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Erik Hoffner's Posts

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It’s a wiki: Say three times fast

Hear ye, hear ye. Anon, find a new web-source for info on biofuels, one that ye can add to and edit as ye wish. It's a wiki, and it's all about sustainability. See the sustainability standards section if ye don't believe. Yeah, it may indeed be possible to bring forth from the good earth both foods and fuels.

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Conservative conservationists

There's lots of talk about hunters and fishers being the original conservationists; the venerable publication Field and Stream seems to be walking that talk. They've got a conservation editor now, Bob Marshall, and he's got a lot to say that's good to hear. He writes for the magazine and also has a blog at the magazine's site, the Green Sportsman, where you can read his opinion pieces calling for action on climate change, celebrating the hope that big oil's losing its grip on national energy policy, and lauding labor unions and sporting groups for teaming up to aid wildlife. Say …

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It’s not the view: it’s the vision

The most likely candidate for becoming the U.S.'s first offshore wind farm reached another permitting milestone by filing its Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) on February 15 with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office. It's now available, and it's meaty. It makes two important points to the Marine Mineral Service, which now oversees the process. If the permit is denied, it will a) result in higher costs to Massachusetts citizens, since the state likely wouldn't meet its requirements for producing more power renewably; but more importantly, b.) it would have a chilling effect on the U.S.'s nascent offshore wind …

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New bill would mandate California-like carbon reductions

Whether you live in the Old Line State or not, this is of high interest: the "Global Warming Solutions Act," a bill that Orion Grassroots Network super group Chesapeake Climate Action Network thought could take years to pass, suddenly has a chance, thanks to recent changes in the political climate. The bill would make Md. just the second in the U.S. -- behind California -- to mandate huge, statutory reductions in greenhouse gases by 2020. CCAN Director Mike Tidwell calls it a "radical and utterly appropriate commitment. More importantly, it encourages other states to do the same, raising pressure for …

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Smackdown!

File this under "A sign of things to come." A coworker here at Orion magazine buys corn to feed his daughter's sheep, and he reports that his supplier is in a quandary about how to afford the stuff himself these days. Everyone and his brother sees the demand for corn to make ethanol coming, sending corn futures through the roof and driving up prices today. Farmers in Western Mass. have been buying enormous bins so they can stock up on it now -- so many that you can't even get such a bin if you wanted one. Next availability is …

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Hybrid cars dangerously quiet for pedestrians

Turns out that it isn't just U.S. automakers that have been put in mortal danger by hybrids (it is their fault, of course): the National Federation of the Blind said this week that those at risk include (gasp) cyclists, the blind, the elderly, and distracted pedestrians. Lay on those horns, people!

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White House has new tools to interfere with regulation

Our friends in the Bush administration recently amended a key executive order to tighten the executive's grip on federal agencies that enforce health, safety, and environmental protections. Who could be surprised? The NewStandard reports: The amended order enables the White House to oversee not only regulations, but also "guidance" documents that agencies issue to inform the public about how rules will be enforced - for example, an explanation of how a ruling in an environmental lawsuit will change the way polluters are regulated. The (White House) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs can now scrutinize all "significant" guidance materials - …

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Farm Bill to gut wildlife provisions?

The USDA released a set of 2007 farm bill recommendations last week, and it's kinda ugly. Every five years, the bill is reauthorized, and it's important that greens pay attention. Aside from the glaring question of why the U.S. subsidizes its food chain with $20 billion a year that largely determines which crops are grown, the news is that it proposes (PDF) to eliminate the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and the Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP) by rolling them into larger programs that will likely suck the funds up without effecting good policy. These programs are key farm bill conservation …

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A road runs through this issue

The Feb. 8 Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that a judge has again chastised the Bush administration for violating federal law when it overturned the Clinton-era Roadless Rule. And she has issued an order protecting 52 million acres of federal roadless forest lands nationwide from roads or surface disturbance related to energy development. Though it's likely that feds and states will continue to litigate this good idea to death (why?), I'm going to celebrate by tucking into this great new volume of essays on the topic from intrepid roadless defenders Wildlands CPR just received at my office: A Road …

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Renewable uranium vs reality

Please be advised that nuclear power is neither a renewable nor a clean source of energy. For that matter, oil, coal, and natural gas are also not renewable or clean sources of energy. Thusly does a letter from 100 groups and businesses admonish Mr. Bush for his cute "renewable" claim in the SOTU. That Bush is angling at subsidizing nuclear power under the banner of being green, though, is highly disturbing.

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