Amanda Little

Amanda Little, Grist's former Muckraker columnist, is author of Power Trip: The Story of America's Love Affair with Energy. She teaches investigative journalism at Vanderbilt University and her articles on energy and the environment have appeared in publications including Vanity Fair and The New York Times Magazine. You can follow her on Twitter: @littletrip.

A look behind the Senate’s thumbs-up on Leavitt

It’s no surprise that Mike Leavitt will finally take the helm at the U.S. EPA. But who knew, after all the Democratic resistance to his nomination, that keen political maneuvering on the part of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Jim Connaughton, head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, would usher the Utah governor into the EPA administrator slot by a landslide? Late last week, Frist dealt Democratic resisters the all-powerful “cloture” blow — a senatorial trump card that can overturn a hold with a minimum of 60 votes. The move paved the way for yesterday’s overwhelming …

Enviros raise dollars, and dazzle, for the 2004 presidential elections

Last Wednesday, more than 500 well-heeled Beltway Democrats mingled over drinks and crab dip within the stately mahogany-paneled walls of the Old Ebbitt Grill, just yards from the White House, to celebrate the launch of Environment2004 — a media campaign aiming to shred President Bush’s environmental credibility (such as it is) just in time for next year’s presidential elections. Heavy hitters from the Clinton administration, including former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and former U.S. EPA Administrator Carol Browner, took the stage to sympathize with their frustrated fellow environmentalists and, more important, call on them to open their pocketbooks. “It was …

Enviros berate Bush apologist for inaccurate L.A. Times op-ed

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times published an editorial by the widely known environmental gadfly Gregg Easterbrook — a senior editor at the New Republic and a fellow at the Brookings Institution — who set out to roast (or rather deep-fry) critics of the Bush administration’s environmental record. He dismissed charges made by everyone from the Natural Resources Defense Council to Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt.) as “baloney — baloney being rolled and deep-fried with cheese for purposes of partisan political bashing and fund-raising.” Bush communing with nature. Photo: White House. While Easterbrook scores a few points for entertaining analogies, he …

A Grist interview with Democratic presidential contender Joe Lieberman

Joe cool. Photo: Lieberman for President Search through the recent archive of Democratic presidential candidate and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman’s press releases, and here’s a sampling of what you’ll see: “Lieberman Calls for [EPA Administrator Christie] Whitman to Resign in Protest.” “Lieberman, McCain Offer Plan Harnessing Market Forces to Counter Global Warming.” “Lieberman, Clinton Demand Answers From White House on Suppression of Public Health Information on Ground Zero Air Quality.” Regularly since President Bush took office, Lieberman has been teaming up with senators on both sides of the aisle to issue direct challenges to the administration on its environmental rollbacks, …

A Grist interview with Democratic presidential contender Dennis Kucinich

Kucinich: rhymes with spinach. Photo: Kucinich for President. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has gone to great lengths to bill himself as the only true progressive among the Democratic presidential candidates — vehemently opposed to war, NAFTA, and the World Trade Organization, and vehemently in support of universal health care, social security, and welfare. “I am running for president of the United States to enable the goddess of peace to encircle within her arms all the children of this country and all the children of the world,” Kucinich said when he officially announced his candidacy on Oct. 13. So does he …

Will a softer McCain-Lieberman bill prove to be harder-hitting?

Even though Sens. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) decided to soften the terms of their climate bill last week, the document may go down in history as one of the hardest-hitting gambits in the U.S. fight against global warming. In fact, easing the demands of the bill — which proposes a mandatory cap on greenhouse-gas emissions from the energy, industrial, commercial, and transportation sectors — may mean it will pack more of a punch in the long run. Why? Because all of the senators who vote against it (likely to be a majority, unfortunately) will seem that much …

Working to develop the Volkswagen of solar homes

Just off I-75 in Tennessee, halfway between Knoxville and Chattanooga, past a Home Depot, a Ford dealership, a Krispy Kreme, and a Piggly Wiggly supermarket, there is a newly developed tract of low-income homes built by volunteers of Habitat for Humanity. A bright idea: the Indrajaya-Kinandjar solar house. At first glance, nothing about the development seems out of the ordinary. The houses are pleasant one-story colonials with porches, shutters, and carefully trimmed lawns strewn with tricycles and kick balls. But upon closer inspection, the development turns out to be more than just another housing project in sprawling Middle America; it …

The Bush administration lets a profitable energy-efficiency program lapse

As of yesterday, Oct. 1, the most successful program in U.S. history for improving energy efficiency in federal buildings is toast. The demise of the Energy Savings Performance Contracting program is no insignificant matter, seeing as how the federal government is the single biggest energy-user in the nation. Taxpayers spend $4 billion per year to power 500,000 federal buildings nationwide, from science labs to military bases. Sayonara to more CFLs? The ESPC program grew out of the Energy Conservation Policy Act, which was enacted in 1992 by President Bush the First, whose intent was to allay problems that seem to …

Wesley Clark has some good things to say about the environment — and some things to learn

The man of the hour. Photo: Clark for President. Days after entering the presidential race, Wesley Clark is dominating the public opinion polls — surpassing not only fellow Democratic candidates but also President Bush in approval ratings. Forty-nine percent of registered voters in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday said they’d vote for Clark, compared with 46 percent for Bush. Indeed, there seems to be little doubt that if anyone can unscramble the dangerous muddle that is the Bush administration’s foreign policy, Clark is the guy: former commander of NATO, West Point valedictorian, Rhodes scholar, decorated Vietnam vet, military mastermind …

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