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Grain and Bear It

New policies emerging in China could bode well for that poster child of protection efforts, the panda. In an article published last week in the journal Science, scientists from the World Wildlife Fund and Beijing University praised China's National Forest Conservation Program and its "Grain-to-Green" policy as likely to preserve habitat crucial to panda survival. The conservation program, which is designed to protect against flooding, will increase forest cover in river basins over the course of 11 years, thereby protecting all of the remaining forests in the panda's range. The Grain-to-Green policy will restore hillside agriculture land to forest or …

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The Throng Song

Throngs of environmental activists are protesting a shipment of nuclear waste making its way by train from France to Germany, and at least 100 have been detained by the police. The six containers of radioactive waste originated at a reprocessing plant in La Hague, in northern France, and will be stored in Gorleben, Germany, 375 miles away. At least 5,000 protesters are staging actions along the length of the route, and between 15,000 and 20,000 German police have been deployed to protect the train. Greenpeace's Frederic Marillier said the shipment "represents a scandalous risk for the populations along the route."

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An Anti-Globalization Movement by Any Other Name

  Your letters on how environmentalism will regroup in the wake of Sept. 11 made it clear that the movement is still alive and kicking. And other letters -- on hybrid vehicles, eco-agriculture, globalization -- show that Grist readers, at least, are still thinking about the whole environmental picture.   Re: Visualize Whirled Peace Dear Editor: I want to quietly protest the use of the phrase anti-globalization amidst Grist's otherwise admirable production of environmental news. Along with many others in the grassroots globalization movement, we at Grassroots Globalization Network refuse to use Wall Street's term anti-globalization to describe ourselves and …

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The Persistence of Mercury

Anyone who's ever broken an old-style thermometer knows it's tough to clean up mercury, but the state of Washington is undeterred. The state's Ecology Department has created the nation's only program to battle persistent bioaccumulative toxins, or PBTs, and mercury will be the first target. Found in substances ranging from eye makeup to industrial waste to contaminated seafood, mercury can cause neurological problems and birth defects. Nearly 3,700 pounds of mercury from industrial sites are known to have contaminated air, land, and water in Washington last year, and untold additional pounds went unreported.

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Fuel for the City

Seeking to control sky-high summertime fuel prices, the U.S. EPA proposed new regulations for anti-smog gasoline yesterday. The EPA has been gradually phasing in a plan to combat summer smog in densely populated areas by mandating the use of cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline (RFG). The oil industry blames that plan for high prices at the pumps -- close to $3 per gallon in some metropolitan areas last summer. Among other measures, the proposal calls for less stringent ingredient specifications for clean gasoline, and would allow some non-RFG fuels to be reclassified as RFG to meet use requirements in the summer.

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Precedent of the United States

A federal judge dismissed an effort by the timber industry and users of off-road vehicles (ORVs) to overturn former President Clinton's order to designate 328,000 acres of federal land in California's Sierra Nevada as Giant Sequoia National Monument. The plaintiffs challenged the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives the president the authority to establish monuments. They argued that the act was unconstitutional, and said Clinton should not have been allowed to ban logging, mining, and ORVs in Giant Sequoia. U.S. District Judge Richard Urbina disagreed and upheld Clinton's order. Industry groups have filed suit in other courts to challenge national monuments …

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It's a Jungle Out There

  Re: Un-Happy Meal Dear Editor: Eric Schlosser deserves a medal for this book, which everyone, especially fast food addicts, should read. I read the book, but must admit that I skipped the chapters on the slaughterhouse industry. I feared that things at the stockyards hadn't changed very much since Upton Sinclair published The Jungle in 1906. Helen Real Dolores, Colo.   Re: Patricia Ross, city councilmember, Abbotsford, B.C. Dear Editor: Thanks for profiling our struggle here in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia and Whatcom County, Wash. Multinational corporations with big investments in fossil fuels are lobbying power brokers …

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Hard of Huron

Michigan natural resources officials voted on Friday to lift a four-year moratorium on oil and gas drilling beneath Lakes Huron and Michigan. Supporters said the lake-bottom deposits would boost energy supplies in the U.S. while bringing the state royalty money that could be used to purchase public land. Critics said the risks of the drilling were too great, even though it would be prohibited in "environmentally sensitive" areas. Michigan Attorney General Jennifer Granholm (D), a candidate for governor next fall, hasn't ruled out suing the state Department of Natural Resources to block the drilling. Other top state politicians, such as …

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