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Who’s In Charge Here?

by Greg Walcher August 17, 2018
U.S. Capitol Washington D.C.

Shutterstock / Kent Weakley

Restaurant owners may know that open-faced sandwiches are regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), part of the Department of Health and Human Services. But if a second piece of bread is added on top, it is regulated by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). That’s because the USDA has a very specific definition of a sandwich: two slices of bread with the meat in the middle. So, is a hot dog a sandwich? The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says no, but the State of California says yes. How about a burrito? Massachusetts ruled that a burrito is not a sandwich, but New York says it is. A cheese pizza is regulated by the FDA, but add pepperoni and it becomes a USDA matter. When you make an omelet, FDA regulates the eggs you crack, but if you pour liquid eggs from a carton, it’s USDA.


Sixty-six House members have signed onto a bill to bring immediate funding to the National Park Service’s (NPS) nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog through an all-of-the-above energy revenue stream in a rare show of bipartisanship. The Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act boasts broad support across the West as well as the rest of the country. The bill has 37 Democratic co-sponsors and 29 Republican co-sponsors, with 24 representatives of both parties hailing from Western states.

Western Wire

The City of Boulder has outsourced their public relations responsibilities to EarthRights International (ERI), the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit providing legal services to three Colorado communities in their joint climate lawsuits. A Western Wire email to Patrick von Keyserling, Communication Director for the City of Boulder, on Friday, July 20 opened with a series of questions inquiring if the “City of Boulder has any comment on the merits or chances of their case moving forward, now that the Colorado lawsuit has been moved from state to federal court?”


As campaigns targeting energy-related investments continue to emerge across the west, officials in the region are pushing back against such policies. Recently, Bank of the West announced it was divesting from “coal, tar sands, shale oil and artic [sic] drilling – and investing and financing the transition to more sustainable …

Western Wire

The time for funding the nearly $12 billion national park maintenance backlog is now said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in front of Long’s Peak at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center at Rocky Mountain National Park on Sunday. “Everyone loves our parks. I think it’s time now to prioritize,” Zinke said …

Ryan Seastrom/COGA

A former Interior Department Secretary called people working in the oil and gas industry “revolutionaries” and Colorado officials said energy issues transcended traditional party lines at a rally in Denver Thursday. The “Energy Proud” event was hosted by energy companies on the west steps of the state Capitol before a …

Western Wire

Former Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar said he disagreed with the legal arguments and theories presented by climate lawsuit plaintiffs around the country, including the lawsuit in Colorado. Salazar spoke to members of the oil and gas industry at the Colorado Petroleum Council event last week. U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and American Petroleum Institute President & CEO Jack Gerard joined Colorado’s former attorney general in addressing the recent trend in climate litigation and whether courts were useful venues for debating environmental policies or if the issue should be left to the legislative and executive branches.

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