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Miles Grant's Posts

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Here comes the story of the hurricane

If we’re already in energy crisis, what happens when a major Gulf storm hits?

Yesterday, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he'd be open to letting Big Oil drill on previously-protected public lands. And now this: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on President Bush to release oil from the government's emergency reserve to knock down gasoline prices she says "are helping push the economy toward recession." Pelosi, D-Calif., in a letter to Bush noted that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve has been used three times before and each time the action has served to stabilize oil markets and lower gas prices. [...] Bush turned to the reserves when hurricanes Katrina and Rita disrupted oil …

Read more: Politics

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Florida faces unfavorable tide

New report calls for climate action, but not everyone’s listening

With more coastline than any state in the lower 48 and about a tenth of its economy ($65 billion a year) based on tourism, Florida has more to lose than any other state from the threats of global warming. Rising sea levels creep closer to coastal development. Warmer tropics fuel stronger hurricanes. And higher ocean temperatures kill coral and harm fish populations, threatening the state's $4.5 billion sportfishing industry. Plenty of reasons that a report released yesterday should serve as a call to action on preparing for inevitable changes from global warming and cutting emissions now to avoid the worst …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Friday night fights

Senate turns back sneak attack from climate action opponents

Opponents of climate action launched a surprise assault last Friday night. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) led an attempt to add an amendment to the budget bill that Congress should hold off on enacting cap-and-trade legislation until China and India take more action. You'd expect Climate Security Act co-sponsors like Virginia's John Warner, Minnesota's Norm Coleman, Maine's Susan Collins, and North Carolina's Elizabeth Dole to oppose the amendment. But then another surprise -- South Carolina's Lindsey Graham, New Hampshire's Judd Gregg, Florida's Mel Martinez, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, Kansas' Pat Roberts, Oregon's Gordon Smith, Maine's Olympia Snowe, Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter, and New …

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Loaded for bear?

Polar bear decision expected today from Bush administration

This just in from Associated Press: The Interior Department has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday to announce a decision on whether to list the polar bear as threatened and in need of protection under the Endangered Species Act. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne proposed such protection 15 months ago because of the disappearance of Arctic sea ice, which is a primary habitat for the bear. Last September, scientists said up to two-thirds of the polar bears could disappear by mid-century because of sea ice loss due to global warming. However, it's not certain the bear will be listed as threatened. …

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Salmon shutdown

One of the West Coast’s most iconic species feeling the heat

California's outdoors industry -- wildlife watching, hunting, and fishing -- is an $8.2 billion-a-year business. That's roughly equivalent to the GDP of Cambodia. So imagine the shock waves sent by the state's first salmon shutdown: Salmon fishing was banned along the West Coast for the first time in 160 years Thursday, a decision that is expected to have a devastating economic impact on fishermen, dozens of businesses, tourism and boating. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez immediately declared a commercial fishery disaster, opening the door for Congress to appropriate money for anyone who will be economically harmed. Unfortunately, the forecast for salmon …

Read more: Politics

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Strangers in the backyard

Why save the planet if you don’t know who lives here?

There were plenty of depressing numbers out there this Earth Day, from dwindling numbers of moose in Minnesota to ongoing honey bee decline. But to me, this takes the Prozac-frosted cake: a study found that while young people could identify a thousand corporate logos, they couldn't identify even a handful of plants and animals in their backyards. Will future generations care about protecting the planet if they can't even pick a starling out of a lineup? How can we start to change that? The No Child Left Inside Coalition has a simple idea: get 'em outside:

Read more: Living

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It's not you; it's me

Energy execs and GOP reps grow apart on climate action

Things may be getting a little weird in what's traditionally been a cozy long-term relationship. A Republican state representative in North Dakota last week ripped electric company executives for being too liberal on climate action: State Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo, said the companies have a responsibility to "tell the truth" about global warming. "What I hear you saying is that, 'It's going to be a reality and we're just going to play the game as best we can,'" Kasper told company officials Wednesday, at a conference sponsored by the Utility Shareholders of North Dakota. "For you to throw in the …

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Polar bears are ... doing great?

So say Big Oil-friendly opponents of protecting them

You know, if you set aside the massive threats to their habitats posed by global warming and oil and gas development, polar bears are an "otherwise healthy" species. That was the argument made Wednesday by William Horn, an attorney and former Assistant Interior Secretary for Fish and Wildlife in the Reagan administration, at a Capitol Hill hearing about the ongoing delay in whether to cover the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. Horn's case was echoed by several Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. To listen to Horn, the 33-51 percent chance that the recently signed …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Climate action opponents: We're doomed

For fossil fuel fans, bleak is the new black

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is on a barnstorming tour, holding a series of innocuously-named "State Climate Dialogues." While the promotional materials sound forward-looking -- conservation, clean energy, efficient technology -- make no mistake about the purpose of the events. The national chamber is trying to derail the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act or any other legislation that puts a price on greenhouse-gas emissions. How's the tour being received so far? Not so well: Claims of dramatic job losses and rising prices for consumers were quickly dismissed by environmentalists, Gov. Brian Schweitzer's office, Montana economists, and others. Those forecasts fail to …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Shhhh!

Bush administration quietly acknowledges climate plan is doable

Hey, did you notice that new analysis the Environmental Protection Agency just put out? The one on the economic impacts of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act? No? None of this ringing a bell? That's just the way the EPA wants it. Like it was putting a scandal-ridden aide out to pasture, the administration quietly released the report on Friday afternoon and has tried to bury the important findings. But while the release may have been stealthy and the presentation was marked by the White House's typical efforts to make everything look bleak, the results speak loudly, showing we can both …