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Kate Sheppard's Posts

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Pombo shows up at Colorado mouse hearings

California Rep. Richard Pombo weighs in on mouse debate in Colorado? Further evidence that this isn't really about a mouse at all, but rather the business interests at stake in protecting crucial habitats. And Pombo's appearance is an election-year bid to reassure property-rights advocates that he will be steadfast in his support for a bill de-clawing the Endangered Species Act. Have I mentioned yet that the 3-inch Preble's meadow jumping mouse can jump 18 inches high? Boing!

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Canadian climate change challenger taking it to court

Rather than, you know, letting science decide this sort of stuff, Canada's most well-known climate-change skeptic is taking opponents to court. The case revolves around a letter to the editor that he claims was a "malicious attack" on his credibility. Tim Ball has made a name for himself as an outspoken challenger to the overwhelmingly accepted (especially in Canada) consensus that humans are causing global climate change. He authored an opinion piece on global warming for the Calgary Herald last April which drew at least one letter to the editor questioning his credentials. The op-ed described Ball as the first …

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State mulls fate of meadow mouse as development vultures lurk in the background

I'm not all that concerned about the protection of this particular mouse, nor do I want to enter into the ongoing debate about animal rights, but this piece of news from Colorado concerns me for its wider implications. A committee in the state House will meet next week to determine whether the Preble's meadow jumping mouse should continue to be protected by the Endangered Species Act. At hand is the question of whether the species is distinct enough to warrant special protections. The real topic, though, is the 31,000 acres of land in Colorado and Wyoming currently designated as critical …

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Not so lionhearted, eh BP?

More out on the climate of fear and intimidation that prevented BP employees from reporting environmental safety concerns in the North Slope oil fields of Alaska. As reported last week, a subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee has been interrogating BP executives on their failure to maintain pipelines, leading to several oil leaks in the past year. At least one worker was summoned for firing because his bosses suspected he had filed a formal complaint that his inspection crew had been cut by 25 percent despite maintaining the same workload. The worker kept his job after denying any …

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Congress grills BP execs on Alaska spills

BP executives were under fire in Washington, D.C., this week for failing to prevent two oil leaks that occurred earlier this year in the largest oil field in the country. The company willfully ignored pipeline corrosion and harassed employees who voiced concern, Congressional representatives say. The first leak occurred last March, spilling 5,000 barrels of oil onto the Prudhoe Bay's western tundra. The second, in early August, forced the closure of half the oil field after further testing found significant corrosion in pipelines. The nearly five hours of questioning on Thursday focused largely on BP's failure to monitor the pipelines …

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If a mock warhead is destroyed in space and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?

In case you were wondering about the latest potentially world-ending technology, Campus Progress has a great article this week on our Ballistic Missile Defense System, its "successes," and our government's apparent failure to think practically about the future. Last week, the Pentagon announced they had launched a rocket interceptor that successfully destroyed a mock warhead in space. This was their first successful test run in nearly four years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Just as concerning as its very-low success rate is the message our continued support of the BMDS program sends to the rest of the world. Campus Progress's …

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Shady oil funds traced to Washington senate candidate

The FBI raided the offices of six Alaskan legislators last week, looking for evidence of illegal dealings with the oil firm VECO. The investigation has prompted beneficiaries further south to quickly stash evidence of their own shady dealings, including Washington State Republican Senate candidate Mike McGavick. McGavick returned $14,000 in donations from VECO executives the day following the raid, his campaign announced Tuesday. Alaskan oil tycoons began supporting McGavick after Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell, McGavick's opponent in the November race, thwarted plans to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens, one of the six …

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