Grist staff

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 …

And other words from readers

  Re: Fishy Business Dear Editor: I’m shocked that you would choose to criticize Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) for tacking a measure onto the recently passed $79 million war-spending bill that directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to come up with a plan for certifying and labeling wild seafood as organic. This measure will do a lot to help the Alaska seafood industry, which produces sustainable harvests of the finest truly organic seafood available in this world. To criticize this measure is to help the farmed-fish industry drive Alaska’s wild fish industry to bankruptcy. That would reduce the political support …

Gone With the Flow

The Khasi Hills of northeastern India are one of the wettest places on Earth, typically experiencing torrential rains throughout the monsoon season and laying claim to the world record of 1,000 inches of rainfall in just one year. Now, though, the Khasi Hills are drying up due to environmental changes wrought by pollution, deforestation, the development of industry, and a growing population. In recent winters, the rains have almost stopped and springs have run dry, forcing villagers to bring in water from neighboring areas. The Khasi Hills city of Cherrpunji, which is particularly hard hit, received less rainfall in all …

Cutting the Cord

Fuel cells and hybrids are hot; electric vehicles are not. That’s the word from the California Air Resources Board, which yesterday axed groundbreaking 1990 rules requiring auto manufacturers to sell a fixed number of electric vehicles (EVs) in the state, including 10 percent of cars sold this year. Instead, the board approved more modest regulations that will force car companies to put a set number of fuel-cell and hybrid vehicles on the roads over the next 10 years. Jerry Martin, spokesperson for the board, said the change reflects shifting technologies, not shifting priorities: “Fuel cells are really just another sort …

And other words from readers

  Re: Let It Be Me Dear Editor: I liked the interview with Emily Saliers. But please suggest to Kathryn that she refer to these “new” energy sources as renewable rather than alternative. I am in the business of designing, installing, and promoting the occasional solar-electric system. As long as we keep calling it “alternative,” guess what it will be? Our home has run on solar power for about 10 years. It is mainstream for me. Thanks, Todd Cory Mt. Shasta, Calif.   Re: Nuclear Falling-Out Dear Editor: While most people focus on the problems with waste disposal and meltdowns, …

Fishy Business

For the second time this year, congressional Republicans have used behind-the-scenes trickery to weaken organic-labeling standards. Powerful Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, tacked a measure onto the recently passed $79 million war-spending bill that directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to come up with a plan for certifying and labeling wild seafood as organic. Stevens hopes the move will boost sales and prices of salmon and other seafood. “Alaska salmon is as wholesome, if not more, than any other organic product on the market,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who backed the rider. Organic advocates …