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Schwarzenegger’s “Green Hummer” plan sparks cultish following

Does this look green to you? The Hummer has come to be associated with a number of things -- steroid-addled egomaniacs, over-compensating suburban dads, the highway to global-warming hell, even Monica Lewinsky's antics in the Oval Office ... But eco-friendly driving isn't one of them. Unless, of course, you travel in the "Green Hummer" underground, quietly developing in California thanks to the former steroid-addled egomaniac himself, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). The Governator claims to have traded in his Hollywood-powered ego for an eco-empowered worldview. Early in his gubernatorial campaign last year, Schwarzenegger presented a convincing motive for cleaning up California's …

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The Hydrogenator

California Governor Gives a Boost to Hydrogen Infrastructure California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is trying to kick-start the so-called hydrogen revolution. Yesterday, he signed an executive order establishing a public-private partnership aimed at building a network of some 200 hydrogen fueling stations in the state by 2010, at an estimated cost of $100 million. (California is in dire financial straits, so the money is expected to come from private investment and federal funds.) If successful, the plan could mark a metamorphosis in transportation, but there's no shortage of skeptics. A recent study by the National Academy of Sciences predicted it …

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Taxpayers could get stuck with tab for new diesel rules

When the Bush administration wants to gin up some environmental cred, it cites efforts underway to slash diesel emissions by requiring trucking companies to switch to cleaner engines. But the untold story is that it may be the taxpayers -- not the polluters -- who end up footing much of the bill. Big Mac attack. Photo: U.S. House. The trucking industry has long been a leading opponent of federal clean-air regulations, and since 1993 it has had a relentless advocate in Rep. Mac Collins (R-Ga.), former owner of Collins Trucking Co. -- a business that is now run by the …

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The EPA has been misoverestimating the fuel economy of cars sold in the U.S., says enviro group

A whole lot of exaggerating going on. If you think the fuel economy of U.S. vehicles is dismal, well, you're right. Perhaps more right than you know. Official U.S. EPA statistics ascribe a pathetic average of 20.8 miles per gallon to the 2003 car fleet, about 6 percent lower than 15 years ago. The fleet averaged 22.1 mpg in 1987, before Americans got hooked on gas-guzzling SUVs. But according to the enviro group Bluewater Network, the actual fuel economy of America's cars and light trucks is as much as 20 percent lower than the EPA claims. The Bush administration last …

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Hy Jinx

Hybrids Gaining Ground Among Celebs, But Still Pricey for the Rest of Us Thanks to lobbying by intrepid enviro group Global Green USA, several high-profile celebrities arrived at the Academy Awards this year not in stretch limos, but in diminutive hybrid Toyota Priuses. Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, Charlize Theron, Robin Williams, and Sting all pulled up to the red carpet in loaner hybrids, leading some culture wags to speculate that tank-size, nine-mile-per-gallon Hummers are losing the cachet battle to their leaner, more efficient rivals. But consumer advocates warn that the penny-pinching hoi polloi might want to pause before jumping …

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Ken You Dig It?

London Mayor Considers Expanding Downtown Congestion Charging London Mayor Ken Livingstone boasts that the year-old, eight-square-mile pay zone in the center of the city -- where motorists are charged $9.40 to enter between 7:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on weekdays -- has worked to reduce congestion and increase the use of public transportation. He promises that, if reelected, he'll double the size of the zone to include three largely residential boroughs on the city's west end. While the current congestion-charging scheme has roughly 75 percent support among London denizens, some critics claim that businesses inside the pay zone have been …

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It’s a Sprawl World After All

Two Anti-Sprawl Initiatives Fail in California In other, less eco-friendly initiative news, two separate measures intended to limit sprawl were defeated in California yesterday. In San Diego County, voters bucked statewide trends by rejecting the Rural Lands Initiative, which would have put a 20-year ban on development in 1,000 acres of the county's "backcountry." And in Contra Costa County, voters rejected Measure L, which would have prohibited the building of large discount/grocery outlets (read: Wal-Mart Supercenters) on unincorporated land. The hotly contested election saw Wal-Mart -- widely criticized for, among many other things, encouraging sprawl -- pour $1 million into …

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Missouri Loves Company

New Missouri River Management Plan Sparks Protest A massive new plan to manage the Missouri River, released by the Army Corps of Engineers on Friday, managed to please exactly nobody, in keeping with the tenor of 15 years of debate over the future of the "Big Muddy." Conservation groups immediately protested and filed lawsuits, saying the plan ignores broad scientific consensus -- captured in a 2002 National Academy of Sciences report -- that the only way to restore the sandbars and wetlands needed to nurture the river's endangered and threatened species is to reestablish its natural ebb and flow, letting …

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