Lisa Hymas

Lisa Hymas is senior editor at Grist. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Whither Canadian environmentalism?

Conservative PM Stephen Harper could shake enviros into action, Matt Price argues

While American environmentalists have been pondering their alleged demise and/or plotting their resurrection, Canadian activists are confronting a whole 'nother set of challenges. Matt Price of Conservation Voters of B.C. tackles many of them in a new paper, "Greening the Beaver: Power, Profit, and the Canadian Dream" [PDF]. He starts off by arguing that Canada's new conservative PM Stephen Harper could be just what the nation's green movement needs to shake it into action. He also says eco-activists need to get over their ambivalence about power, learn to make markets work for the betterment of the environment, and ensure that environmental values are a key component of Canadian values. Lots more good stuff too. Check out the full PDF, Canadians. (Hat tip to ONE/Northwest's Jon Stahl.)

Enviros call on RFK Jr. to support Cape Wind project

Over 150 activists send letter asking Kennedy to reconsider position

Cape Wind Associates' plan to build a big wind-power farm off the coast of Cape Cod has been dividing enviros for years, but the disagreement got a lot more heated last month when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. ran a high-profile op-ed railing against the project in The New York Times. An excerpt: These turbines are less than six miles from shore and would be seen from Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Hundreds of flashing lights to warn airplanes away from the turbines will steal the stars and nighttime views. The noise of the turbines will be audible onshore. A transformer substation rising 100 feet above the sound would house giant helicopter pads and 40,000 gallons of potentially hazardous oil. According to the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the project will damage the views from 16 historic sites and lighthouses on the cape and nearby islands. The Humane Society estimates the whirling turbines could every year kill thousands of migrating songbirds and sea ducks. That didn't sit so well with many enviros who see climate change as the big environmental issue and therefore think renewable-energy projects should be welcomed in all our backyards. More than 150 green leaders and activists this week sent a letter to Kennedy asking him to reconsider. Word is Kennedy said he'll meet with them to discuss. We'll keep you posted. Meantime, here's the letter:

Budget bill with mining-land giveaway passes House

But House version doesn’t call for drilling in Arctic Refuge or offshore areas

Early this morning, the House passed a highly contentious budget reconciliation bill; it remained stripped of provisions that would allow drilling in the Arctic Refuge and new oil exploration in offshore areas, but it still contained the much-fretted-over "mining reform" provision that would sell off millions of acres of public land at fire-sale prices, as described in detail by Amanda Griscom Little yesterday. The Senate passed its version of the bill earlier this month -- it does call for drilling the refuge and offshore areas, but doesn't call for a sell-off of mining lands. Now we'll have to wait and see how a compromise version shakes out during negotiations in House-Senate conference committee. Bets, anyone?