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Ben White's Posts

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Senator Browner?

It's been a busy few weeks for EPA Administrator Carol Browner. During Senate testimony last week she launched an emotional attack on the recent appeals court ruling that invalidated EPA's 1997 clean air standards. One Muckraker source present at the hearing said Browner had Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) tied in knots as he repeatedly attempted to steer her away from the court decision and onto sulfur standards, the actual topic at hand. Browner is back on the Hill again this week to talk about a GOP Superfund reform bill. Perhaps Browner hasn't had a great deal of time to ponder …

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The Phantom Menace?

Last week brought an end to the remarkable run of Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who announced his intention to leave Washington and turn the reins of the federal treasury over to his well-groomed deputy, Lawrence Summers, known affectionately to some enviro insiders as Darth Vader. Although Wall Street may be comfortable with Summers, environmentalists are not. Lawrence Summers, Dark Lord of the Sith In 1991, while at the World Bank, Summers signed an internal Bank memo that argued, "The economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable." He later issued a public apology, …

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Riders on the Storm

No one in her or his right mind thinks the 106th Congress is going to pass a whole lot of actual free-standing legislation. It will likely take every ounce of strength this feeble Congress can muster to pass the essential spending bills that fund the government. So riders, those pesky little items that hope to escape scrutiny by hitching a ride on big money bills, are the name of the game, as noted in last week's Muckraker. The current vehicle for riders is the behemoth supplemental spending bill primarily intended to fund the war effort in Kosovo. As of this …

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Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner

California State Senator and environmental booster Byron Sher (D) sent out invitations to a fundraiser recently and listed State Sen. Ray Haynes (R) among his supporters. Trouble is that Haynes is what you might call a movement conservative, given to labeling people like Sher "clean-air Nazis" and "environmental wackos." Sher's office explained the incident to the Riverside Press-Enterprise as a "typographical error." A typo? That sounds a bit like Handgun Control typing up an invite to a fundraiser and accidentally getting an itchy finger and OOPS! whaddya know? Charleton Heston is listed as a sponsor! How could THAT have happened? …

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Sprawl Brawl

The Sierra Club released poll numbers recently indicating that 47 percent of voters would be more likely to support a presidential candidate prepared to aggressively attack the problem of urban sprawl. Most people associate VP Al Gore with that issue, but Seattle Mayor Paul Schell has his own ideas. Schell jumped on Bill Bradley's presidential bandwagon last week and told this reporter a large part of the reason was the former New Jersey senator and hoop legend's stated commitment to balancing anti-sprawl efforts with the economic needs of growing urban areas. Schell also pointed to Bradley's support for a stronger …

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Ozone Odd Couple

From the strange bedfellows file: Left-leaning Ozone Action and pro-business Competitive Enterprise Institute agree on something. Sort of. The two groups occupy polar opposite ends of a hybrid coalition lined up to oppose a bill before the U.S. Senate that would give credits to companies that voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions in advance of Kyoto Protocol implementation. These guys don't make a habit of staking out similar positions. However, from time to time in Washington, legislation that ambles down the pike is so noxious to groups on either side of an issue (often an indication that it might actually make …