Gabrielle Gurley

Gabrielle Gurley is The American Prospect’s deputy editor. Her email is ggurley@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

New Michigan Environmental Chief Enters Through Reverse Revolving Door

Michigan’s Governor Snyder is perpetuating a dubious tradition with his selection of an oil industry executive for his state’s top environmental job.

(Photo: AP)
When she read that Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder appointed a former oil company lobbyist as Michigan’s top environmental official, one Flint activist thought that she’d just read an article from The Onion , the online news satire website. But the story was not a joke . Snyder shocked environmentalists and Flint residents in July when he named Heidi Grether, a former executive for both Amoco Corporation and BP America, to head the state Department of Environmental Quality, one of the government agencies at the center of the Flint drinking-water crisis. The move came at a tense time in Michigan, as state officials wrestle with the fallout from the Flint debacle and consider whether to decommission two pipelines that run through the Straits of Mackinac and carry oil from western to eastern Canada by way of the Great Lakes. The reverse revolving-door issues that arise when a corporate official becomes a government employee are as troubling as the ones that play out...

Black Lives Matter Plunges into the Affordable Housing Crisis

As the movement branches into economic justice, a protest in Cambridge, Massachusetts, led to a public conversation about the city’s housing policies. 

(Photo: Flickr/andrew_cosand)
Shortly before dawn on Wednesday, two young black women and two young white men chained themselves to the front doors of City Hall in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The well‐planned Black Lives Matter Cambridge protest transfixed the region as police officers surrounded them for the better part of the day. The protest had nothing to do with the Cambridge police or police brutality, the signature issue that birthed the movement, but everything to do with abuses of the economic kind—the inability of low‐ and middle-income Cantabrigians to find affordable housing. The drama ended with the protesters’ arrests in the late afternoon, but not before the mayor and other officials began a public dialogue about city housing policies. The Black Lives Matter movement originated in outrage over the killings of black men by police, turning into a nascent civil-rights movement. Its staying power now hinges on whether organizers can recruit new allies and tackle the broader...

The Coming Disaster Assistance Battles

Climate change is fueling more natural disasters, but Congress is too busy bickering to respond, and more federal aid may be needed.

AP Photo/Max Becherer
The southern Louisiana floods have unleashed squabbles over how much federal aid Louisiana will ultimately receive. Thirteen have died in the affected parishes, and thousands more have lost their homes and plan to seek millions in aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the indispensable but much-maligned agency charged with overseeing response and recovery in places like Baton Rouge and its environs. Dealing with federal disaster assistance requests in the wake of major floods, snowstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires should be straightforward. Sometimes an event may hit a local community hard, but not hard enough to warrant a federal disaster declaration and the dollars that come with it. Depending on the severity of a catastrophe, some communities might require additional federal aid. Unfortunately, state and federal response to natural disasters is increasingly complicated by political spats and deepening ideological fissures. As climate change fuels extreme...

DEA Wins the Battle but Is Losing the War on Marijuana

With a number of states moving toward legalization, stubbornness at the federal level may have little impact.

AP Photo/Scott Sonner, File
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s refusal to decontrol marijuana has raised the hackles of doctors, patient advocacy groups, cannabis entrepreneurs, and potheads almost everywhere. Under the agency’s recent directive , marijuana remains an illegal, controlled substance like heroin and LSD that has no medical value. But unlike most federal regulations, the DEA move will have little to no effect on state-level marijuana politics. Since Colorado and Washington state green-lighted recreational marijuana in 2012, the DEA has gotten swamped by a tidal wave of legalization campaigns across the country for recreational and medical marijuana. Most states have moved fast, first, to allow doctors and patients who suffer from diseases like cancer and conditions like chronic pain to be able to use marijuana without the omnipresent threat of arrest and prosecution. But states, especially ones that already have medical marijuana, have also picked up the pace toward complete...

Q&A: Fixing the Transportation Mess We’re In

A conversation with ENO Center for Transportation's Emil Frankel on the Clinton and Trump infrastructure proposals, the federal fuel tax, and other transportation funding quandaries.

AP Photo/Seth Perlman
Presidential candidates usually have very little to say about infrastructure. But 2016 has been an atypical election in most respects and so is the conversation about national infrastructure investment that has been kick-started by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Both the Democratic and Republican presidential contenders have pledged to begin much-needed work on the country’s decrepit infrastructure assets, especially in transportation, a sector that affects the daily lives of every American. They have proposed steering massive amounts of federal dollars into nation’s roads, bridges, and airports, and current interest rates are very low which helps make the case for debt financing to get major projects moving. Emil Frankel, a senior fellow at the ENO Center for Transportation, considered what the two candidates have had to say about infrastructure investment and more broadly on issues like raising the federal fuel tax and how to persuade American voters that major, multi...

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