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Lisa Hymas' Posts

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NYT bashes new forest-management rules

The New York Times editorial page has a lucid take on the Bush admin's new forest-management rules. Daily Grist summarized the basic news here, but the NYT digs a little deeper into the likely ramifications of the policy overhaul -- and the Gray Lady doesn't like what she sees: The ostensible purpose of the change is to streamline a cumbersome management process and give individual forest managers more flexibility to respond to threats like wildfires and the increasing use of the forests by off-road vehicles. But the new rules would also eliminate vital environmental reviews, as mandated by the National …

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BINGOs talk back about World Watch article

The debate rages on. World Watch magazine's new issue contains a whopping 16 pages of letters [PDF] in response to Mac Chapin's controversial article "A Challenge to Conservationists" [PDF], which accused big international conservation NGOs of trampling indigenous people's rights as the groups work to put ever-larger chunks of land under protection.  World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, and The Nature Conservancy -- the three big international NGOs targeted in the article (BINGOs for those acronym fanciers) -- wrote in, of course, but their letters are actually surprisingly dull and dry. More juice from two of the three can be found …

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“Climate variability”

Global warming, climate change, global climate change -- so 2004. The hipsters are now calling it "climate variability." Or, well, at least a few Bush admin spinmeisters are hoping they will be 'ere long. In Buenos Aires earlier this month, when they weren't busy stymieing progress on Kyoto, U.S. reps were trying to get folks jazzed about the fresh coinage "climate variability." So much more pleasing to the ear than those stilted, passe climate phrases of yore. After all, variety is the spice of life! Look forward to a lot of spicy weather ahead.

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Is “Clear Skies” really so ghastly?

David Whitman, in a compelling article in the Washington Monthly, argues that Bush's Clear Skies initiative is getting a bum rap from enviros. (He also argues that the much-vilified Jeff Holmstead, the Bush appointee who heads the EPA's Office for Air and Radiation, doesn't wholly deserve his anti-green rep.) Whitman asserts that the bill would do some real good, and debunks the widely repeated claim that the proposal would permit more pollution than the Clean Air Act. (Turns out there was more than met the eye to that bit about a secret EPA PowerPoint slide asserting that Clear Skies would …

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In case you weren’t convinced about the horrors of dioxin …

just look at the face of Ukranian presidential candidate Victor Yushchenko (before and after photos here).  Yikes. The bizarre case of his poisoning has brought renewed attention to this frightening substance, a byproduct of herbicide manufacturing, paper milling, waste incineration, and other nasty industrial processes.   As BushGreenwatch points out, the Bushies are dragging their feet on curbing dioxin pollution, both domestically and internationally. "They've done nothing in regulations, and I don't see anything on dioxin moving on the federal level in the next four years," said Lois Gibbs, executive director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice and …

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Bushies gut national forest rules

Three days before Christmas, the Bush administration announced that it's making the biggest overhaul to forest-management rules in some three decades. The news made the front page of today's New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, etc. -- but ya gotta know it'll slip by unnoticed by a great many folks stuck in whited-out airports in the Midwest and teeming malls everywhere else.   It's been a while since the Bushies pulled one of these announce-an-environmental-abomination-when-no-one's-looking stunts, but they returned to the tactic with a real doozy this time.   "A key wildlife protection that has governed federal forest …

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A clear eye from Britain

Leave it to the British Independent to cut to the chase and succinctly summarize the environment-ravaging agenda of a second Bush administration and its cronies in Congress. Even the title of its article succinctly summarizes it: "Bush sets out plan to dismantle 30 years of environmental laws." Reporter Geoffrey Lean notes that three laws in particular are in the admin's sights: the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act (as Amanda Griscom Little has reported), and the National Environmental Policy Act. He also reports that EPA chief Mike Leavitt wants to overhaul the agency to his liking (as previously reported …

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Brilliant bit of Bhopal activism

On this, the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, hats off to Andy Bichlbaum for a brilliant bit of activist theater.   Yesterday, the smooth-talking wag posed as a representative of Dow Chemical -- which in 2001 bought Union Carbide, the culprit in the deadly Bhopal catastrophe -- and got himself on BBC World TV news, where he announced that Dow was taking responsibility for the world's worst environmental accident and would pay $12 billion to victims to make amends. Of course, it was all a charade. Dow still denies any responsibility for the tragic pesticide-factory explosion and leak that …

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Dan Aykroyd rants about overconsumption

In an interview done to promote his (widely panned) new feel-good flick Christmas with the Kranks, Dan Aykroyd let loose his opinions on overwrought consumerism: "[T]he common enemy in North America is the Western consumer. The consumer has driven oil up to $50 a barrel so we have to have these wars," he said. Still, he called for supporting the troops fighting those wars: "we've got to support those young men and women who are out there protecting our big fat bloated lifestyle. ... But let's take that $110 billion we're putting into conflict and put it into hydrogen cell …

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Bush taps Nebraska gov to head USDA

Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns (R) will replace Ann Veneman as secretary of agriculture, if Bush's nomination slithers through the Senate as expected. For those not intimately familiar with Johanns' record (who, me?), Bush provided this helpful tidbit: "He's a strong proponent of alternative energy sources such as ethanol and bio-diesel." A corn-belt governor who digs ethanol?  Who woulda thunk it?   More on Johanns to come ...

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