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Lisa Hymas' Posts

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The real meaning of “roadless”

While shilling for drilling during last week's Senate debate over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) claimed that oil development would have a negligible effect on the area: "When we talk about the roadless areas we have available for exploration, we mean it. We do mean that we are going to put down an ice road that will disappear when the summer comes." Bizarrely, as Felicity Barringer of The New York Times points out, roadless might not mean what you think it means.   "[T]he term 'roadless' does not mean an absence of roads," Interior Department officials wrote …

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Norton and the 1002 — I mean the Arctic Refuge

In her New York Times op-ed ballyhooing the Bushies' plans to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Gale Norton uses an interesting new tactic.   I'm not talking about arguing that the drilling footprint would be small. (Though she's quite crafty about making that claim, noting that "the world of Arctic energy exploration in the 21st century ... is as different from what oil exploration used to be as the compact supercomputers of today are different from the huge vacuum tube computers of the 1950s. Through the use of advanced technology, we have learned not only to get access …

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Clear Skies takes a fat whack

Bush's Clear Skies Act is on life support after a vote today in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee failed to draw enough support to push the measure to the Senate floor. The committee had been deadlocked 9-9 on the bill for weeks, and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), committee chair, was unsuccessful in his arm-twisting attempts to sway at least one more senator to his side. (Barack Obama [D-Ill.] had been thought a potential swing vote, but he held his ground. Phew.) As AP's John Heilprin writes, "The committee vote doesn't preclude Republican leaders from bringing the bill to the …

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Inhofe tries to intimidate clean-air officials

John Paul, a regional air pollution officer from Dayton, Ohio, dared to argue in congressional testimony last month that the Clear Skies Act was "simply not protective enough" and "far too lenient" on polluters. For that sin, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chair of the Senate Environment Committee, is going to make Paul and his cohorts pay.   Paul was testifying as a representative of the literally (and unfortunately) named Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials and its sister group, State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators. (I always love seeing reporters squirm around mentioning this attached-at-the-hip duo. Even their …

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It’s too late to stop climate change

"At the core of the global warming dilemma is a fact neither side of the debate likes to talk about: It is already too late to prevent global warming and the climate change it sets off," writes environmental author and advocate Mark Hertsgaard in the San Francisco Chronicle. Environmentalists won't say this for fear of sounding alarmist or defeatist. Politicians won't say it because then they'd have to do something about it. The world's top climate scientists have been sending this message, however, with increasing urgency for many years. ... Until now, most public discussion about global warming has focused …

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Well, at least she’s a feminist

Interior Secretary Gale Norton is reviled by many enviro activists for pushing energy development at the expense of environmental protection. But as Elizabeth R. Washburn argues in an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, she's to be commended for "helping women break through the glass ceiling in a federal bureaucracy known for its good old boy leanings." In her four years at the helm of the Interior Deparment, Norton has filled key management positions with women, including Lynn Scarlett, Rebecca Watson, Kathleen Clarke, Johnnie Burton, Fran Mainella, Sue Ellen Wooldridge, and Teresa Chambers (though things went a bit awry in Chambers' …

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If not dead, then illin’

Michael Milstein of the Portland Oregonian delves into the sickly state of the environmental movement, focusing in on the Beaver State. It's the Death of Environmentalism quandary distilled down to the state level -- and it's a bummer. "The environmental community seems to be at a new low for the amount of influence it has," said Noah Greenwald, a biologist based in Portland for the Center for Biological Diversity. Not only is the strategy and messaging a mess ... [Environmental leaders] sense that some citizens who believe in environmental protection have come to see the groups advocating it as increasingly …

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New low for global birth rate

Our friends who like to butt heads over population might be interested to know that the global birth rate has fallen to its lowest point. The average woman in a developing country now gives birth 3.9 times over the course of her lifetime, compared with 5.9 in the 1970s, according to the U.N. That's not down to the replacement level of 2.1, of course, but consider it in conjunction with the far-below-replacement levels in some (over)developed countries like Spain (1.15), Italy (1.19), a handful of other European nations, and Japan, and it marks progress.   Still, in total we're at …

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Renewable, my ass

So say nearly 50 enviro, business, anti-nuclear, sustainable-energy, and energy-policy groups in response to Bush's recent claim that nuclear power is "a renewable source of energy." Here, a letter these groups sent today to the Nuke Lobbyist in Chief: January 26, 2005 President George W. Bush The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Dear Mr. President: In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, you were quoted as saying that nuclear power "is a renewable source of energy." Please be advised that nuclear power is not a renewable source of energy. For that matter, oil, coal, …

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British science adviser harassed by industry lobbyists

Sir David King, the U.K.'s chief scientific adviser, says American fossil-fuel lobbyists are pestering and hectoring him as he goes around the world talking about the impending dangers of global warming. King ticked off some powerful folks last year when he said climate change poses more of a global threat than terrorism and blasted the U.S. for not taking the lead in addressing the problem. Reports The Independent: Since then, he has given many lectures to international audiences but found individuals among them who are there solely to create the impression that he is presenting biased information. "They'll be in …

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