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Mainstream green groups opt out of GOP convention protests

Image: Indymedia.org. New York City expects protests at next week's Republican National Convention to be the most widespread and strident to hit any political convention since Chicago in 1968, when the Democrats nominated Hubert H. Humphrey over Eugene McCarthy at the height of Vietnam furor, and chaos stole the political spotlight. Already GOP spinners have begun framing the anticipated demonstrations as authorized by the Kerry campaign and evidence of the Democratic Party's "radical" underpinnings. Already, too, the GOP and the media are naming environmentalists as one faction likely to be among the most vociferous protesters. On Sunday, Adam Nagourney of …

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Circuit Boards Roasting on an Open Fire

Dumped Electronics Poisoning Poor in Asia Computers and other electronics discarded in the West frequently end up in poor villages in China and India, where they are stripped for residues of valuable metals in primitive procedures that poison local communities. Enviro activists report that Chinese villagers cook circuit boards over open charcoal burners to strip chips, capacitors, and condensers, burn off PVC casing from wires, and dip the components in vats of warm acid to recover traces of precious metals. Needless to say, breathing molten lead and PVC fumes and working with acid have no salutary effect on the health …

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Whining Is Job One

Ford Battles Hybrid-Friendly Legislation, Destroys Electric Cars Ford Motor Co. CEO Bill Ford's vocal attempts to position his company as eco-friendly are sounding a little hollow this week. As the California legislative session nears its end, Ford has ramped up lobbying efforts to kill a bill that would allow drivers of fuel-efficient hybrids to drive solo in the state's carpool lanes. Ford said the measure -- sponsored by Assemblymember Fran Pavley (D) and backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) -- is a "buy Japanese" bill "intended for almost exclusive use by Toyota Prius drivers." Ford took issue with the bill's …

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Behind the Green Door-to-Door

Enviro Groups Go Door-to-Door to Reach Swing Voters Environmental organizations like the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters are mounting get-out-the-vote operations of unprecedented vigor and sophistication this election year. They are targeting what the Sierra Club calls "infrequent environmental voters," folks concerned about natural resources and environmental degradation who do not typically make it to the polls. (Surely there are none of those folks among the Grist readership!) Due to changing campaign-finance laws, the focus this year has shifted from television advertising to direct contact. Groups are busing members from across the nation to knock on doors …

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Good for the Goose, Good for the Pander

Kerry Trumpets the Benefits of Coal In 2000, Al Gore narrowly lost the swing state of West Virginia, which (like so many other things) cost him the election. Many observers speculated that the loss resulted from Gore's reputation as a "radical" environmentalist, particularly his opposition to coal, which many state residents depend on for their livelihoods. John Kerry seems determined to avoid Gore's fate. In a campaign press release last week, he was quoted as saying, "Coal is abundant, coal mining creates jobs, and I believe that with the right investment and commitment coal can be an even cleaner part …

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Tree Amigos

Bush Roadless-Rule Rollback Opposed by Tree Farmers The Bush administration's proposal to revamp (critics say gut) the Clinton-Era Roadless Rule, which prohibits road construction on some 60 Million acres of federal forestland, is finding opposition in some odd places. Owners of tree farms, not typically considered a natural ally of greens, are backing the Sierra Club and other enviro groups in opposing the policy. They worry that a flurry of new logging on federal lands will create a glut of timber and hurt their livelihoods. "The [Roadless Rule] restrictions doubled our prices, so if you went back it could cut …

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Bush campaign tries to trash Kerry’s environmental record

The wrestler in chief. Photo: White House. Over the past few weeks of Presidential WrestleMania MMIV, the Bush campaign has fired off more than a dozen press releases about John Kerry's policies on energy, nuclear-waste storage, forest and water protections, and other environmental issues -- a hodgepodge of smears, exaggerations, and obfuscations intended to besmirch Kerry's pro-environment reputation. Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, says the Bush campaign is responding to polls indicating that voters are taking the environment seriously in key battleground states. "The polling in Nevada is showing that people are voting on the Yucca Mountain …

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Errorism

New Report Charges Bush Administration with Neglecting 9/11 Air Safety The Bush administration showed "reckless disregard" for public safety after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 by failing to warn New Yorkers about the dangers of breathing the polluted air around the Twin Towers site, says a new Sierra Club report. According to the report: The Bush administration failed to warn the public about long-understood dangers of breathing air filled with toxics, concrete, and glass fibers after building demolitions; it failed on up to a dozen occasions to change public-safety assurances after it became clear people were getting sick; and it …

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An interview with Terry Tamminen, Schwarzenegger’s top enviro official

Terry Tamminen. Terry Tamminen, secretary of California's Environmental Protection Agency, may hold the most powerful environmental job in the U.S. outside of Washington, D.C. Not only is California the world's fifth-largest economy, it has long been an environmental trendsetter, pioneering standards in automobile regulation and alternative-energy development that have spread across the nation and around the world. But Tamminen works for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), whose fondness for gas-guzzling Hummers leaves some environmentalists skeptical of his assurances about protecting California's environment. Grist sent environmental author and reporter Mark Hertsgaard to question the 52-year-old Tamminen about how he and Schwarzenegger plan …

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Grand Old Protest

Activists Divided Over Protest Tactics at GOP Convention Many enviros will be among the hundreds of thousands of protesters flooding into New York City at the end of the month to protest the Republican National Convention -- or rather, to protest environmental rollbacks, corporate cronyism, tax cuts for the rich, indifference to poverty, abortion restrictions, the Iraq war, abrogation of civil liberties, racism, and the annoying adhesive strips on new compact discs (they're impossible to fully remove!). Some veteran activists, however, are concerned about the stated intentions of some radical types to engage in property destruction and violence; they worry …

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