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Grand Old Protest

Activists Divided Over Protest Tactics at GOP Convention Many enviros will be among the hundreds of thousands of protesters flooding into New York City at the end of the month to protest the Republican National Convention -- or rather, to protest environmental rollbacks, corporate cronyism, tax cuts for the rich, indifference to poverty, abortion restrictions, the Iraq war, abrogation of civil liberties, racism, and the annoying adhesive strips on new compact discs (they're impossible to fully remove!). Some veteran activists, however, are concerned about the stated intentions of some radical types to engage in property destruction and violence; they worry …

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Bush administration cites “national security” as reason to skirt enviro rules

What are the enviro impacts of a construction project on the U.S.-Mexico border? Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Bush administration has proposed yet another list of environmental sacrifices that it believes America should make for the War on Terror. Last year, President Bush pushed through legislation that exempts military training bases from cornerstone environmental protections mandated by the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act, in the name of "military readiness." Despite howls of protest from the environmental community and government officials alike -- the unprecedented, sweeping wartime request was unaccompanied by any evidence that America's military …

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Bush administration proposal would give BLM more incentive to sell off public lands

Your red rocks, in Utah. Photo: BLM. The old Woody Guthrie ballad "This Land Is Your Land" has been reinterpreted in more ways than one recently. There was the hilarious campaign parody cartoon that exploded virally throughout the Internet last month, in which the "liberal wiener" (John Kerry) and "right-wing nut job" (George W. Bush) duke it out to an adulterated "This Land" soundtrack. Then, this week at the Department of Interior, there was a far subtler reinterpretation of the Guthrie anthem -- a reminder that while there are some 261 million acres of public land in America (not counting …

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Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama’s got green cred

Barack Obama. Photo: David Katz/Obama for Illinois. As if America needs one more reason to fall in love with Barack Obama. Beyond the unabashed idealism, stirring oratory skills, touching life story, and knee-buckling smile that have made this candidate for Illinois' open Senate seat the new beau ideal of progressive politics, it so happens that this guy is a bona fide, card-carrying, bleeding-heart greenie. And it's not as though Muckraker didn't rifle through his environmental record going back more than a decade to try to find something off-kilter -- some skeleton in the closet, some flaw to make him a …

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A bold lawsuit may have utilities reconsidering their fight against regs

A coal-fired power plant. Photo: U.S. Geological Survey. It may have sounded like the understatement of the year when a lawsuit was filed last week against five major U.S. energy companies, alleged to be among the biggest global-warming culprits in the nation, on the legal grounds that they're causing a "public nuisance." In reality it may have been one of the gutsiest legal maneuvers the U.S. has ever seen on climate change -- and some observers say it could have the strange side effect of encouraging energy companies to ask the feds for mandatory emissions caps. Last Wednesday, the chief …

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Environmentalism takes the stage at the Democratic National Convention

Where it's all goin' down. Photo: DNC. Environmentalism is descending on the Democratic National Convention this week in the form of biodegradable balloons and recycled confetti -- and that's just the beginning. All of the electricity powering the festivities is coming from renewable sources or an onsite fuel-cell generator. Local Massachusetts farms are supplying food for a handful of the convention events, and leftovers are being donated or composted. Greenhouse-gas credits will offset the carbon-dioxide emissions generated by convention delegates as they travel to and from Boston, and hybrid gas-electric buses are shuttling people between events. This is the handiwork …

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Brown and Out

Stephen Hendricks reviews Been Brown so Long It Looked Like Green to Me by Jeffrey St. Clair

He's bad, but is he the baddest? Photo: White House. Ask 10 environmentalists and 9 will tell you George W. Bush has been worse for the planet than Bill Clinton -- and they would be wrong. In their error lies much that is ill in the environmental movement (if "movement" it can be called) and shows how long are the odds against righting the wrongs of the industrial economy. But first, how can the man who would drill in the Arctic and the Rocky Mountain Front, who wants arsenic in your O.J. and snowmobiles in Yellowstone, to whom global warming …

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Dems block anti-enviro Bush judicial nominee, and the conservatives are lovin’ it

When Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) fell seven votes short on Tuesday of forcing a confirmation vote on Bush judicial nominee William G. Myers III -- widely considered the most anti-environment judicial candidate Bush has ever put forward -- it might have seemed like a big blow to the GOP. But Frist and his fellow right-wing Republicans got precisely what they were aiming for. True, environmentalists had every right to call it a major win for their side. "We're thrilled!" said Glenn Sugameli, senior legislative counsel for Earthjustice. "Myers became the seventh lifetime Bush judicial nominee to be officially …

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Clash of the Titans

An excerpt from Boiling Point by Ross Gelbspan

Boiling PointBy Ross Gelbspan,Basic Books, 256 pages, July 2004 Journalist Ross Gelbspan's new book, Boiling Point (out in late July from Basic Books), reveals how politicians, big oil and coal, the media, and even activists have fueled the climate crisis -- and how we might still avert disaster. This excerpt traces what Gelbspan describes as a corrupt relationship between the Bush administration and the fossil-fuel industry. Under the administration of George W. Bush, the White House has become the East Coast branch office of ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal, and climate change has become the preeminent case study of the contamination …

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Reports of pending EPA enforcement actions are, shall we say, premature

Is this power plant in trouble? Nah. Photo: USGS. What's this on the wires? The U.S. EPA is gearing up to prosecute a new batch of new-source review (NSR) cases against polluting power plants? Could it be that the Bushies have suddenly taken a keen interest in enforcing a Clean Air Act rule that they have gone to great lengths to weaken? Not really. The story goes like this: Greenwire reporter Darren Samuelsohn recently got ahold of an EPA document containing a list of 22 electric utilities that in the last five years have allegedly run afoul of NSR by …