Knock the Vote
In addition to suffering a loss at the federal level, the environmental movement came up short in several statewide and local votes on Tuesday. A huge majority of Oregonians voted down an initiative that would have made Oregon the first state to require labeling of genetically modified foods. The Grocery Manufacturers of American, with support from the biotech and food industries, spent more than $5 million to combat the measure. In Utah, voters overwhelmingly rejected a measure that would have outlawed high-level radioactive waste from entering Utah and raised taxes on low-radioactivity waste already brought into the state. In Berkeley, Calif., 70 percent of voters vetoed a plan that would have forced stores and restaurants in the city to serve only fair-trade, organic, or shade-grown coffee. On a brighter note for environmentalists, voters in 79 towns in 22 states supported measures to fork over a total of $2.6 billion to protect land for parks and open space, according to the Trust for Public Land and the Land Trust Alliance.