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Ben White's Posts

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Rough Riding

Giddy Republicans -- confident they will wipe the floor with Al Gore and return to the White House this fall after eight years in the wilderness -- gathered here this week for a conflict-free crowning of George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney. While Bush was promising to be a "unique leader for a unique moment" and Cheney was somewhat abashedly delivering the only red-meat attacks of the week, Muckraker was busy prowling the floor on the lookout for two types of folks: delegates upset that Arizona Sen. John McCain was not the party nominee and delegates who cared what …

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Yanking His Cheney

Environmentalists are wasting no time in aiming their fire at former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, who this morning became George W. Bush's running mate on the GOP presidential ticket. Enviros are criticizing Cheney's voting record in the House -- he got only a 13 percent career approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters -- and knocking his environmental record as current chair and CEO of the Halliburton oil company. Cheney says cheese. While a representative from Wyoming from 1978 to 1989, Cheney cosponsored a measure to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling …

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Monumental Momentum

The Grand Canyon just got grander. Photo: Council on Environmental Quality. President Clinton has been on a national monument tear of late, setting aside eight areas encompassing more than 1 million acres since January. National monument status gives the federal government increased authority to prevent development and limit logging and other commercial and recreational activity on lands considered particularly sensitive or of great historic value. Many Western Republicans remain less than pleased with these federal "land grabs," through which Clinton has protected a total of 3.9 million acres over the course of his presidency. But those same Republicans went down …

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Wait a Minute There, Buster

Aides to Sen. Slade Gorton (R-Wash.) got a bit of a shock last Saturday when they logged onto the website of Maria Cantwell, one of Gorton's Democratic challengers, and saw a goofy photo of their boss posing with "Buster the Salmon," a costumed protestor who dogs Gorton at campaign events over his refusal to support dam breaching on the lower Snake River. Buster and Slade. (Yes, we too stole this photo!) Turns out that Cantwell's campaign webmaster, John Beezer, had been trolling for unflattering pictures of Gorton last Friday afternoon and found the "Buster the Salmon" picture on Gorton's website. …

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Chamber of Horrors

You'd think the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wouldn't have much free time on its hands these days, what with the raging debate over permanent normal trade relations for China. But the industry-friendly group recently managed to cobble together a charming volume called The Environmentalists' Little Green Book, a compendium of off-the-wall quotes and blistering bon mots from various environmental luminaries and lesser-knowns. The slim 47-page booklet begins with this from Sierra Club founder John Muir: "Man is always and everywhere a blight on the landscape." Next is a quote from former Earth First! Journal editor John Davis: "Human beings, as …

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Look on Seabright Side

Jeff Seabright, executive director of the White House Task Force on Climate Change, is bailing out in the waning days of the Clinton administration for a plum job in the private sector, namely as vice president for policy planning at Texaco. Muckraker had been hearing rumblings of the imminent departure for a week, but couldn't get calls returned by Seabright or task force spokesperson Paul Bledsoe. Lo and behold, the call confirming the move came through on Wednesday, which just happened to be the same day Texaco officially announced Seabright's hiring. In their press release, the company said Seabright "will …

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Green Giant? Ho, Ho, Ho

In honor of Earth Day, we take a one-week respite from our dizzying political tour of the United States in order to take a dizzying political tour of Vice President Al Gore. What could be more fun? Perhaps you will require sedation before reading further. Gore-the-environmentalist blasted back on the scene just in time for Earth Day with a few words on cleaner cars and a brand-spanking-new book called Earth in the Balance. Oh, wait. That's an old book. Anyway, it's out again with some new digs at an unmentioned, though clearly targeted, Texas Gov. George W. Bush. Enviros across …

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Fire on the Mountain

Enviros in Washington are apoplectic over what they fear will be a pre-Earth Day cave-in by the Clinton administration over mountaintop-removal mining in West Virginia. This used to be a mountain. Photo: David Miller, http://www.mountaintopmining.org. Readers may recall this battle from last year's appropriations season, when powerful Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) introduced a rider that would have bypassed a federal judge's ruling against the destructive mining method. The judge found that blasting the tops off mountains to get at coal deposits and then dumping the debris in nearby streams violates the Clean Water Act, not to mention the Surface Mining …

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How Will the West Be Won?

In our last column, we promised to put the presidential campaign on the back burner and take a look at some of the key House and Senate races likely to decide control of the 107th Congress, as well some of the competitive gubernatorial contests. Instead of attempting to cover the entire country in one column (a feat exhausting for both reader and columnist), we will begin this week with the Pacific region and move on in subsequent columns through other areas of the country. Alaska: Our tour begins in the natural splendor of Alaska, a heavily Republican state home to …

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Primary Colors

The presidential primary contests came thundering to a halt this week and, on the Republican side, the environment appears to have played a major role in helping George W. Bush beat back John McCain. The height of the GOP battle was marked by bitter acrimony over a television ad paid for by Bush supporters that criticized McCain's environmental record and praised Bush's. First reports of the ad, which ran on the pricey airwaves of New York and California as well as in Ohio, began trickling in last Wednesday, as alert environmentalists in those states notified political operatives in Washington, who …

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