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GMOy Vey

Battle over GM crops rages on in Europe Europe's ambivalence over genetically modified crops continues to lead to outbreaks of conflict and recrimination. The latest flurry involves a European Union vote on whether to approve a breed of GM corn made by biotech giant Monsanto. Eight countries voted to approve, 12 voted to deny, and five abstained, meaning the corn is a no-go for now. Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth Europe accused the European Food Safety Authority, Europe's top food safety agency, of pervasive bias in favor of GM crops, after it issued a stream of reports favorable to the …

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Oops, We Did It Again

Native Americans at risk from toxic military leftovers More than a century ago, the U.S. slaughtered a bunch of indigenous folks and put the rest on reservations in the most arid, isolated, undesirable parts of the American West. A new study shows that many closed military sites in the Lower 48 states -- including bombing ranges, weapons-testing sites, and waste dumps -- are close by those reservations, possibly putting Native Americans at disproportionately high risk from the toxic materials and unexploded bombs left behind. According to a Defense Department report, the abandoned bases are home to "hazardous materials, unexploded ordnance, …

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McCain ruffles GOP feathers with continued calls for action on climate change

McCain gets heated up. Presiding over his final hearing as chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee last week, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) delivered a feisty swan song assuring GOP colleagues and environmentalists alike that he won't be giving up his fight for climate-change regulations anytime soon -- even if the Bush administration and the 109th Congress seem likely to thwart his efforts. The hearing took place just two weeks after President Bush's reelection, setting the stage for a rancorous debate inside the Republican-dominated Beltway over the next four years, likely deepening the divide between moderate, pro-environment Republicans …

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Arabian Fights

Arabs and Latinos work together for environmental justice in Michigan The area that includes south Dearborn and southwest Detroit is densely populated, ethnically diverse, and highly industrialized -- as such, it is a revealing test case for the environmental-justice movement. For at least five years now, particulate pollution in the area's air has exceeded federal standards by anywhere from 15 to 33 percent, to the point that some public officials have suggested residents move from their homes. But residents, many of them first- and second-generation Latino and Arab immigrants for whom home ownership is part of the American dream, resist …

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Lockyer and Load

California says it will sue feds over Sierra Nevada forest plan If the Bush administration's plan to increase logging in the Sierra Nevada national forest is approved, California will sue to block it, said state Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D). Last Thursday, the head of the U.S. Forest Service approved the plan; U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey now has 15 days to review it before it becomes final. Though the plan is billed as a way to reduce wildfires, it is widely viewed by enviros as a giveaway to the timber industry. In a scathing statement, Lockyer blasted the Bush …

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The last thing enviros need now is a bout of radicalism

Enviros made unprecedented efforts to sway the 2004 election with legitimate tools: advertising, fundraising, rallying, knocking on doors. It didn't work. Apparently that fact is not sitting well. The top response in a poll asking Grist readers where green-minded folks should direct their energy in the next four years was "armed resistance" -- by a 10-point margin. You might say armed resistance received a mandate. Enough is enough, you proclaimed. Time to shake off milquetoast pretensions of mainstream acceptance, pick up some tree spikes and Molotov cocktails, and fuck shit up. A Monkey Wrench Gang for the 21st century! But …

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Stick a Pork in It

GOP senators pack anti-environmental pork into huge spending bill Powerful Republicans in Congress fought valiantly against the "do nothing" label yesterday by trying to do an awful lot for their industry cronies. A number of senators endeavored to attach various anti-environmental provisions to a must-pass government-funding bill, including measures that would (take a deep breath) strip wilderness status from Georgia's Cumberland Island, ease grazing permit rules, exempt big dairy and livestock operations from having to report on toxic emissions, give the Army Corps of Engineers billions for environmentally (and fiscally) questionable water projects, and clear the way for commercial fish …

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On Your Mark, Get Set, Kyoto!

Kyoto gets a kick-off date After nearly seven years of doubt and often rancorous debate, the Kyoto Protocol has an official start date: Feb. 16, 2005, at which point the treaty will become binding. The 90-day countdown period begins tomorrow, thanks to the handover of official documents from Russia to the U.N. at a ceremony in Nairobi, declaring its ratification. Only four industrialized countries now remain outside the treaty: the U.S., Australia, and global powerhouses Liechtenstein and Monaco. The U.S. bailed on the treaty shortly after George W. Bush came to office in 2001, claiming it represented too great a …

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Shuffling is afoot in Bush administration’s environment-related slots

There's so much talk of hirings, firings, retirings, and resignations at environment-related agencies in the Bush administration that it feels almost as though a whole new regime were coming in, when in fact we're likely to get four more years of the same policy aims. Ann Veneman (left) and Spencer Abraham. Photo: USDA. Departing at the cabinet level are Ann Veneman and Spencer Abraham, secretaries of the Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy, respectively, both of whom threw in the towel this past week in the shadow of Colin Powell's resignation from the State Department. Their exits don't come …

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I’ll Have a Side of Hash Browns

U.S. joins 13 other nations in plan to reduce methane emissions Fourteen nations agreed yesterday to a non-binding agreement to curtail methane emissions by trapping the gas and using it as a relatively clean-burning fuel before it's released into the atmosphere. Methane is the second most common heat-trapping greenhouse gas -- albeit a distant second to carbon dioxide, as methane accounts for just 16 percent of such gases -- mostly generated by landfills, but also by coal mines and oil and gas operations. The U.S. pledged to invest up to $53 million over the next five years in companies that …

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