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Jim Jeffords gets riled up about the environment in a Grist interview

Jim Jeffords. Photo: U.S. Senate. If an environmental action-hero figure is ever made of Jim Jeffords -- and if the Independent Vermont senator is willing to be immortalized not only in plastic but also in drag -- it will have to be called "Cassandra." Like Cassandra, Jeffords has a gift for prophecy. Only four months into President Bush's term, he saw the signs of unfolding environmental disaster and jumped ship from the GOP, briefly tipping the scales in a narrowly divided Senate away from a Republican majority. And, like Cassandra, it has been his fate to have his environmental predictions …

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Superfund could be weakened by recommendations from EPA subcommittee

Arsenic in water, mercury emissions, new-source review, Dick Cheney's energy task force -- these are the issues that have elicited the loudest howls of protest about the Bush administration's environmental record during the past three years. By comparison, the grumbling over Superfund has been remarkably muted. Mountains of toxic waste dot the horizon around Tar Creek. Photo: U.S. EPA. But lately the grumble has risen to a growl. In mid-April, Time ran a feature by Margot Roosevelt entitled "The Tragedy of Tar Creek," which exposed what it called "eco-assault on an epic scale." The article looked at a neglected Superfund …

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Climate change too slow for Hollywood, too fast for the rest of us

It's always been hard to get people to take global warming seriously because it happens too slowly. Not slowly in geological terms -- by century's end, according to the consensus scientific prediction, we'll have made the planet warmer than it's been in tens of millions of years. But slowly in NBC Nightly News terms. From day to day, it's hard to discern the catastrophe, so we don't get around to really worrying. Something else -- the battle for Fallujah, the presidential election, the spread of SARS, the Jacksonian mammary -- is always more immediate, and evolution seems to have engineered …

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Schwarzenegger’s “Green Hummer” plan sparks cultish following

Does this look green to you? The Hummer has come to be associated with a number of things -- steroid-addled egomaniacs, over-compensating suburban dads, the highway to global-warming hell, even Monica Lewinsky's antics in the Oval Office ... But eco-friendly driving isn't one of them. Unless, of course, you travel in the "Green Hummer" underground, quietly developing in California thanks to the former steroid-addled egomaniac himself, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). The Governator claims to have traded in his Hollywood-powered ego for an eco-empowered worldview. Early in his gubernatorial campaign last year, Schwarzenegger presented a convincing motive for cleaning up California's …

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Christian leaders challenge Bush’s environmental policy

Almighty God, your word of creation caused the water to be filled with many kinds of living beings and the air to be filled with birds ... Thank you for seeds and soil, green stem and air. For fruit on the vine, then falling fruit rotting on the moist ground, then new seed again ... We pray for your wisdom for all who live on this earth that we may wisely manage and not destroy what you have made for us. Goin' to the chapel. Photo: Cumberland Presbyterian Church. So spake a reverend at Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tenn., …

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Marianne Horinko, high-ranking EPA official, steps down

The language is increasingly familiar: "I'm leaving at this time in order to spend more quality time with my family. ... I realize that I need to devote more time and energy to being [a] wife and mom." Marianne Horinko. Photo: U.S. EPA. Yep, another beleaguered Bush appointee at the U.S. EPA bites the dust. Christine Todd Whitman flew the coop last spring, and yesterday one of her right-hand women -- Marianne Lamont Horinko, the assistant EPA administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response -- announced that she will follow suit on June 1. Horinko served as …

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Demetrio do Amaral de Carvalho champions East Timor’s environment

De Carvalho. Photo: Goldman Environmental Prize. East Timor is the world's newest country. Once a Portuguese colony, the tiny Southeast Asian nation covers half of a 300-mile-long coral island. When Portugal withdrew from the island in the mid-1970s, East Timor became a disputed territory, and for decades it was devastated by civil war and Indonesian military occupation. When the East Timorese people voted for independence in 1999, Indonesian-backed militias looted and burned throughout the island, killing residents and forcing an estimated 500,000 people from their homes. In late 1999, Portugal and Indonesia both agreed to the United Nations' assumption of …

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Study finds mandatory caps work better than voluntary programs to limit pollution

Smokestacking the deck? Photo: USGS. This just in, from the Department of Near-Tautologies: Mandatory emissions caps rein in power-plant pollution more effectively than voluntary programs. That's the conclusion being drawn from a report on the environmental records of the 100 largest electricity companies in the U.S., released last week by an alliance of bottom-liners and tree-huggers, including the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc., New Jersey's largest utility. Some folks might regard that conclusion as a no-brainer, but those folks don't work for the Bush administration -- it's …