Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Politics

Comments

An interview with Bush’s point person on species and parks

Craig Manson. Craig Manson is the man President Bush selected to protect America's critters. And like many top dogs in this administration, he's not exactly considered a good friend of the environmental community. As assistant interior secretary for fish, wildlife, and parks, Manson implements the Endangered Species Act, determines the direction of the National Park System and the Fish and Wildlife Service, and oversees some 30,000 employees. Manson took a roundabout path to his post within the Bush administration, via the Air Force, a law practice, the California Department of Fish and Game, and a judgeship in the Superior Court …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Jeffords’ bid to block EPA appointments could have welcome side effects

Jeffords speaking his mind. Photo: U.S. Senate. Asserting that he was confronting "truly life-and-death matters," Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) announced last week that as ranking member of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works he would exercise his powers to put a hold on four high-level appointments to the U.S. EPA. "I'm sorry it has come to this sad state, but I believe I am left with no other recourse," he proclaimed dramatically in a statement to the committee. It wasn't the appointments he believed posed mortal dangers -- in fact, Jeffords had just voted in favor of …

Read more: Politics

Comments

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 …

Read more: Cities, Politics

Comments

Bipartisan House bill may signal growing consensus on climate change

Gilchrest (left) and Olver, the new climate warriors. Photo: U.S. House. The nascent congressional effort to fight global warming has spread to the House -- but supporters acknowledge that it's not likely to receive an especially warm welcome from the chamber's leadership. Last week, a motley bipartisan crew of representatives including Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.) and John Olver (D-Mass.) stood beside Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) to introduce companion legislation to the senators' Climate Stewardship Act. The House version, like the Senate's, proposes to set a mandatory cap for greenhouse-gas emissions and create a market-based carbon-dioxide trading system …

Comments

USDA’s Mark Rey drags feet on releasing info about forest policymaking

Mark Rey. Photo: USFS. According to lawyers from Defenders of Wildlife, Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, who oversees the U.S. Forest Service, seems to be pulling some moves out of the Dick Cheney playbook -- the very same tricks of evasion and secrecy that have jeopardized the vice president's reputation in the fiasco surrounding his energy task force. Rey and his department have been dragging their feet in response to requests for public release of documents regarding the Bush administration's proposed overhaul of forest-management practices. Critics suspect the documents might confirm that logging-industry executives wielded undue influence over the process. The …

Read more: Politics

Comments

The U.S. has outsourced environmental leadership

On the money. California unveiled the design on its state quarter last week: a picture of John Muir, an image of Half Dome. It's an apt representation of American environmentalism at the moment -- rich in history, but not worth much at present. Modern environmentalism can fairly be described as an American invention. It got its rhetoric from John Muir, its fighting savvy from David Brower, its sense of the world from Rachel Carson, and its institutional framework from the Congress of the Nixon years, which bowed before the loud will of the American people in the years after Earth …

Read more: Living, Politics

Comments

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 …

Comments

Fuel economy grows as a campaign issue, making some Michigan Dems nervous

Gassing up. It seemed oddly off-message: John Kerry stood before an audience of thousands of California liberals yesterday at a rally at the University of California at San Diego, roasting the petroleum-hungry Bush administration for letting gas prices escalate. "I'll use real diplomacy to do what George Bush hasn't -- pressure OPEC to start providing more oil! We'll stop diverting oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve until gas prices get back to normal," said the Democratic presidential contender, who in 1993 voted for a gas-tax hike and in 1994 spoke in favor of a 50-cent increase in the gas tax …

Comments

Bush’s mercury proposal draws heat from both sides of the aisle

The Capitol is heating up over mercury. Photo: NIH. A handful of Beltway wags are contending that mercury is the new arsenic, the latest symbol of official disregard for environmental health. Their claim is lent credence by an ongoing flurry of controversies surrounding the Bush administration's plan for dealing with the toxic pollutant. A revealing article published in the Los Angeles Times two weeks ago intensified the commotion. According to reporters Tom Hamburger and Alan C. Miller, five career U.S. EPA employees charge that President Bush's political appointees railroaded the administration's much-criticized mercury plan through by neglecting technical studies and …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Free trade agreement threatens Costa Rican environmental protections

Insert oil rig here? When most people think of Costa Rica, they don't imagine oil rigs stationed off the pristine beaches. Nor do they envision pit mines cutting into the cloud-forested mountains. But, despite the country's noteworthy conservation efforts, its scenic vistas and extraordinary biodiversity face ongoing threats from extractive industries -- and from international trade deals. Nearly two years ago, Costa Rican nationals and admirers thought they'd been given reason to rest easy. In May 2002, responding to a large-scale mobilization of the country's environmentalists, President Abel Pacheco announced a moratorium on oil exploration and open-pit mining in Costa …

Read more: Politics