Grist staff

Readers sound off on John Kerry, mad cow, and more

  Oh, Now We’re Blushing Re: Just Stick to Tofu Dear Editor: I read the Daily Grist of Jan. 9 and laughed out loud, was outraged, and laughed again. I was moved to finally contribute. I’ve been getting your newsletter for a couple of years and recommend it all the time. I’m a professional tree hugger, and literally have my head in the trees, so I need you to tell me what the rest of the environment looks like. Thanks for always doing it with such wit and heavy sarcasm. You guys are great. Edith Makra Lisle, Ill.   Cancer, …

Transportation guru Hank Dittmar answers questions

What environmental organization are you affiliated with? What does it do? I work at Reconnecting America, a national organization focused on connecting transportation and communities to improve environmental and economic performance and create economic security for families and communities. We promote an interconnected national transport system, relying more on rail and bus for intercity travel; we’re trying to make it easier to develop lively, walkable, dense communities around the nation’s 2,000 transit bus stations, and we are working to help small cities and towns revitalize. I am also chair of the board of the Congress for the New Urbanism, a …

Readers sound off on Lynn Scarlett, Howard Dean, and more

  Scarlett All Bark, Bush Bites Re: Interior Design Dear Editor: After having the opportunity to hear Lynn Scarlett speak at an MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning luncheon this past fall, I am glad to see Grist shining some light on functionaries in the Bush administration who are driving and justifying environmental policy. While Ms. Scarlett comes off in the interview, and in person, as committed, sincere, and well-intentioned in her ideology toward the environment, the actions of the Bush administration rarely match the rhetoric coming from the Interior Department. The “Four Cs” — consultation, communication, and cooperation, …

Rhode Island lawsuit pinpoints lead poisoning as an environmental, not medical, problem

In the spring of 2000, in Manchester, N.H., a two-year-old Sudanese girl named Sunday Abek, just three weeks removed from an Egyptian refugee camp, was treated at an emergency room for a low-grade fever and vomiting. A throat culture turned up positive for strep, and she was sent home with an antibiotic prescription. Three weeks later, as her vomiting worsened, Abek was admitted to the hospital; there, she fell into a sudden coma. By the time her doctors properly diagnosed her, it was too late. Cause of death: acute lead poisoning. Lead astray. Photo: U.S. EPA. In one sense, the …

Readers sound off on biodiesel, waterless urinals, jocks, and more

  Re: Put the Pedal to the Mettle Dear Editor: I am currently considering a new car, and was interested to read Jim Motavalli’s recent article in Grist. I was disappointed, however, that in his vehicle summaries, he failed to mention biodiesel as an option for environmentally conscious consumers. Why? Is there something about biodiesel I have not heard? Craig Christian Seattle, Wash.   Re: Put the Pedal to the Mettle Dear Editor: I was appalled to realize that the reporter didn’t think to include the fossil fuel-free contender that runs on biodiesel fuel. Not only are diesel vehicles that …

Readers sound off on solar houses, ethanol, LNG facilities, and more

  Re: Little Solar Houses for You and Me Dear Editor: As a Winchester, Tenn., resident and strong supporter of renewable energy and sustainable living, I just want to say thanks to Amanda and to Grist for the great article on the renewable-energy scene in Tennessee and the Southeast. It’s perfect that I stumbled onto your story (via a link from the DOE site). I recently bought an old house and want to retrofit it with as much eco-technology as feasible (and affordable). I’ve been eagerly researching green power options in recent weeks. I knew about the Green Power Switch …

The Weak in Review

Bush’s Mercury Plan Was Rejected by Clinton EPA as Too Weak The Bush administration’s new plan for regulating mercury emissions from power plants is virtually the same as one that the Clinton administration considered and dismissed because it appeared to violate the federal Clean Air Act, former U.S. EPA officials said yesterday. The Bush proposal caused an uproar among environmentalists and public-health advocates when it was leaked to the press last week. Yesterday, the administration formally introduced the plan, which would regulate mercury from power plants for the first time and mandate a nearly 70 percent drop in mercury emissions …

The Icky 500

New EPA Chief Calls for Cleaner Air in 500 Days Newly minted U.S. EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt gave his first major speech yesterday, promising to embark on the “most productive period of air-quality improvement in American history.” The former Utah governor spoke of a 500-day plan for cleaner air but offered no details on it. (Instead, a leaked document detailed plans to relax regulation of mercury pollution from power plants; for more on that, see today’s Muckraker, above.) Leavitt said the plan would be built around President Bush’s controversial Clear Skies initiative and would include strict controls on diesel engines …

The Kindest Cut

Companies Show that Cutting Emissions Can Improve Performance President Bush and many Republicans in Congress complain that restricting emissions of carbon dioxide would hobble the U.S. economy, but a growing number of companies are showing that cutting emissions can help the bottom line and they are pursuing reductions far greater than the voluntary ones proposed by Bush. Large aluminum producer Alcoa, for example, has cut its CO2 emission by more than 23.5 percent from 1990 levels, while at the same time increasing production. “We’ve had triple wins so far,” said Alcoa’s Randy Overbey. “It’s helped our labor productivity, the environment, …

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