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Going Against the Grain

A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of farmers contends that the maker of the StarLink biotech corn variety was negligent in bringing the corn to market. StarLink was not approved for human consumption, but has been found to have made its way into the food stream, leading to a nationwide recall of millions of taco shells and a fall in the price of American corn in the U.S. and abroad. The suit says that StarLink's maker, Aventis, failed to inform farmers that the corn had been approved by the U.S. EPA for use only in animal feed. Aventis had no …

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Stating the Case

States with strong records on protecting the environment also offer good job opportunities and climates for economic development, according to a new study by the Institute for Southern Studies. States getting high marks for both economic and environmental health include Vermont, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Colorado, Maryland, Maine, and Wisconsin. Many states in the South were ranked low by both measures, including Louisiana, which is 48th in economic performance and 50th on the environment, and Alabama, Texas, and Tennessee. The study suggests that environmental regulation, rather than stifling economic growth, may actually promote it. Chris Kromm, director of the institute and …

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The Salmon Equivalent of Richard Hatch

After several years of controversy, the feds yesterday listed wild Atlantic salmon in eight Maine rivers as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Only 27 adult salmon have returned up the eight rivers to spawn this year. Enviros praised the decision, but said it may have come too late, and they stressed that it would take a concerted effort by the feds, the state, and industry groups to save the fish. However, the state's two Republican senators and its governor, Angus King (I), protested the listing. King said that it was based on poor science and that it might cause …

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The Green-ch Who Stole Christmas?

Some enviros and others who voted for Ralph Nader are now regretting their choice, fearing that it gave George W. Bush an advantage over Al Gore. In the chat room on Nader's official website, John Ruth, who said he voted for Nader, wrote this to the Green Party candidate yesterday: "Mr. Gore (despite what you have said) is NOT an environmental clone of G. W. Bush. Because of your actions and statements prior to Nov. 7th, we are on the brink of a Bush presidency. No money, no support, no respect for you, Ralph, ever again!" Julie Quastler voted for …

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Fox Guarding the Penhouse

To the disappointment of environmental and human rights activists, a Mexican judge on Tuesday rejected evidence that two environmentalists had been tortured into confessing to drug and weapons charges. Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera, who have been sentenced to seven and 10 years in prison respectively, led peasant farmers in Mexico's southern state of Guerrero in protests against rampant logging in their region. Mexican Green Party lawmakers on Tuesday proposed giving amnesty to the two men. "There are plenty of elements to suggest [the case] was a reprisal for having touched powerful economic interests," the proposal read. Amnesty International and …

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King of the Roadless

Environmentalists are pushing hard to convince the Clinton administration to expand its proposed plan to prohibit road-building on millions of acres of national forest land. The first version of the plan, unveiled in May, would ban roads on 43 million acres of roadless lands, primarily in Western states; the next version, which will take into account more than 1 million comments from the public, is due out in mid-November and is expected to be finalized in mid-December. Enviros are calling for the new version to ban not just road-building but also logging, and to include the 8.5 million-acre Tongass National …

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Framing: the Debate

A judge in Mexico is expected to issue a ruling within days on the appeal of two environmental activists who have been convicted of illegally possessing drugs and guns even though the country's National Human Rights Commission has found that they were framed. The two activists, Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera, say they were arrested because they led locals in the southwestern state of Guerrero in protests aimed at stopping excessive logging of old-growth trees, which was causing widespread erosion and declines in water quality. In a jailhouse interview, Montiel, who was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize earlier this …

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