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Footprint on the Gas

Exxon Responsible for 5 Percent of All Historical CO2 Emissions Since its founding as the Standard Oil Trust in 1882, ExxonMobil and its predecessor companies have been responsible for between 4.7 and 5.3 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions. Ever. In the whole world. So claims a report, "Exxon's Climate Footprint," drawn from two studies commissioned by Friends of the Earth International. Exxon's historical emissions amount to about 22 billion tons -- three times the current annual global emissions total. The report also condemns the company for its long history of undermining climate change science and policy, particularly in lobbying …

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Shout, Trout, Let It All Out

Western Hunters and Anglers Oppose Energy Bill A group of outdoor enthusiasts descended on Washington, D.C., Wednesday to lobby against attempts by Republicans to revive the omnibus energy bill, defeated in the Senate last year. They object to provisions in the bill that would drastically increase oil and gas development on prime hunting and fishing land in Western states. Many of the Stetson-sporting hunters and anglers, organized by the nonprofit fish-preservation group Trout Unlimited, are lifelong Republicans. However, many share sentiments about the land expressed by Ryan Busse, a Kalispell, Mont., resident and self-described hard-core conservative: "Anybody who wants to …

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Oily Residue

Judge Imposes $4.5 Billion in Damages in Exxon Valdez Case A federal judge in Alaska on Wednesday imposed $4.5 billion in punitive damages on ExxonMobil Corp. for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in Prince William Sound. The judgment marks the third time the case has been through federal court; on two previous occasions, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals deemed the award excessive and sent it back for review. Exxon expects to appeal yet again. It's been almost 15 years since the tanker, piloted by a relapsed alcoholic who faced only misdemeanor charges, ran aground on a …

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Oversight Out of Mind

Bush Relaxes Safety at Nuke Facilities The Bush administration has a new plan to waive some safety standards at federal nuclear facilities. The administration apparently didn't like being directed by Congress in 2002 to strictly enforce safety standards at the nuke sites -- though, in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, you might have thought such a step would be a no-brainer. In an effort to increase "flexibility" (gotta love that euphemism), the Department of Energy recently proposed to enforce only safety plans written by contractors. Protests were swiftly lodged by members of Congress from both parties, …

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Round and Round They Go

Florida's Top Environmental Regulator Takes Job With Company He Regulated Florida's top environmental official, David Struhs, resigned Wednesday to take a job with International Paper, a company he did controversial favors for while in office. As head of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Struhs received mixed reviews from enviros, with some lauding his tough enforcement of environmental regulations (which may, ironically, have prevented him from being appointed as U.S. EPA administrator) and others pointing to his cozy relationship with industry and involvement in several highly contentious decisions. The most contentious was his support for legislation that delayed final deadlines …

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EPA attempts to defuse MTBE issue in New Hampshire

Folks who paid close attention to the speeches of New Hampshire primary victor John Kerry in recent weeks would have noticed an emphasis on MTBE -- a gasoline additive that makes fuel burn more efficiently and cleanly, but is suspected to be carcinogenic* and widely known to contaminate groundwater. To outsiders, this may have seemed like a strange environmental issue to spotlight -- why not focus on global warming, say, or species extinction? New Hampshire wants its rivers to flow MTBE-free. Photo: U.S. DOT. But MTBE is an issue with considerable political resonance -- not only inside the Beltway, where …

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Next They’ll Get Rid of All the Stop Signs

Bush Admin. to Eliminate Pesticide Regulations It Doesn't Obey The provision of the Endangered Species Act that requires the U.S. EPA to consult with two other federal agencies when licensing new pesticides will be formally abandoned, if the Bush administration has its way. Government officials concede that the provision -- meant to involve the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service in every pesticide review to ensure that endangered species won't be harmed by new chemicals -- has been informally ignored for years. Proposed new regulations would officially let the government off the hook for what …

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Tempest in a Teapot

Government to Bury CO2 in Teapot Dome Oil Field The U.S. Department of Energy is planning to bury some 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide a year underneath the Teapot Dome oil field in central Wyoming, in the largest carbon-sequestration test project ever undertaken. The process, which involves compressing CO2 into liquid form and injecting it into depleted oil reservoirs, is being touted by the Bush administration as one of the most effective ways to combat global warming. One goal of the test is to stimulate growth of the private CO2 sequestration industry; another is to calm worries of environmental …

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A Dam Sham

Bush Officials Stand Atop Dam to Trumpet Salmon Funding Bush administration officials announced a $10 million increase in funding for restoration of endangered Northwest salmon on Monday, drawing election-year attention to recent increases in salmon numbers. Enviros expressed measured support for the rise in funding, but pointed out that higher salmon numbers were mostly attributable to changing ocean conditions. They also pointed out that $10 million is a fraction of the $110 million funding increase the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission says is needed to pay for ongoing restoration projects. They also pointed out that a federal blueprint for Columbia …

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The League’s Extraordinary Gentleman

League of Conservation Voters Endorses Kerry The League of Conservation Voters has officially endorsed John Kerry for president, marking the first time in the organization's history that it has backed a candidate prior to the first primaries. Kerry, four-term Democratic senator from Massachusetts, has the best environmental voting record of the Democratic candidates, with an LCV score of 96 percent (Lieberman, whose supporters are reportedly frustrated with the decision, comes in second at 93 percent). LCV's board of directors has made unseating Bush a priority, and expressed hope that their early endorsement would raise the profile of environmental issues in …

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