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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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GOP has set its sights on revamping the Endangered Species Act

The newly empowered Republican majority on Capitol Hill will grease the skids for plenty of legislation that's sure to gall environmentalists and delight developers, but the most galling and delighting of all could be sweeping changes to the 30-year-old Endangered Species Act. A Florida panther wonders whether ESA is really past its prime. Photo: U.S. FWS. Business leaders, top Bush officials, and many Republicans in Congress have been arguing for the past four years, if not longer, that this cornerstone environmental law is outdated and ineffective, in particular its critical-habitat provision, which constrains development in certain biologically sensitive areas deemed …

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The Barbarian Invasions

Despite vocal opposition, SUVs invade Europe European politicians spare no rhetorical flourish in demonstrating their contempt for SUVs and their owners. "I don't want to be like Freud, but SUVs are a projection, a compensating thing," said Rome's transportation commissioner, Mario Di Carlo. Paris Deputy Mayor Denis Baupin called the SUV "a caricature of a car.'' On the street, activists with the British group Alliance Against Urban 4x4's put fake parking tickets on SUVs. One alliance member, Sian Berry, said, "People who see Hummers driving around think, 'Oh, disgusting Americans.'" Despite elite and public opposition, however, SUV sales on the …

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Shark Tale

U.S. proposes international rules to curb shark killing Those Americans who despair in thinking their country a laggard on so many international environmental issues can take heart -- at least the U.S. is firmly against shark finning. Yesterday, at a conservation meeting being hosted in New Orleans, the U.S. government proposed sweeping international measures to curtail the killing of sharks in the Atlantic Ocean, including a complete ban on the practice of chopping off sharks' fins and tossing the rest of the creature back into the sea. Shark fins are highly sought-after delicacies in some Asian countries, where they're the …

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Hot Oil Treatment

China's wide-ranging quest for oil may bring about clashes with U.S. China is desperate for oil to fuel its booming economy, and it's got plenty of cash to pay for it and few of the humanitarian scruples that still (occasionally) restrain the U.S. Some analysts worry that these circumstances will lead to conflict between the two nations. Most alarmingly, China recently cut a $70 billion deal with Iran that many observers believe involved a tacit pledge of support for the Islamic republic's budding nuclear program, which the U.S. has harshly denounced. China is also pouring money into Sudan, a country …