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Baa Baa Baa Bad to the Bone

Levels of radioactivity from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster are likely to remain high in parts of Northern Europe for 100 times longer than originally estimated, according to a report published in the journal Nature. Researchers from Britain and the Netherlands found that the environment is not cleansing itself as fast as expected, particularly in the case of one element, radioactive caesium. Restrictions on some foods in both the former Soviet Union and the U.K., including sheep, forest berries, mushrooms, and fish, may have to remain in place for up to 50 more years.

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Before They Hit the Road, They're Hitting the Roads

The Clinton-Gore administration today will release a draft proposal that would ban road-building on 43 million acres of roadless national forest land while letting local forest officials decide whether to prohibit activities such as logging, mining, and off-road vehicle use. Enviros who had praised President Clinton when he broadly outlined the roadless plan in October are disappointed that today's more specific proposal doesn't explicitly prohibit logging or other destructive land uses. They also criticize the draft for deferring until 2004 a decision on whether to protect roadless areas within the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. The U.S. Forest Service will …

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Hail the Cabs!

Nearly 300 taxi, bus, and truck drivers clogged traffic by driving slowly through downtown Hong Kong yesterday to demand government action to combat air pollution, then marched to government headquarters carrying signs that read, "The industry wants to protect the environment." The protesters are calling for the government to help them convert their vehicles from highly polluting diesel fuel to cleaner-burning liquefied petroleum gas. Hong Kong's air pollution, among the worst in the world, has reached record levels in recent months. The government has said it will spend $3.8 billion over 10 years to help combat the problem.

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Delay of the Land

More than 100 enviro groups yesterday petitioned the Clinton-Gore administration to temporarily prevent development on 160 million acres of roadless federal areas in the West managed by the Bureau of Land Management. They are asking the BLM to reinventory the land to determine how much should be protected as wilderness, contending that past BLM inventories and management plans were seriously flawed. "It is urgent that they act now because we're losing areas every day to off-road vehicle abuse, oil drilling, mining, and other destructive uses," said Scott Groene of the National BLM Wilderness Campaign.

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Rudolph, the Brown-Nosed Rainmaker?

Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday called on her opponent in the New York Senate race, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R), to return a $100,000 soft-money donation from a company she called the "number-one polluter in America." The money was donated by the Renco Group, which owns a Utah company that federal officials have identified as the top toxic chemical dumper in the nation. Clinton campaigned on the theme of the environment throughout the day, meeting with green activists and pledging to fight for more money to clean up the Long Island Sound and investigate a rash of lobster deaths. …

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Nonpointing in the Right Direction

In a significant ruling that means average citizens could more bear more responsibility for reducing water pollution, a federal judge has upheld the right of the U.S. EPA to set limits for river pollution caused by runoff from logging, agriculture, and urban areas. Farm and timber groups argued in a lawsuit that the EPA could only regulate industrial waste and sewage, pollution that comes from so-called point sources, like pipes. But the court ruled that the EPA has the authority to set limits for water pollution from nonpoint sources, such as runoff from pesticides and sediment from logging. The EPA …

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