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When in doubt, propagandize

The ethanol industry is in trouble because the market is rejecting its products, which turn out to have been wildly over-hyped. So it's taking a cue from the coal industry and improving its product launching a massive advertising campaign. Fresh from my inbox: WASHINGTON -- On Tuesday, November 11th, leading ethanol producers from around the country will announce the launch of a new organization at a press conference in Washington, D.C. The organization will be dedicated to promoting ethanol as America's best renewable fuel that is reliable and affordable now. In addition, they will announce a new ad campaign focused …

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NYC mayor proposes plastic-bag fee

Urging New Yorkers to bring their own sacks to Saks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a 6-cent fee on plastic bags. One cent per bag would go to stores; the other nickel would go to the city, bringing in an estimated $16 million per year.

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GM will keep investing in electric-car R&D

Even as it strives to cut costs and keep its head above water, General Motors will push forward with investment in electric vehicles, according to ever-elusive "sources with knowledge of the plan."

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As material prices fall, U.K. grapples with mounds of un-recycled recyclables

Thousands of tons of recyclables in the United Kingdom -- including bottles, cans, and newspapers -- are sitting un-recycled following the sudden collapse of materials prices a few weeks ago. Recycling companies are asking the government to ease regulations temporarily to allow them to store the mountains of rubbish in secured warehouses and former military bases until prices rise again.

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Shilled to pieces

On election day, King Coal celebrates public relations ‘landslide’

Originally posted at the Wonk Room. ----- The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), the coal industry's propaganda front group, is upbeat about this election day, as indicated by their press release today. ACCCE VP Joe Lucas claimed: If "support for the use of coal for generating electricity" were on the ballot today, it would win by a landslide. His choice of words is unfortunate, as landslides are only one of the many deadly hazards of coal mining, especially under the lax safety enforcement of the Bush administration. ACCCE is celebrating a poll that showed their $50 million propaganda …

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Ethanol industry struggling

Big Ethanol, once all the rage, is tanking under the triple threat of inconsistent corn costs, the shaky economy, and falling prices for the product. Plans for new plants have been put on hold, and several companies have filed for bankruptcy; many analysts say significant consolidation is in the cards.

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Wind fail

The European wind industry continues its march to dominance

The European energy market has been driven for years by restrictions on CO2 and taxpayer support for renewable energy. As a result, Europe boasts many of the biggest, strongest wind companies in the world. In the U.S., we largely leave the energy market up to the vagaries of rising and falling oil prices. As a result, our wind power industry is fragmented and underfunded -- and now that oil prices are back down, on the ropes. As a result, the big European companies are getting set to buy up lots of smaller American companies to further cement their dominance. Then, …

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Ford rehires truck manufacturers

News from the They Just Don't Learn Department: Ford will rehire 1,000 workers to build its F-150 pickup truck, expecting boosted consumer demand in the face of falling gas prices.

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Feds deny GM request for merger bucks

General Motors' request for up to $10 billion to aid its potential merger with Chrysler was spurned by the Treasury Department, say sources; instead, the Bush administration will try to speed along implementation of a $25 billion loan to Big Auto to encourage R&D of fuel-efficient vehicles.

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Safety dance

Will a new administration give us the ‘safest food supply in the world’?

How many times have we been told we have the safest food supply in the world? Do we really? I suppose it depends on the comparison. Somalia? Kenya ? Eritrea? In developing countries, close to two million children die every year from contaminated food and water. These countries don't have much of a food supply, safe or otherwise, so compared to them, we do quite well. How do we fare compared to other industrialized countries? The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions estimates that there are 76 million cases of foodborne illness yearly in the U.S. -- roughly 1 out …