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The best defense is a good offense

Got any ideas for a better Toxic Release Inventory system?

As the letter below indicates, OMB Watch has spent a lot of time on defense since the Supreme Court installed "W" (they use W so he can spell it properly) in 2000. The group fights for government openness and accountability and supports the nonprofit sector. One of their campaigns has been to preserve the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), one of the most useful things ever to emerge from the era of unashamed environmentalism. Just knowing that the TRI was out there led corporations to huge reductions in toxic releases. Naturally, gutting TRI was high on the Bush junta's agenda. But …

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Can we tax for transit?

New transportation proposals to ease energy dependence

This is one of those weeks when it feels like things are changing fast. Here are two stories that caught my attention: A panel organized by Congress -- the melodically-named National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission -- just called for higher federal gas taxes. In fact, they recommend a 40-cent-per-gallon hike. It sounds like the tax would go mainly to repair and maintain current road infrastructure rather than road expansion. The panel also recommended a bevy of other fees, including tolling, congestion pricing, weight fees, and so on. And they recommended big investments in transit and other alternatives …


Coal is the enemy of the human race: Edwards in the debate edition

Edwards puts the coal issue into the Dem debate

Below the fold, I've put the entire portion of the transcript from last night's Dem debate that deals with climate and energy. It is to the candidates' credit that they took a narrow, stupid question about Yucca Mountain and managed to expand it into a discussion of energy. JMG scolded me for not giving kudos to John Edwards for bringing up the fact that coal is the enemy of the human race. And rightly so: he deserves kudos. This is what he said: I believe we need a moratorium on the building of any more coal-fired power plants unless and …


Leading Dem candidates talk nuclear power at Nevada debate

The three leading Democratic presidential candidates came together in Nevada last night for yet another debate. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama all wooed Nevada voters by voicing opposition to the Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste repository, with Edwards taking his opposition a step further and coming out against all new nuclear construction. The highest drama came before the debate: candidate Dennis Kucinich had been invited to participate, but the invitation was withdrawn after his poor showing in New Hampshire and Iowa. Kucinich sued, a judge found in his favor, and the case was appealed to the state Supreme Court -- …


Spectacularly ignorant claim of the day

Nukes don’t replace oil

Over at the New Republic's blog, Adam Blinick writes: As it stands, nuclear power is the only environmentally friendly, economic, and efficient source of energy that can help the U.S. wean itself off foreign oil. For the record: Oil is primarily a transportation fuel. Nuclear power, in contrast, is a source of electricity. Ergo, nuclear power will do absolutely nothing to "help the U.S. wean itself off foreign oil" (unless we miraculously electrify our entire transportation and freight system in the next 20 years). In fact, nothing could help the U.S. wean itself off "foreign" oil. Oil is a fungible …


Soliciting the House of Saud

Bush and big U.S. banks beg for help from the oil barons

Bush has been doing some fast talking in the court of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, imploring His Majesty to boost oil production to so that gas prices for U.S. consumers can come down in time for the fall election. As part of his charm offensive, Bush has promised to bolster the dictatorship's arsenal with "900 sophisticated satellite-guided missiles." He also rattled his tattered saber against Iran, Saudi Arabia's archenemy. While Bush and the King talk bombs, oil, and war amid the bling of the royal family's "lush horse farm," bankers over on Wall Street are squirming to get their paws …


Of course we recycle!

Eco-conscious White House may have destroyed evidence

Who says the White House ain't green? It's been busily recycling backup tapes of old emails, "consistent with industry best practices," and may have destroyed evidence related to the CIA leak in the process. And who knows what else. Gooooo recycling! Yeah!

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White House talks up its Hawaii climate-change meeting

The White House has released a statement regarding its very own climate-change meeting for the world's biggest economies, to be held Jan. 30-31 in Hawaii. "The two-day meeting will further the shared objectives of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, increasing energy security and efficiency, and sustaining economic growth, and will help to advance the negotiations under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change," the White House Council on Environmental Quality announced, fooling no one. Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and the United Nations are invited to send …


Green and not heard

What is the Green Party up to, exactly?

The Green Party assembled in the counterintuitive location of San Francisco recently for its presidential debate, wherein ex-Dem Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was joined by this cast of luminaries: The other three candidates included Jared Ball, a hip-hop scholar and assistant professor of communications at Morgan State University in Baltimore; Kat Swift, a 34-year-old dread-locked activist from San Antonio who said she will "be just old enough to be president by the time of the next election"; and actor and filmmaker Jesse Johnson from West Virginia. The debate was marked by vigorous agreement among all parties, along with hosannas from the …

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Countdown to the 2008 Farm Bill: Part IV

The Conservation Security Program

This is the fourth in a series of five farm bill fact sheets from the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. For more information about the status of other sustainable agriculture programs in the Senate and House versions of the bill, please see this 2008 Farm Bill legislative tracking chart (PDF). The 2008 Farm Bill conference committee negotiations are just getting underway at the staff level -- please contact members of the Agriculture Committee and weigh in! In addition to food and fiber, farmers and ranchers are in a unique position to help provide healthy soils, clean air and water, habitat for native …

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