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Ana Unruh Cohen's Posts

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We hold these truths to be self-evident …

With July 4th nearly here and all the Declarations of Energy Indpendence out there, it is time to ponder what American leaders of the past would have to say about energy and environmental issues confronting the nation today. Perhaps they would like energy judged not by the color of money, but by the content of its carbon? Or maybe they would challenge us to ask not what our country could do for our cars, but what cars we could drive for our country? Get your creative juices flowing and leave your adaptations in the comments. Here's what I think Lincoln …

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You keep me hangin’ on: Supremes to take up global warming

Today the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case filed by 12 states against the Environemental Protection Agency for failing to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act. This case has already sparked controversy and will be closely scrutinized when it is finally argued this October. What the Supremes will decide in a nutshell: Is CO2 "life" or a "pollutant"? Their recent Clean Water Act ruling is not giving me much cause for hope. As the Washington Post editorial said today: The bloc favoring a harder-line approach to environmental enforcement could be among the more dangerous features of the …

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The Supremes come clean II

In February, the Roberts Supreme Court heard two cases on the Clean Water Act. Today they ruled 5-4 to void the decisions against two Michigan landowners. The score? Developers 1, Environment 0. I don't know the full details of the opinions or their repercussions yet. It looks like it wasn't a complete victory for the developers, but still bad news for protecting wetlands. Here's a link from the Community Rights Counsel on what's at stake in one of the cases. Update [2006-6-19 13:5:40 by Ana Unruh Cohen]: This Forbes story has more.

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Global warming and the courts

We all know about climate skeptics getting funding from corporate entities with an interest in preventing the U.S. from taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But did you know they are influencing the courts as well? Check out Eric Schaeffer's piece from Sunday's Washington Post to learn the sad truth. And to learn more about the case in question and why the Supreme Court should take it up, read this piece (PDF) by two smart lawyers, Jennifer Bradley and Timothy J. Dowling, at the Community Rights Counsel.

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As the windmill turns: A native perspective

Who would have thought my sleepy little home town of Corpus Christi and nearby Padre Island would be in the news so much this year. First dead-eye Dick Cheney shoots his friend in the face at a ranch nearby, and the victim is whisked to our local hospital. Now the largest wind farm in the U.S. is slated for waters a little ways down the coast. (This picture showing the location of the wind farm even includes the town of Armstrong, near the Armstrong Ranch where the hunting of quail and shooting of friends took place!) So as you might …

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Insuring pork

Two articles in the Washington Post jumped out at me this morning. Neither is explicitly "green," but both have important environmental implications. The first, "Insurers Retreat from Coasts, Katrina Losses May Force More Costs on Taxpayers," was front-page, above the fold -- even in my waffle-deprived state I couldn't miss it. What the story missed was any mention of the idea that perhaps the role of governments -- local, state, and national -- was not as an insurance backstop for development exposed to high risk of natural catastrophes, but as preventer of such development in the first place. Insurance policy …

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Really shameless plugging

Turns out CSPAN2 will be carrying our Climate & Culture panel live on Thursday at 12:30 pm EDT. Tune in or watch it here. It's not Vanity Fair, but it's a start ...

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Lovin’ Lovins

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on Energy Independence today. Amory Lovins was one of the four witnesses, and his testimony (pdf alert) is worth a read -- even the footnotes.

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Poo power

Is poo power sustainable? Depends on scale.

Nicolette Hahn Niman's op-ed in today's New York Times about the use of manure for electricity reminds me once again that the difference between sustainability and not is often a matter of scale. Niman contrasts the use of manure on traditional farms, where it plays an important role in maintaining soil health, with the manure-disposal problem faced by large livestock operations. Increasingly, manure from these large operations is being used to produce electricity through various processes, something I like to call "poo-powered power plants" (P4). Niman rightly points out the downsides to using manure on this scale for electricity production. …

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Iowa blows

Mason City, Iowa allows windmills in residential areas, and other good wind news from the Midwest -- read about it here.

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