Grist staff

The Price Pump Is Right

A growing number of California businesses are taking steps to become more eco-friendly, and are saving money in the process, according to a new survey conducted by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. One example is the Price Pump Co. in Sonoma, which has switched to more environmentally conscious packaging, using brown boxes instead of bleached-white ones and eliminating use of nonbiodegradable foam packing material — moves that are cutting costs by about $40,000 a month. “My motivation is to stay in business and make money,” said Bob Piazza, president of Price Pump. “If I can do that and be …

And other words from readers

  Re: Greening the Elephant Dear Editor: The story about Martha Marks’s efforts to build Republicans for Environmental Protection is a good reminder of why some of us oldies wax nostalgic for the Good Old Days. She is right that the real Republicans used to be wonderful conservationists, with a string of landmark laws to their credit. But your article makes it seem as if somehow it is the conservationists who are to blame for the shift. Your summary of the article read: “As long as the environmental community reflexively backs one party and aggressively demonizes the other, responsible environmental …

The Endangered Endangered Species Act

The federal Endangered Species Act is so cash-strapped that it is effectively “broken,” the Interior Department announced yesterday. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service blamed the financial trouble on the act’s “critical habitat” provision, which requires federal agencies to consult with the USFWS before embarking on any activity in areas set aside for wildlife recovery. The agency claims critical habitat designations are redundant, unnecessary, and lead to expensive lawsuits (often by environmentalists) that siphon money away from more important aspects of species protection. According to USFWS Assistant Secretary Craig Manson, critical habitat funds will run dry in July, but the …

Raising the Zanzibar

The island of Zanzibar, located just off the coast of Tanzania, is set to get its first national park. The island, which is independently governed, plans to convert the 12,355-acre Jozani Forest Reserve into a national park to promote better conservation, management, and natural-resource use, according to Mussa Ame Silima, Zanzibar’s minister of agriculture, natural resources, and the environment. The region is home to mangrove forests and the red colobus monkey, which has all but succumbed to extinction due to increased farming and logging. Some human rights and environmental organizations question how the government will ensure that local villagers benefit …

Turtle Wane

Having depleted their own nation’s once-plentiful turtle populations, Chinese buyers are now offering top dollar for turtles from the southern U.S. In the last three years, there’s been a dramatic upswing in the number of turtles exported to China, where the animals’ meat is considered a delicacy and their shells are ground up to make virility powders. In 2002, 23,000 turtles were extracted from the waterways of North Carolina, up from just a few thousand in 1999. So troubling is this trend that North Carolina is poised to impose a moratorium on turtle fishing. South Carolina is also considering a …

And other words from readers

  Re: Administrophic Dear Editor: Thanks for the link [to a log of the Bush administration's environment-related activities], and I really mean that, even though I am a registered Republican. The only thing I did not like about this column was that a hated Democrat was using your forum to dig up dirt on Republicans. Instead, I would challenge her to find the positive in her party before attacking another party. And for the record, I despise that same tactic when employed by Republicans. I am much more interested in what a political group has done for me than what …

The Evidence Is Thin

A new report by the federal government has found that very few forest-thinning projects have been stalled by appeals from environmentalists, giving the lie to allegations to the contrary by the Bush administration. The General Accounting Office reported yesterday that the U.S. Forest Service was able to proceed with 95 percent of thinning projects within 90 days or fewer, undermining claims by the White House that environmentalists contribute to forest fires by delaying critical wildfire-protection projects. According to the GAO, 75 percent of projects proposed in the last two years faced no administrative appeals at all, and only 3 percent …

The Farmer and the Smell

The U.S. EPA could offer large industrial livestock farms amnesty from the federal Clean Air Act and Superfund laws, according to people involved in agency-industry talks. Rather than enforce the laws, the EPA would monitor pollution levels at roughly 30 large hog and chicken operations, a plan environmentalists and former enforcement officials say is far too lenient — so lenient than local environmental regulators pulled out of the talks in protest. Huge livestock farms can spew foul odors and fecal dust into the air, as well as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and methane from open-air cesspools. After the EPA began bringing …

Jerilyn Lopez Mendoza, Environmental Defense

Jerilyn Lopez Mendoza is policy director for the Los Angeles Environmental Justice Project Office of Environmental Defense. Her work focuses on greening the built environment, increasing green space in L.A.’s urban core, and ensuring transportation equity for the working poor. Monday, 5 May 2003 LOS ANGELES, Calif. Monday mornings are rough, especially when you’re trying to be healthy and kick caffeine. Truly awake or not, my first task is to check my calendar. On the Los Angeles environmental front, that means lots of meetings to coordinate campaigns and share information with local partners or my Environmental Defense colleagues. Yes, you …