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Gore Calls Bush a "Moral Coward" in Speech on Environment The Bush administration is "wholly owned by the coal, oil, utility, and mining companies," said former Vice President Al Gore in a fiery address to a packed theater in New York City on Thursday. The speech -- fourth in a series cosponsored by activist group MoveOn.org and Democratic group Environment 2004 -- took the administration to task for its disregard for global warming, destructive rollbacks of air and water protections, and secret consultations with industry in formulating policy. Prompting one of several standing ovations, Gore claimed, "While President Bush likes …

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Pesticidal

EPA Sued Over Consultations With Pesticide Industry Group Fourteen leading chemical companies have formed a task force that is meeting in secret with the U.S. EPA, attempting to weaken endangered species rules relating to pesticide use -- so charges a lawsuit filed against the EPA on Thursday by a coalition of Seattle-based environmental groups. The lawsuit claims the meetings violate a federal law prohibiting government agencies from consulting with advisory panels composed exclusively of representatives from a single industry, and prohibiting secret meetings with advisory panels of any kind. The suit is part of a larger attempt by environmental groups …

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Green Quixote

Humboldt-Based Candidate New Front-Runner for Green Party Nomination Meanwhile, far from the madding crowds in Iowa, Green Party activists are fishing about for a standard-bearer of their own. Ralph Nader said no thanks; he's planning to lose the 2004 presidential race as an Independent. But a potential front-runner has emerged in the person of David Cobb, a longtime Green activist. While Cobb is from Texas and was instrumental in establishing the Green Party in the state, he is currently based in -- where else? -- Northern California's notoriously leftish Humboldt County. The final verdict on a Green presidential candidate will …

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Houston, We Have a Solution

Supporters Claim $300 Billion Energy Plan Would Create 3.3 Million Jobs A coalition called the Apollo Alliance released a report on Wednesday proposing and outlining a 10-year, $300 billion investment in alternative energy sources, which it claimed would create 3.3 million jobs and more than pay for itself through energy savings and economic stimulation. The 10-point plan -- which contains prescriptions for everything from more efficient factories to modernized electrical plants to hybrid cars -- contrasts sharply with the Bush administration's proposed energy plan, which would heavily subsidize the oil, gas, and nuclear industries. The report prompted criticism from economists …

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Babbitt, Hawken, and other enviros throw their weight behind Dean

We've spent much of our lives working for environmental change -- for a response to global warming, for the preservation of biodiversity, for wild places, for family farms. But this winter, we're working for Howard Dean for president -- backing him in the confident hope that his victory will mean that the deep environmental principles of the American people will finally prevail over the narrow special interests that for too long have dominated our country. Deaning America. Photo: John Pettitt, DeanForAmerica.com. It's not that we're against the other contenders for the Democratic nomination. Several of them have fine environmental records, …

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Whitman highlights Republican rift on environment

Whitman has her say. On Monday, former U.S. EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman published an uncharacteristically opinionated commentary in the New York Times lamenting the Bush administration's disregard for moderate Republican viewpoints. Though gently worded, the op-ed stands as the closest thing Whitman has made to a confession that she abandoned her post over an ideological clash with her superiors -- not because of homesickness, as she claimed in her resignation letter. More important, Whitman identified the fault line of radicalism that has begun to rupture the GOP -- a growing chasm dividing moderate and right-wing Republicans over a broad …

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They’re Going to Pump You Up

Supreme Court to Review Two Important Environmental Cases In what court-watchers are calling an unusually in-depth review of environmental issues, the Supreme Court is set to hear two cases today with potentially nationwide implications for clean air and water regulations. The first is an appeal by oil companies and diesel manufacturers (supported by the Bush administration) who are challenging a Los Angeles-area requirement that diesel-fueled buses, trash trucks, and airport shuttles be replaced with cleaner-burning models. The second is a suit brought by the Florida Everglades-based Miccosukee tribe against a water-pumping station that for years has been piping polluted runoff …

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Hasta La Vista, Fishies

Schwarzenegger Cuts Moola for California Marine Reserves Plan In a boon for headline-writers who still haven't exhausted their Terminator puns, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has put an indefinite hold on planning for a more than 1,000-mile-long necklace of no-fishing marine reserves along the California coast -- mandated by a 1999 state law designed to restore the coastal environment and fish populations. His administration claims that the estimated $1.7 million - $2.3 million required to complete planning by the Jan. 1, 2005, deadline simply cannot be found in the beleaguered state budget. To make matters worse, the state Department of …

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Sales Pitched

Forest Service Cancels Timber Sales in Tongass The U.S. Forest Service plans to cancel 20 timber sales in Alaska's Tongass National Forest -- not because it's dedicated to preserving old growth in the vast rainforest, but because the sales were sure to be money-losers for logging companies. Enviros are feeling vindicated by the development; they say it proves that a lack of timber from the Tongass has not been the cause of decline in the region's timber industry. Aurah Landau of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council says the timber sales could have led to damaged salmon streams and expressed hopes …

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An interview with Interior’s Lynn Scarlett, one of the architects of Bush’s “new environmentalism”

The people who make policy don't always make headlines. The Bush administration boasts more than a few strong-minded, behind-the-scenes strategists with almost as much influence as cabinet members. Lynn Scarlett is one of them. As assistant secretary of the Department of Interior's Office of Policy, Management, and Budget, Scarlett helps determine the budgets for all eight DOI bureaus -- from Fish and Wildlife to the Minerals Management Service. Her office performs background analysis on every revised rule and new program that passes through the agency. That makes her the only person in Interior, aside from Secretary Gale Norton and Deputy …

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