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USDA close to approving relatively weak organic standards for fish

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week inched closer to approving organic rules for fish for the first time that would let "organic" fish eat up to 25 percent of their diet from non-organic sources, a move which has irked organic advocates worried about sullying otherwise relatively strict standards for organic meat products.

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Brita announces recycling program for used water filters

Brita, maker of popular water-purifying pitchers, will launch a recycling program for used water filters beginning in January. The company's announcement comes after months of pressure from citizen activists. Consumers will be able to drop used filters off at selected Whole Foods stores or mail them in; the plastic parts will be turned into recycled toothbrushes and razors, and the activated carbon "will be regenerated for alternative use or converted into energy," according to the company.

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Toy manufacturers push back against lead-safety rule

Toys marketed to the 12-under-set must either meet new lead standards or be off shelves by Feb. 10 -- but many toy manufacturers and retailers don't wanna comply. Citing the economic downturn, they're pressuring the government to relax the requirement.

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Exxon: Not the only profitable energy biz last quarter

ExxonMobil keeps making profits -- another record one this last quarter -- in the midst of meltdown everywhere else. But we here in New England had energy profits of our own: Coop Power, the regional renewable energy coop, had its first profitable quarter since it launched a couple years ago due largely to the number of solar hot water panels it's been buying/installing on members' roofs this year, community barn-raising style. And Coop Power members have been busy putting up panels on each others' houses nearly every weekend this fall, so here's looking forward to another profitable (and renewable) quarter …

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Stenography on the deck of the Titanic

NYT suckered by ExxonMobil in puff piece titled ‘Green is for Sissies’

Another nail in the coffin of the "liberal media" meme. The NYT has run a greenwashing press release from the oil giant masquerading as a major business news story. Yes, the print headline really is "Green is for Sissies," but as you'll see, it isn't some kind of postmodern Onion-esque irony (except maybe unintentionally). Here are some unchallenged quotes: "The business model is based on a disciplined and rigorous approach to dealing with scientific data and facts," [CEO Tillerson] says. "For the foreseeable future -- and in my horizon that is to the middle of the century -- the world …

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Bush: all the bailout, none of the social benefits

I see that Bush is delightful as always: Complaining about what it termed partisan "gridlock" in Congress, the White House late Friday called on lawmakers to let U.S. auto makers get quick access to a $25 billion federal loan program, by dropping a requirement that the money be spent on converting to fuel-efficient vehicles.

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A defense of the GM bailout

Because small fixes make the biggest difference

Despite the excellent reasons to reject the GM bailout, consider this: a strings-attached investment that tweaked GM's production model could reap huge climate benefits -- perhaps bigger than anything else we do to autos in the near term. That's because the biggest opportunities in fuel economy are at the low end of the fleet, not in FutureCars. Remember: you save more fuel switching from a 15 to 18 mpg car than switching from a 50 to 100 mpg car. (The explanation is here and here.) For a company like GM that's based on building fuel-wasting behemoths this has huge implications. …

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Utilities ponder big buy of electric cars

In a move to support flailing automakers -- and potentially boost their own bottom line -- several big U.S. utilities are considering putting in orders for thousands of electric cars.

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A review of Joel Makower’s Strategies for the Green Economy

If there were an M.B.A. school for green executives, Joel Makower undoubtedly would be its dean, historian, and booster-in-chief. Joel Makower. During a 20-year career, Makower has chronicled the rise of the green movement in corporate America through books, hundreds of stories, and countless speeches. Along the way, he has carved out a mini green business empire for himself. He is executive editor and chairman of Greener World Media, which owns Greenbiz.com, a website that reports on the burgeoning industry. He also has marketing ties to green business groups and sits on the boards and advisory committees of various green …

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Nix fuel-efficiency requirement from Big Auto loan, says White House

To avoid "partisan gridlock" and give U.S. automakers quicker access to a $25 billion loan, Congress should drop the requirement that the money be used to improve vehicle fuel efficiency, the White House said Friday. We'd argue that Detroit is partially in this mess precisely because it dragged its feet on improving vehicle fuel efficiency -- but maybe that's just more of that pre-$2-gas thinking.