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Glenn Hurowitz's Posts

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In Texas, audience boos Obama mention of border wall

During his major immigration speech this week in El Paso, Texas, President Obama mentioned the 640 mile long U.S.-Mexico border wall that has scarredthe Southwestern landscape and prevented migration of endangered species like jaguars, ocelots, and Sonoran pronghorn antelope. The speech is fascinating for two reasons: 1) it's pretty clear (as if it weren't already) that border region Texans pretty much hate the wall 2) Obama lays out his preemptive capitulation negotiating strategy in public, and seems genuinely surprised that Tea Party Republicans won't enact his agenda even after he's gone ahead and done every crazy thing they said they …

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In Texas, Obama faces test on border-wall promise

President Obama speaks today about immigration in El Paso, Texas, along the U.S. border with Mexico. Although the subject is immigration, the backdrop will be purely environmental: the 640 mile long border wall with Mexico. The wall has done nothing to reduce illegal immigration, but it has had enormous negative effects on the extraordinary wildlife of the border region. It's cut off America's dwindled population of Sonoran pronghorn antelope (U.S. population 100) from the slightly larger Mexican population, imperiling this already precarious species. It's keeping jaguars and ocelots from their native habitats in the United States. It's ruining habitat in …

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Girl Scouts censor Facebook criticism of palm oil in cookies

Critter-killing cookies?Photo: Laura TaylorLooking for a lesson of how not to respond to green consumer demand in the internet age? Check out Girl Scouts USA. The Scouts' CEO Kathy Cloninger has for several years rebuffed polite requests from individual scouts, major environmental organizations, and others that they make their famous Girl Scout cookies rainforest friendly. The problem with the cookies is that they contain palm oil, which is responsible for the destruction of more than 30,000 square miles of primary rainforest in Indonesia and Malaysia and which is grown and transported by major agriculture corporations such as Cargill. This deforestation …

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Now that we’ve killed Osama bin Laden, let’s kill oil

The U.S. military's killing of Osama bin Laden is a huge victory in the war against terror and on behalf of a safer, freer world. But if this is to be the beginning of the end for al Qaeda and repressive governments everywhere, we have to make it our national mission not just to hunt down terrorist leaders, but also to wipe out the single greatest source of their money and power: oil. From the beginning, Osama bin Laden's rise was made possible by oil money. He acquired the millions of dollars that allowed him to start and finance al …

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Obama meets with young climate activists after they stand up to him

President Obama meets with Energy Action Coalition leaders in the White House. Photo: The White HouseYouth climate leaders in town for the Power Shift conference got some powerful evidence that their public frustration with President Obama is getting noticed in the Oval Office: Halfway through a meeting at the White House between leaders of the youth Energy Action Coalition and senior White House staff, the president walked into the room, sat down, and engaged in a substantive discussion and debate with the young leaders. "I hear you're angry with me," Obama reportedly said as he walked into the Roosevelt Room, …

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Obama as Snuffleupagus: Expect our imaginary friend to skip out on Power Shift again

Obama chooses basketball over climate activists.Photo: The White HouseOn the eve of the Power Shift 2011 climate youth conference, no one expects President Obama to show. If he did, he'd probably get booed by activists angry about his tightening embrace of the oil, coal, gas, and nuclear industries. But it was a very different story two years ago at the last Power Shift, when 10,000 young, idealistic activists filled the Washington Convention Center screaming his name on the opening night of the conference, anticipating his arrival after tantalizing hints from White House staff that he would accept an invitation to …

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Endangered wolves sacrificed for budget deal

Although Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama stood firm against Republican attempts to repeal clean air and clean water protections, wolves (such as the famous Limpy) in the Northern Rockies weren't so lucky. Under pressure from ranching interests in Montana and Idaho, as well as anti-wolf zealots in those states, Reid and Obama agreed to accept an amendment from Montana Democrat Jon Tester mandating the removal of grey wolves in Idaho and Montana from the endangered species list. For Obama, at least, the move isn't surprising: his administration backed the Bush administration's delisting of wolves even though it …

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Environmentalists stand up to Obama, win big

Under intense pressure from green groups and their members, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) announced Friday that Republican proposals to gut the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act were off the table in budget negotiations. "Neither the White House nor Senate Leaders is going to accept any EPA riders," Reid said. Reid's pledge follows 48 hours of intense pressure on the White House from major green groups, marking the first time many large environmental organizations have so openly and loudly targeted Obama and Reid -- and it produced extraordinarily rapid results. Indeed, as recently as Wednesday, the Associated …

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AP reports White House insisting on Clean Air, Clean Water rollbacks to pass budget [UPDATED]

[UPDATE: The White House denies the rumors, saying it opposes spending-bill riders that would undermine environmental protection.] The Associated Press is reporting that the White House is insisting to congressional Democrats that they endorse Republicans' proposed environmental rollbacks. A Democratic lawmaker familiar with a meeting Wednesday between Obama and members of the Congressional Black Caucus said the administration made it clear that some House GOP proposals restricting the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory powers would have to make it into the final bill. In order to characterize the White House's position, the lawmaker insisted on anonymity because the meeting was private. …

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Obama administration announces massive coal mining expansion

The future's looking sooty.Photo: Tami Heilemann, DOIInterior Secretary Ken Salazar announced yesterday an enormous expansion in coal mining that threatens to increase U.S. climate pollution by an amount equivalent to more than half of what the United States currently emits in a year. A statement from Wild Earth Guardians, Sierra Club, and Defenders of Wildlife put the announcement in perspective: When burned, the coal threatens to release more than 3.9 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, equal to the annual emissions from 300 coal-fired power plants, further cementing the United States as a leading contributor to climate disruption ... Salazar’s …