported data is preliminary and issued by the North Carolina Division of Air Quality, which is part of the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources. During the period from July 29 to August 4 there were no high-ozone days recorded. For the state as a whole there has been only 1 high ozone day recorded in 2013.

The table below shows all of North Carolina’s ozone monitors and the number of high ozone days for the week and the year to date.

Click here for the Environment Update archive.