Ben White

Ben White is a contributing reporter at the Washington Post and assistant to columnist David Broder. Previously, he was a writer for the Hotline and editor of the Hotline Weekly.

Toast of the Town

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) flew right over the cuckoo’s nest and straight into nutville with his widely mocked decision to add “eco-terrorists” to the list of possible suspects responsible for the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Don Young getting restless. For the unlucky few who missed the Alaska congressman’s appalling bloviation, here’s what he told the Anchorage Daily News: “If you watched what happened [at past protests] in Genoa, in Italy, and even in Seattle, there’s some expertise in that field. … I’m not sure they’re that dedicated but eco-terrorists — which are really based …

Boston Tree Party

Last Friday, the Boston Globe printed an angry letter to the editor from Todd Paglia of the environmental group Forest Ethics. The charge? That the Globe advertising department, without reasonable explanation, had refused to run a Forest Ethics ad critical of Massachusetts-based Staples, a major Globe advertiser, and that an ombudsman column backing the department’s decision was based on embarrassingly one-sided reporting. Download a readable version of the ad. The ad contains the bold statement that 97 percent of Staples copy paper comes from clearcut forests. In his column, ombudsman Jack Thomas quoted Globe advertising division sales manager Dennis Lloyd …

That '70s Show

President Bush draws the curtain on the administration’s energy policy tomorrow, but there’s not much anxious anticipation. This remarkably non-leaky White House has done a pretty good job drib-drabbing out the whole policy, so much so that you’ll be forgiven if you feel you’ve read the same story about what’s in the plan 10 different times. Muckraker, however, has caught wind of a key memo that wasn’t supposed to be leaked, one that lays out how the administration intends to pitch the plan to the American public without getting burned. All signs point to the memo’s author being none other …

Fear and Loathing in D.C.

Christie Todd Whitman. When it comes to listing body blows inflicted on the environmental movement by the Bush administration in recent days, it’s hard to know where to start. Pick up the paper any day of the week and you’ll likely find a fresh slap in the face of U.S. EPA “Administrator” Christie Todd Whitman. A backtrack on arsenic standards here, a promise to drill in Alaska there. An Energy secretary quoting the industry-funded Greening Earth Society. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and then others in the White House sticking a fork in Kyoto because it’s “dead.” And who’s that …

Whitman Sampler

Muckraker hears from a reliable and informed source that Linda Fisher, EPA assistant administrator for toxics and pesticides under Bush the Elder, will return to the agency to serve as Christine Todd Whitman’s number two. The source described the Fisher appointment as close to a done deal, a fact that did not sit altogether well with enviros working on the genetically engineered foods issue. After leaving government, Fisher served a stint as vice president for government and public affairs at Monsanto, a company that Greenpeace’s Rick Hind said has “probably led the world in making disastrous decisions on genetically modified …

Forest Fire

We hear that when U.S. Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck issued (or at least appeared to issue) a new policy last week barring the cutting of old-growth timber on national forest lands he did not exactly have the green light from President Clinton. We like Mike. In fact, according to our sources, the president-for-the-next-few-days and his senior staff hit the roof when news of Dombeck’s order accompanied with remarks by the chief rocketed to the top of New York Times earlier this month. The paper of record described the new policy as a direct slap at the incoming George W. …

Did the top U.S. negotiator at The Hague climate talks drop the ball?

Lots of grumbling lately from environmental insiders displeased with the way Frank Loy handled negotiating duties for the U.S. during the fruitless climate change talks at The Hague, Netherlands. The main complaint: Bad clock management. Pretty boy Loy. Photo: Courtesy of IISD. Without getting too mired in bad sports metaphors, the knock on Loy, the undersecretary of state for global affairs, is that he failed to get back to his European counterparts in time with the U.S’s final offer to close loopholes in an agreement calling on industrialized nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 5 percent below 1990 levels. …

A Nader-do-well

If the first presidential debate was a contest to see who could memorize more numbers and offer crisper rhetoric replete with well-rounded sentences and flawless syntax, then Al Gore won. If it was an audition for national nice guy, then George W. Bush strutted out of Boston riding high. But the truth is that neither man won. The real winner last week couldn’t even get inside the hall, though he had a ticket. We speak, of course, of Green Party nominee Ralph Nader, once left for dead in the wake of Gore’s post-convention surge, but now poking his head out …

Give Greenpeace a Chance

By now the trials and tribulations that have befallen Greenpeace USA in recent years are well-known. In the biggest blowup, the entire board resigned after bickering with Greenpeace International-backed Executive Director Kristen Engberg over the direction and organization of the redoubtable environmental group. Current and former staffers ranted about Engberg’s leadership style, which they described as based on intimidation. Engberg loyalists within the organization disputed that characterization. Passacantando-ing the torch. But now Engberg is history and there is a new sheriff coming to town: 38-year-old John Passacantando, who is hoping to bring his whole shoot-from-the-hip, guerrilla-organizing Ozone Action team with …

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