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Faith-Based Initiative

Religious leaders make the environment a "values issue" More than 1,000 Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish religious leaders from some 35 states have signed and begun circulating a statement opposing President Bush's environmental policies. And evangelicals aren't far behind, having drawn up an "Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility" that emphasizes Christians' duty to care for the environment, potentially putting signatories -- including heavy-hitters like James Dobson of Focus on the Family -- at odds with the candidate many of them supported. "The environment is a values issue," said Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the 30 million member National Association of Evangelicals. …

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Old MacDonald Had a Conniption

Proposed Bush budget cuts environment spending and ag subsidies Turns out tax cuts for the wealthy aren't cheap. President Bush's fiscal 2006 budget, sent to Congress today, would cut the U.S. EPA budget by about 6 percent and the National Park Service budget by nearly 3 percent, part of a broad range of cuts that will also affect Medicaid, home-heating aid for the poor, American Indian schools, and a number of other social programs. Though critics deplored the cuts, saying they would hit society's most vulnerable the hardest, many had guarded praise for another proposal in the budget: cutting federal …

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Shocked, Shocked to Find Politicization in This Establishment

EPA inspector general finds proposed mercury rule biased for industry Brace yourself -- your entire worldview is about to be shaken. Turns out, in coming up with its new rules on power-plant mercury emissions, the U.S. EPA violated agency protocol and ignored scientific evidence in order to stay in line with a predetermined goal that favors industry. Such is the conclusion of a new report from EPA Inspector General Nikki Tinsley. Said one EPA staff member present at meetings between administrators and staff, "Everything about this rule was decided at a political level. ... The political level made the decisions, …

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New Republican leaders emerging in battle against climate change

Last week, an international task force co-chaired by Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine) predicted a fast-approaching "point of no return" for climate change -- possibly in as few as 10 years -- after which the crisis and its symptoms will be irreversible. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). You probably didn't read about it in the U.S. papers, which largely ignored the findings -- just as you probably haven't been reading much about the Kyoto Protocol, though the treaty will go into effect in less than two weeks, with the conspicuous noncooperation of the world's most heavily polluting nation. But, even as …

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I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

In SOTU speech, Bush mentions eco-responsible energy, dodges climate In his State of the Union speech last night -- in between 27 utterances each of the words "freedom" and "terror" or their variants -- President Bush squeezed in a brief nod to green issues. He said that the country needs "environmentally responsible" energy sources, just before touting nuclear power, praising ethanol, and urging Congress to pass his long-stalled energy bill, which would pave the way for a big new burst of oil and gas drilling. He also boasted of the bill's support for "conservation, alternative sources, [and] a modernized electricity …

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Eternal Sunshine of the British Mind

U.K. freedom-of-information rules promise access to crucial enviro data In sharp contrast to America's growing number of terror-inspired no-right-to-know rules restricting citizens' access to government info crucial to environmental health and safety, new rules in Britain that took effect Jan. 1 are intended to do just the opposite (no, not incite terrorism): ensure citizens' access to information about their environment. The new freedom-of-information rules also cover some private companies' records, especially concerning emissions data. Friends of the Earth U.K. has already submitted 60 requests for information on subjects ranging from the dangers of genetically modified crops to land contaminated by …

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Exeter Stage Left

Climate eggheads conclude we're toast, not sure when we'll hear the ding A three-day scientific conference on global warming in Exeter, U.K., that wrapped up today vividly illustrates the frustrating current state of the climate-change debate. There was a palpable sense of urgency among the scientists in attendance, as various studies predicted that global warming will yield rising sea levels, outbreaks of infectious disease, droughts, floods, famine, and up to 150 million "environmental refugees" fleeing arid or submerged land. Poor countries in South Asia and Africa are expected to be hardest hit, but aside from some areas of Canada and …

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Reid Between the Mines

Senate Democratic leader Reid is a friend to the mining industry Sen. Harry Reid, the new leader of the Senate Democrats, knows full-well that his home state of Nevada isn't a liberal or environmental stronghold. Thus he has had to balance his party's political agenda with his state's economic interests, and one of those big interests is mining. Reid has repeatedly fought environmental regulation of the mining industry while championing its access to public lands, and the senator relies on the industry for political and financial backing. But despite this lacuna in his eco-credentials, Reid is on board with other …

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It Takes a Six-State Caucus to Raise a Child

Midwest states announce effort to protect children from eco-hazards Youngsters in six Midwestern states may soon be safer from environmental dangers ranging from pesticide use in schools to toxic fumes from school-bus tailpipes. Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin lawmakers in the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators have agreed to work together to create stricter laws to prevent ill health effects in children stemming from pollution and toxic chemicals. The legislators also want to instigate a study into the long-term effects of chemicals on kids. "It seemed logical that we should work across state lines to pursue these proposals," …

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Are Too!

Judge says Bush admin wrong in claiming NW wolves aren't endangered Yesterday, a federal judge rescinded the 2003 federal rule downgrading gray wolves in the Northwest U.S. from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act, saying the Bush administration's decision was "not based on the present or future threats to the wolf or the best available science." Interior Secretary Gale Norton based the move on thriving wolf populations in the Northern Rocky Mountains -- in effect, said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity, "gerrymander[ing] the entire contiguous 48 states so that wolves in a few areas would …

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