Grist staff

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 …

Mining Gets the Shaft

The pay dirt has run out for gold miners in California. Last week the state mining board okayed the nation’s toughest regulations on open-pit metallic mining, requiring companies to refill mining pits and flatten waste piles in order to restore the landscape to at least some semblance of its pre-mining state. The industry complains that the new rules will be so costly that mining companies simply won’t do business in the state, and some are threatening to sue. “This ends it,” said Adam Harper of the California Mining Association. “The cost of backfilling is such that it will simply make …

Scott Hoffman Black, Xerces Society

Scott Hoffman Black is executive director of the Xerces Society, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the diversity of life through the conservation of invertebrates. Monday, 7 Apr 2003 PORTLAND, Ore. Email and a large cup of coffee — pretty much how all my Mondays start. My daughter River is off to school, my foster baby Emmet is off to his grandparents’ house, and my wife Catriona is off to work. Time for email. There are the usual emails from listservs. Many get sent to the trash but some catch my interest. National forest issues, endangered species issues, general …

And other words from readers

  Re: Little Bundle of Consumption Dear Editor: Thanks go to Umbra for outlining her perspectives on the environmental consequences of childrearing. I agree wholeheartedly and have found myself in both a personal struggle and heated arguments about the topic with friends. I now have one child and plan, though guiltily, to keep it this way. I am under a huge amount of pressure from people around me to have more children, yet I feel I’ve contributed enough to extending my line of consumption with one! People have tried to argue to me that we need more children from people …

Giving the Devil His DU

As many people wonder about the long-term environmental effects of the war in Iraq, the U.N. has issued a report documenting the ongoing pollution problems posed by depleted uranium (DU) ammunition used by NATO forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the mid-1990s. The report, published by the U.N. Environment Programme, found DU contamination in groundwater and drinking water; in some locations, the air was also contaminated, suggesting that wind or human activity can disturb DU dust long after weapons are fired. DU is a heavy metal used primarily for penetrating tanks and other armored targets. It is suspected of causing cancer and …

And other words from readers

  Re: Oakless Creek Canyon Dear Editor: The Flagstaff, Ariz., project to protect expensive homes by removing possible (natural) fire hazards sounds to me like building on a floodplain. The folks who bought the homes can sell them if they don’t want the expense of insuring the risk. The nation should not sacrifice its natural resources to the whims of the wealthy. Richard Romoser Cleveland, Ohio   Re: The Hunger! The Hunger! Dear Editor: I got fired up over Grist’s statement that, “The ‘next green revolution’ can’t rely wholly on organic farming, which won’t produce enough to feed the world …

And other words from readers

  Re: Oakless Creek Canyon Dear Editor: You missed the point. The project the U.S. Forest Service is contemplating is in the final stages of two years’ worth of environmental analysis and planning. How could it “shape up to be a test case” for efforts to ease environmental review? I have an exhaustive, 300-page document on my desk that discloses in detail the environmental effects of thinning predominantly small trees out of a choked forest and conducting associated prescribed fires to reintroduce fire into this ecosystem. Absolutely no old-growth pine trees are going to be thinned in this project. As …

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