Skip to content Skip to site navigation

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

Comments

GOP pollster says voters want action on clean water

Some like it clean. Polling guru and GOP spinmeister Frank Luntz has uncovered a fact likely to rattle and bewilder some Republicans in Congress: Americans prefer clean water. An emphatic memo [PDF] sent out by the Luntz Research Companies in February spotlighted Americans' intense feelings on the subject: Young and old, Democrat AND Republican, the demand for clean water is universal. More importantly, the public is willing to pay for it. An overwhelming majority of Americans -- 91 percent -- agree that 'if, as a country, we are willing to invest BILLIONS of dollars annually in highways and airways, we …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Scalia denies bias in Cheney case, but enviros say he looks as guilty as ever

Back on the Cheney gang. According to Sierra Club lawyers, Vice President Dick Cheney has been exceeding the recommended dosage of political Viagra. Last year, they sued him for metaphorically bedding the energy executives whom critics charge all but wrote the Bush administration's energy policy. Now they say he's been romancing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who will be hearing Cheney's appeal of the Sierra Club case next month. The high court agreed in December to consider the appeal from Cheney, who had been ducking a federal judge's order to disclose documents about his infamous 2001 energy task force for …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Biotech Dot Con

U.S. Government Funds Biotech-Boosting Website The U.S. government has launched a new website that trumpets the benefits of genetically modified foods -- paid for with taxpayer dollars. It's part of a larger State Department effort to "encourage broader adoption and acceptance of biotechnology in the developing world," said department official Deborah Malac; the program got half a million dollars this year, and a million over the previous two. Some farming and environmental groups have protested that the government should be funding research on the safety of GM crops rather than accepting (and pushing) corporate claims about their beneficial qualities, and …

Read more: Politics

Comments

EPA exaggerated claims about clean drinking water

That sinking feeling. The U.S. EPA claims it is successfully protecting the nation's drinking-water supplies -- but that claim seems to have sprung a leak. Earlier this month, the EPA's Office of the Inspector General accused officials in the agency of consistently making bogus statements about improvements in the quality of America's tap water. The charges are spelled out in a tellingly titled report: "EPA Claims to Meet Drinking Water Goals Despite Persistent Data Quality Shortcomings" [PDF]. "It's just one more example of Bush officials using cooked-up numbers to try to prove what a great job they're doing," said Erik …

Read more: Politics

Comments

EPA and BLM fight over how to protect groundwater from massive Nevada mine

In an age when corporate America can't see past its quarterly results, it's hard to imagine how the world's largest gold producer is going to manage the environmental damage caused by one of its mines hundreds or even thousands of years into the future. Future site of the Phoenix mine. Photo: Lighthawk, Great Basin Mine Watch. That's the challenge Newmont Mining Corp. faces as it proposes to mine gold from a billion tons of rock in the Battle Mountain range of Nevada -- a state which, if it were a country, would rank third in the world in gold production …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Bush drilling plan ticks off many New Mexicans and tickles GOP donors pink

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) is facing off against the Department of Interior and its Bureau of Land Management over a plan to allow oil and gas drilling on his state's pristine Otero Mesa -- an expanse of desert grassland which the governor, with a touch of dramatic flair, has called "the West's ANWR." Don't mesa 'round with New Mexico. Photo: Nathan Newcomer, NMWild.org. On Monday, Richardson -- whose name frequently pops up on lists of possible Democratic vice presidential nominees -- released an official state report [PDF] slamming the BLM's plan as "inconsistent with numerous state laws, rules, …