Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Politics

Comments

Welcome to the Measure Dome

Oregon voters lash out against land-use planning For more than three decades, Oregon's comprehensive anti-sprawl land-use planning rules have funneled development into urban cores and preserved vast swaths of land covered by farms and forests. Sixty percent of Oregon voters apparently found this state of affairs intolerable. On Nov. 2, despite opposition from current and former governors and state officials from both major parties, labor unions, enviro groups, farm bureaus, and utilities, they approved Measure 37 by a 20 percent margin. The measure takes Oregon further than any other state in protecting individual property rights, requiring full compensation for any …

Read more: Cities, Politics

Comments

Kvetch Hetchy

Schwarzenegger admin will consider undamming Hetch Hetchy To the surprise of, well, just about everybody, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) resources secretary announced yesterday that he will pull together a thorough assessment of a project once considered entirely fanciful: tearing down O'Shaughnessy Dam and restoring Yosemite National Park's Hetch Hetchy Valley. As attractive as the idea sounds to nature lovers -- Hetch Hetchy is considered the equal of neighboring Yosemite Valley and could potentially divert some of the tourist hordes currently trampling it -- the project faces an uphill battle. Why? Well, the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir provides drinking water to …

Comments

The urban archipelago

My hometown alternative weekly The Stranger has an unbelievably good article running this week -- it's the first thing I've read post-election that actually felt authentic and hopeful to me. It says that relevant red/blue divide is not a matter of states but a matter of rural vs. urban. Cities vote Democrat. It's time to celebrate that, celebrate cities and the values of diversity, vitality, and imagination that make them run, and turn our attention to making cities ever more aesthetically, practically, and politically attractive.  My eye was particularly drawn to this passage: And, as counterintuitive as it may seem …

Read more: Cities, Politics

Comments

Election serves as whack upside the head for environmental community

Post-election, enviros are thinking about values -- and praying for a better outcome next time. The Bush victory dealt a devastating wallop to the environmental community, but some members say it also delivered a much-needed reality check to a movement struggling to find its soul. Understandably, many environmental leaders who jumped into the election fray insist their crusade to mobilize the green vote could not have been harder fought: Beltway groups raised record funds -- in total more than $12 million -- to help oust Bush, and deployed bigger volunteer armies than ever before to pound the pavement in swing …

Read more: Politics

Comments

We Was Cobbed!

NAFTA panel says U.S. GM corn is invading Mexico A panel of scientists convened by NAFTA at the request of Mexican farmers and officials has concluded that genetically modified corn grown in the U.S., where it is legal, is crossing the border and contaminating crops in Mexico, where it is not, and that the contamination constitutes a threat that needs to be addressed. (It is legal to use GM corn for food in Mexico, but not to grow it.) "How would Americans feel if we started getting living transgenic seeds that had been judged to be safe by the Cuban …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Exx the Foul

ExxonMobil's greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil company, supported President Bush's decision to keep the U.S. from ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. In a wacky coincidence, the company's greenhouse-gas emissions have been increasing, last year rising 2 percent to almost 150 million tons -- more than twice the emissions of the entire country of Norway. Exxon is addressing the problem by ... oh, wait, they're not addressing the problem. While the company claims it is "taking steps" to reduce gases, it has set no actual targets, according to a spokesflack. By comparison, BP, the world's second largest …

Comments

The energy bill is alive — alive! — and that could be bad news for ANWR

A day after winning the presidential election last week, George W. Bush made this now-legendary -- and, to some, menacing -- statement: "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it." Without dwelling on the notion that conservatives are supposed to protect and grow capital, not fritter it away, environmentalists are wondering just where and how President Bush is going to spend his political booty in the natural-resource realm. Leavitt: A man with a plan -- or at least a clear agenda. In much the same way he spent his more limited allowance in …

Comments

Terry on, My Wayward Son

Schwarzenegger promotes environmental advocate to Cabinet secretary California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) will elevate self-described tree hugger Terry Tamminen from his current position as environmental protection secretary to the more powerful position of Cabinet secretary, where he'll serve as a liaison between the governor and department and agency heads. While Tamminen made decisions opposed at various times by the business and environmental communities in his tenure as head of the state EPA, he is respected by both sides, and particularly by the governator himself, who calls him "one of the jewels of my administration." Tamminen, who formerly headed the environmental …

Read more: Politics

Comments

See You Later, Regulator

Bush victory portends big and enduring changes in environmental regs U.S. EPA chief Mike Leavitt is touting last week's election as "a validation of our philosophy and agenda," and his agency and others that oversee environmental matters are expected to move aggressively to relax mandatory regulatory limits in favor of market-based systems and voluntary targets. Expect action on Bush's languishing Clear Skies initiative and energy bill, as well as substantial revisions of the Endangered Species Act and increased energy development on public land. Bush's changes to the regulatory system will outlast his administration, says Georgetown law professor Lisa Heinzerling. "You …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Rhymes with “ditty” too

The radio program "Living On Earth" had some hack from the Wall Street Journal editorial page on, along with Grist contributor Bill McKibben, to discuss what Bush's victory means for the environment.  It's interesting (and like Shalini, what I mean by interesting is "makes me reach for a noose").  You can read the transcript here.

Read more: Politics