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The Bush administration’s scientific distortions threaten the environment

In late February, after a star-studded, bipartisan lineup of Nobel laureates and leading American scientists accused the Bush administration of misusing and distorting science to serve political ends, the initial response from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. was flat-out denial. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy chief John Marburger dismissed the scientists' complaints as a ''conspiracy report'' that cobbled together ''disconnected issues that rubbed somebody the wrong way.'' Marburger told the press he had no intention of conducting an internal investigation or passing the report along to higher-ups. John Marburger. Perhaps he should have dropped them a memo. Last week, …

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Immigration controversy engulfs Sierra Club board election

If the Democratic primaries have proven a little prim and polite for your taste, there's another upcoming election that may pique your interest. This one is loaded with bitter controversy, nasty accusations, and emotional appeals to democracy and fairness. Its major players have even taken their grievances to court -- all before the nearly three-quarters of a million potential voters have gotten a peek at their ballots. Crowd and clear? What's at stake in this mudslinging contest? Five seats on the national board of the Sierra Club, the oldest, largest, and some might say most widely respected environmental organization in …

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Huge Tracts of Land

Bush Administration Accelerates Oil and Gas Leasing in Rockies The Bush administration, as part of its broader effort to accelerate oil and gas development on the Rocky Mountain front, is moving ahead with plans to lease large tracts of environmentally sensitive land in Utah and southwestern Wyoming. This has prompted protests from varied quarters, including a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton signed by 100 members of Congress. Enviro groups noted that many of the tracts being leased were eligible for federal wilderness status, and that the land, projected to be worth about $80 an acre in annual revenue, was …

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A veteran enviro leader answers questions

What organization are you affiliated with? What does it do? I'm the dean at the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. The school is working to become "a truly global school of the environment." We have around 235 students in our professional master's degree programs in environmental management, forestry, and environmental science. Our doctoral program averages 70 to 80 students conducting research in areas such as agroforestry, community ecology, ecosystems management, and environmental health risk assessment. About a third of our students are from abroad. It's a great place, honestly, and we get remarkably talented students. What's your …

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Federal agencies at odds over salvage-logging proposal in Oregon

Siskiyou-hoo! Photo: BLM. A U.S. Forest Service proposal to conduct a massive salvage-logging operation in Oregon's Siskiyou National Forest has come up against a surprising critic -- the U.S. EPA. While the Bush administration has advertised the plan as a necessary measure to protect the future health of the forest -- which was hit by the Biscuit fire, the largest wildfire in the nation in 2002 -- an EPA environmental impact statement released last week said the plan could cause severe environmental harm and violate the Clean Water Act. The Forest Service's draft outlines seven salvage-logging alternatives, with particular emphasis …

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Apocalyptic Pentagon report on global warming could spur action on Capitol Hill

We're having a heat wave ... Image: NOAA. A hair-raising Pentagon report [PDF] on the potentially imminent and colossal national security threat posed by climate change has been making its way around the Internet since its release in late January, and this week it picked up considerable speed. Fortune magazine was the first major news outlet to cover the report; the "Climate Collapse" feature in its Jan. 26 issue raised many an eyebrow in business and Beltway circles. Then, this past Sunday, a somewhat more histrionic article on the report ran in the British Observer and has been swirling through …

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Garbage Cans and Garbage Can’ts

Federal Court Rules EPA Incineration Emission Standards Insufficient Federal standards governing emissions from garbage incinerators are inadequate and must be rewritten by the U.S. EPA, ruled the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., yesterday. The controversy over incineration emissions began in the 1980s, when garbage incinerators became common nationwide. The EPA issued a set of rules regulating these emissions in 1995. Industry attacked the rules, arguing that large and small incinerators should be governed by different standards, and the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the rules in 1996. In 2000, the EPA issued a new set of rules, which …

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Nader’s presidential bid is eliciting heated rhetoric from enviros

See Ralph run. Ralph Nader -- that alternately beloved and begrudged gadfly -- buzzed back onto the political scene Sunday with an announcement that he intends to mount yet another presidential campaign. Mainstream environmentalists, among others desperate to oust President Bush, were not amused. Speaking on Meet the Press, Nader sounded a familiar battle cry when he vowed to take on the "two-party duopoly" and "corporate-occupied territory" in Washington, D.C., where donkeys and elephants "are ferociously competing to see who's going to go to the White House and take orders from their corporate paymasters." But corporate-occupied as it may still …

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Apocalypse Later

Pentagon Report Details Apocalyptic Climate Change Scenario Major European cities are submerged and become uninhabitable. Famine spreads across the globe. Countries race to develop nuclear capabilities to fend off invaders seeking food and resources. China and India devolve into chaos. The U.S. becomes a large fortress to prevent an onslaught of millions of refugees. "Once again, warfare would define human life." 1950s B movie? Wild-eyed leftist fantasy? No, this is a scenario described in a secret Pentagon report commissioned by legendary defense strategist and uber-hawk Andrew Marshall (dubbed "Yoda" by colleagues for his extensive experience and influence). The report on …

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Bush plan to overhaul CAFE standards is a mixed bag

Clean up the bus, gus. Photo: NREL. The Bush administration has taken to singing the clean-car gospel lately, but it's not quite hitting all the notes. Last month, U.S. EPA chief Mike Leavitt joined Detroit kingpins in a splashy D.C. conference to trumpet the arrival of new vehicles and fuels that reduce sulfur emissions -- a notable achievement, but what Leavitt was passing off as a Bush administration success was in fact an initiative launched under President Clinton. Days later, Leavitt announced additional funding for the Clean School Bus USA program -- some $60 million to replace pre-1991 school buses …

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