Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Politics

Comments

Impaired Judgement

Judge Who Struck Down Roadless Rule May Have Ethics Conflict The federal judge who struck down the Clinton-era roadless rule last month may have violated ethics laws, according to two legal watchdog groups that filed a formal ethics complaint yesterday. The groups say the judge should have recused himself from hearing the case because he potentially stood to profit from its outcome. The roadless rule had blocked oil and gas development as well as logging and road-building on 58 million acres of national forest land. Judge Clarence Brimmer, according to his federal disclosure forms for 2000 and 2001, held stock …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Connaughton in the Act

Bush Environmental Advisor Plays Powerful Behind-the-Scenes Role He might just be the most powerful environmental player you've never heard of. James Connaughton, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, is credited with (or, in some circles, accused of) being the architect of the Bush administration's environmental policy. In large part, his role consists of mediating between competing government agencies and other stakeholders as he tries to press forward with Bush's stated goal of balancing environmental concerns with a desire for fewer regulations, increased energy production, and economic growth. A former corporate environmental lawyer and lobbyist, Connaughton sees himself …

Read more: Politics

Comments

That’s Terror-bull

Rules Aimed at Curbing Funding for Terrorists Could Hurt Nonprofits Small environmental groups and other nonprofits around the globe could see important funding sources dry up as the U.S. government tries to stop the diversion of charitable funds to terrorist groups. The Treasury Department, which says crooked Islamic charities are major financiers of global terrorism, has issued voluntary guidelines on international giving designed to help ensure that money doesn't end up in the wrong hands. But those guidelines are so sweeping that they could have harsh impacts on groups that are not even remotely connected to terrorism. Some small nonprofits …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Howard’s Beginning

Howard Dean Calls for Renewables, Fuel Efficiency, Global Cooperation Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean delivered the first major environmental speech of his campaign in San Francisco yesterday, calling for increased use of renewable resources, better fuel efficiency, and the elevation of the U.S. EPA to a cabinet-level agency. Specifically, Dean said that as president, he would mandate that 20 percent of the nation's electricity come from renewable power by 2020, and require the auto industry to improve fuel efficiency for all vehicles to 40 miles per gallon by 2015. In addition, he pledged that he would provide more money for …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Their Own Private Park Service

Former Interior Secretaries Excoriate Plan to Privatize Park Service "Radical," "reckless," "hellbent" -- those were some of the words Bruce Babbitt and Stewart Udall used to describe the Bush administration's plan to privatize much of the National Park Service. Prior to this week, the two former secretaries of the Interior Department -- both of them Arizona Democrats -- chose to bite their tongues rather than criticize the White House, but the privatization plan was, they said, the last straw. Under the plan, 70 percent of full-time park service jobs, including rangers, scientists, and museum curators, could be replaced by private-sector …

Comments

He Issa Dud

Environmentalists unleashed a barrage of criticism yesterday against Rep. Darrell Issa (R), who bankrolled much of the campaign to recall California Gov. Gray Davis (D) and is now running for the gubernatorial spot himself. "His voting record in Congress is absolutely abysmal," said Rico Mastrodonato, executive director of the California League of Conservation Voters. Mastrodonato's group, along with the Sierra Club and Clean Water Action, lambasted Issa for voting against safe drinking water standards, air-quality protections, and stricter fuel economy standards for SUVs, among other things. Issa's campaign defends his record. "Darrell Issa is pro-environment 100 percent," said Jonathan Wilcox, …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Comments

It’s Not a Gas, Gas, Gas

In a rare disagreement with his oil and gas buddies, President Bush is resisting pressure to institute a tax break that would pave the way for a 3,600-mile pipeline to carry natural gas from Alaska to the lower 48 states. The administration supports construction of a "commercially viable" pipeline, according to a position paper sent to Congress by the White House budget office, but believes "market forces should select the route and timing of the project." Many senators on both sides of the aisle disagree, and as early as this week the Senate could approve tax breaks worth an estimated …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Brown Study

The Bush administration will announce today the details of its 10-year plan to study climate change and determine whether human activity or natural occurrences are causing the Earth's atmosphere to heat up. The Climate Change Science Program will compile expertise from 13 federal agencies that collectively spend $4.5 billion on climate-change related programs; it will also redirect $103 million for satellite technologies to gather global climate data. The plan is being criticized harshly by environmentalists, who say the study will waste time and money by rehashing questions that have already been answered by the scientific community. "Most climate scientists around …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Parks Stuck in Neutral

The Bush administration defended itself yesterday against charges of neglecting the national park system, saying it has spent billions to maintain and repair parks around the country. According to U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton, $2.9 billion has been spent on a maintenance and repair backlog and 900 related projects have been completed; in addition, she said, the department is conducting an inventory of the needs of 7,500 facilities at the nation's 388 parks. Those and other indicators demonstrate "the extent to which we are doing an excellent job in taking care of the parks," her report to the president claimed. …

Read more: Politics