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West Side Story

West Coast Governors Step Up to Tackle Climate Change Accusing the Bush administration of "foot-dragging" in the fight against climate change, the governors of California, Oregon, and Washington teamed up yesterday to unveil a joint strategy for cutting emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Governors Gray Davis (Calif.), Ted Kulongoski (Ore.), and Gary Locke (Wash.), Democrats all, said they would coordinate efforts to develop renewable energy sources, reduce emissions from ships and trucks, buy fuel-efficient vehicles, develop uniform efficiency standards, and create standardized methods for tracking emissions. "My message today is if Washington, D.C., will not lead, then the West Coast …

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The Environmental Protection Agency just isn’t like it was in the good old (Nixon) days

Mike Leavitt -- how long will he be smiling? Photo: Utah governor's office. There has been considerable adverse comment from the environmental community about President Bush's nomination of Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt (R) to head the U.S. EPA. Most of that criticism has focused on the governor's environmental record in Utah, a record that appears to have both positive and negative elements. That he has been concerned about growth issues is certainly to his credit. I personally believe, however, that while Leavitt's record should receive careful scrutiny, the central issue today is not so much the environmental record of the …

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Last Scoundrels of Refuge

Republicans Push for Oil Drilling in the Arctic Refuge -- Again It's the story that never dies: Republicans are once again plotting to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas drilling, this time by adding a provision to a major energy bill that is now being hammered out in a congressional conference committee. Most Democrats and a number of moderate Republicans in the Senate have consistently opposed oil exploration in the Arctic Refuge, but Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), who are heading up the energy negotiations, hope they can convince …

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A Greener Shade of Gray

Davis Poised to Sign a Series of Pro-Environment Bills California Gov. Gray Davis (D) seems to be experiencing a green awakening as he campaigns aggressively against a recall. He is expected to sign a number of environmental bills in the coming days, despite opposition from major business interests in the state. One controversial, groundbreaking bill would add a recycling fee onto the price of new computers and televisions sold in the state. Davis has also signaled support for bills that would prevent oil spills, crack down on air pollution from agriculture, force old refineries and power plants to upgrade pollution-control …

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You Can Ring Myron Ebell, Ebell, Ebell

White House Tries to Undermine Government Research on Climate Change The Bush White House seems to have teamed up with a conservative think tank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, to undermine the credibility of government scientists doing research on climate change. Myron Ebell, a director of CEI, which has received more than $1 million in funding from ExxonMobil since 1998, last summer sent an email to an official at the president's Council on Environmental Quality that indicates the White House sought his group's assistance in playing down an EPA report that said humans are contributing to the warming of the planet. …

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The real dimensions of $87 billion

Add enough zeros to the end of any number -- say, 87 -- and it quickly becomes an abstraction. I can imagine 87 years (my grandmother's age), or 87 miles (about the distance from my home in Brooklyn to outer Long Island), or $87 (which wouldn't go far out there in the hoity-toity Hamptons). But I'm at a loss to wrap my mind around 87 thousand years (which would take me back to the most recent ice age) or 870 million miles (Brooklyn to Saturn), or $87 billion dollars -- enough, or maybe enough, to fund one year of military …

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Bush pushes his Clear Skies plan — and his electoral prospects — at a notoriously dirty power plan

Bush talks to the masses in Michigan. Photo: White House. When President Bush set out on Monday to defend his recent New Source Review rollback and promote his energy bill and Clear Skies program, it was hard not to notice the peculiar setting he chose. Wearing a hardhat and safety glasses, the commander in chief mingled with a crowd of begoggled workers at a hulking dinosaur of a power plant in Monroe, Mich. Built in 1970, the facility is the second largest coal-fired plant in the United States -- and one of the dirtiest, emitting 91,964 tons of sulfur dioxide, …

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The Ties That Blind

Ties to Polluters Could Compromise Leavitt at EPA, Say Critics Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt (R), President Bush's nominee to head the U.S. EPA, has strong financial ties to polluters, which critics say cast doubt on his ability to do the job fairly and effectively. Nearly 10 percent of the campaign funds Leavitt raised over the last 10 years came from oil refineries, mining firms, landfill operators, and other companies that have unresolved EPA pollution violations. A coalition of Utah environmental groups yesterday released a white paper outlining weaknesses in Leavitt's environmental record in Utah, alleging, among other things, that polluters …

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Rocky Roadless

Bush Administration Refuses to Defend Roadless Rule In what may be a final blow to the Clinton-era roadless policy, the Bush administration refused to appeal a federal court injunction against the rule by the deadline for doing so last Friday. Enviros are hopping mad that the administration didn't defend the policy, which aimed to prevent road-building, logging, and oil and gas development on 58.5 million acres of roadless national forest land. "At every turn this administration has sought cover for its intentions to gut the roadless rule, and now it is hiding behind an adverse district court decision, rather than …

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Block Party

Edwards Will Block Bush's Choice to Head EPA North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (D), a presidential contender, is now the third senator threatening to hold up the nomination of President Bush's choice to head the U.S. EPA, Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt (R). "The nomination will not go forward until this administration commits to giving us the truth about how Clean Air Act rollbacks are going to affect our kids with asthma and seniors with health problems," Edwards said yesterday. A similar parliamentary block was announced last week by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and supported by Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), …

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