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Oh, So Nov. 15 Is After the Election? Who Knew?

Bush Administration Delays Roadless Ruling The Bush administration announced yesterday that it will delay a final decision on whether to repeal the enormously popular Clinton-era Roadless Rule in order to gather more public input -- two more months of public input, as it happens. Some enviros (oh, the cynicism!) noted that the delay would put the final decision off until after the election, and further pointed out that much of the pristine land that could be logged, mined, or otherwise developed if the rule is repealed is in Western swing states. Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey put such crass political speculation …

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Schwarzenegger at an environmental crossroads

Arnold Schwarzenegger's exuberant speech last Tuesday at the Republican National Convention suggested that the Governator may be less the moderate Republican than advertised. Hailed by some during the convention as the Obama of the right, the California governor came across as a devout, rock-ribbed Bush lover. Just days after Schwarzenegger's speech, more evidence emerged to indicate that this compassionate conservative may be borrowing not-so-compassionate tricks from the Bush-Cheney playbook: An Associated Press story last Friday revealed that a sweeping reform proposal for California state government commissioned by Schwarzenegger was "influenced significantly" by industry interests -- in particular, ChevronTexaco, the largest …

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Grist chats with Andre Heinz, environmental activist and stepson of John Kerry

Some may cry nepotism when they see Andre Heinz, the middle son of Teresa Heinz Kerry, take to the podium as one of the leading spokespeople on the environment for John Kerry's presidential campaign, but his ascent is hardly without merit. True, he has deliberately steered clear of a career inside the Beltway, so in some senses he is new to the political scene. But having grown up in Washington, D.C., the son of former senator John Heinz (R-Penn.) and now the stepson of Kerry, he is as conversant on the inner workings of Capitol Hill as he is on …

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Omission Accomplished

Environment Invisible at GOP Convention Attendees at the Republican National Convention, which wrapped up last night, would have been hard-pressed to discern the party's positions on environmental issues. Other than a video touting the Bush administration's efforts to avert wildfires in national forests (by, um, logging), green themes were markedly absent from the gathering. "I have not heard that word -- environment -- emitted from the podium," said Sierra Club President Larry Fahn. Bush-Cheney campaign policy director Tim Adams said the environment "remains an important policy area for us," but many GOP delegates didn't seem to mind silence on the …

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Too Many Cooks Oil the Broth

ChevronTexaco Heavily Influenced California Restructuring California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) recently announced plan to comprehensively reorganize state government brought grumbles from some enviros, who were piqued by the proposed consolidation of various boards and commissions from which many of the state's groundbreaking environmental initiatives have emerged. This latest news isn't going to mollify them. The proposed reorganization contains several provisions that would directly benefit oil and gas behemoth ChevronTexaco by revising the process for permitting and siting refineries and streamlining the activities of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, which oversees many of the company's interests in the …

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24 Hour Party People

Energy Industry Funnels Millions into Unregulated Convention Parties The energy industry is treating Republicans to a gay old time in New York City this week, hosting a plethora of parties for favored politicians and others attending the GOP convention: a ball, a concert, a trap shoot, a honky-tonk salute, even a soiree with scantily clad acrobats swinging from the rafters. The American Gas Association, the Edison Electric Institute, the National Mining Association, and the Nuclear Energy Institute are among the most generous sponsors. Martin E. Edwards of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America says there's no lobbying at these …

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Bush admin move may keep Kerry and other candidates from stumping on federal property

John Kerry at the Grand Canyon. Photo: Kerry-Edwards 2004, Inc. from Sharon Farmer. The Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, NASA headquarters, and the Washington Monument are among the many federal properties that may be off-limits to presidential and congressional candidates for campaign photo ops this election season, thanks to a guidance recently released by the Bush administration's U.S. Office of Special Counsel. The OSC is an independent federal agency that investigates and prosecutes issues ranging from whistleblower complaints to concerns that federal employees are participating in campaign activities prohibited by the Hatch Act, which defines election-related political no-no's for people …

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Malign Neglect

Republican Leaders at Odds Over Nuclear Worker Compensation Program The Bush administration is clashing with Republicans in Congress over a compensation program for workers at nuclear facilities sickened by exposure to radiation, asbestos, and other toxic substances. As of July, the Energy Department had paid out only $700,000 of the $95 million it has received since the program was created, to only 31 of the roughly 25,000 claims filed. The sick workers are, naturally, upset. Senate Republicans have ushered through an amendment to a defense bill that would overhaul the program, putting responsibility for compensation directly with the Labor Department …

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Sultans of Swing

Environmental Issues May Matter After All, Via Swing States Conventional wisdom has it that environmental issues are low priorities for most voters, and thus for most presidential campaigns. However, this year's squeaker of a presidential election will be decided by voters in a small handful of swing states -- and in many of those states, top local issues are environmental. In Nevada, Kerry trumpets his opposition to the Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste repository. In Oregon, Bush touts his support for Columbia River dredging. In Michigan, Bush bashes Kerry for supporting higher fuel-economy standards. In New Mexico, Kerry blasts Bush for opening …

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By Any Greens Necessary

Enviro Justice Center Works to Link Green and Civil-Rights Movements Environmental degradation often falls hardest on poor and minority communities, but these communities can have difficulty organizing to fight for environmental justice, and they've received too little help from a mainstream environmental movement perceived as a white, middle- and upper-class affair. Sociology professor Robert Bullard started the Environmental Justice Resource Center in Atlanta to connect the groups. It started with a battle against MARTA, Atlanta's public transit agency, to replace the polluting diesel buses serving poor and black communities with cleaner models. In the decade since, the center has served …

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