Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Politics

Comments

Mike Millikin, publisher of green-car blog, answers questions

Mike Millikin. What work do you do? I am the publisher/writer of Green Car Congress, a site covering technologies, issues, and policies for sustainable mobility. What does your organization do? What, in a perfect world, would constitute "mission accomplished"? My mission is to build a company that offers a portfolio of media products providing detailed technical, practical business and product information focused on sustainable energy and transportation markets to professionals and consumers. I want to provide people the information and context they need to make the right -- or at least informed -- decisions: personal, business, and political. What do …

Comments

Johnson Scores

Senate confirms Johnson to head EPA Scientist and career agency veteran Stephen Johnson is the new head of the U.S. EPA. After a confirmation process that was oddly turbulent given the mild-mannered bureaucrat's generally warm reception on both sides of the aisle, the Senate voted 61-37 just after midnight last night to approve a cloture motion, which put an end to the procedural roadblock in Johnson's way, and thereafter quickly confirmed him. The roadblock in question was a hold put on the confirmation by appropriately named Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). Carper's beef was not with Johnson but with the Bush …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Strongarm of the Law

Supreme Court rules that pesticide makers are liable for damages The U.S. Supreme Court has acted to restore a measure of sanity to the world of pesticides and weed-killers. In the 1990s, lawyers for big chemical companies pushed a novel interpretation of the 1972 federal law governing pesticides: By submitting pesticides for approval by the U.S. EPA, they said, companies thereby gained immunity from any future lawsuits over damage caused by the chemicals. Several lower courts fell for it, and in 2001, the Bush administration formally adopted the pro-industry position. But in a ruling yesterday on a case involving peanut …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Louisiana environmental advocate forced out of job by state attorney general

Stephen C. KowalWillie Fontenot (center) surrounded by ExxonMobil security guards. After scoping out an ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge last month, Willie Fontenot, a community liaison officer for the Louisiana attorney general's office for 27 years, found himself faced with the option of forced retirement or getting the boot. A longtime environmental-justice advocate, Fontenot had been accompanying a group of master's students from Antioch New England Graduate School's environmental-studies program on a tour of the neighborhood surrounding the facility, which in 1989 was the site of a massive explosion when a 500,000-gallon fuel-storage tank ruptured. He was showing the students …

Comments

Moot Causes

Bush pushes refineries and nuke plants as solution to high energy prices Many analysts say high energy prices are the result of inefficient use of non-renewable resources. President Bush does not employ any of those analysts. In a speech today, he will propose to address the "root causes" of high energy prices by, um, increasing the inefficient use of non-renewable resources. His five proposals will likely end up in the energy bill by the time the Senate votes on it. They are: encourage the construction of oil refineries on closed military bases; encourage the construction of nuclear power plants by …

Comments

Everything coal is new again

Congress seeks tax money to make defunct "clean coal" plant dirty again For aficionados of government pork, the energy bill that recently passed the House is the gift that keeps on giving. The latest gem uncovered is a provision that would offer $125 million in loan guarantees to a "clean coal" power plant in Alaska. Now, this pork isn't going to build the plant -- that $117 million ship sailed years ago. No, this new pork is going to convert the "clean coal" plant back into an old-fashioned "dirty coal" plant that, um, works. You see, the experimental facility, originally …

Comments

Allan Thornton, environmental investigator, answers questions

Allan Thornton. What work do you do? I run the Environmental Investigation Agency, a nonprofit environmental group with offices in Washington, D.C., and London. I generally oversee the strategic development of the organization, which includes targeting research, deploying investigative teams to obtain documentary evidence, and exposing environmental crimes; I work in close cooperation with our directors, campaigners, and investigators. What does your organization do? We campaign to protect the natural environment using investigation -- often undercover -- to document and expose environmental crimes around the world. We focus on several areas: illegal logging and the international trade in illegal logs, …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Before Sunset

Language in budget bill could unravel federal environmental protections Buried deep in the 2,000-page budget bill President Bush recently sent to Congress is a three-sentence provision that threatens to eviscerate environmental and other protections. Authored by the White House Office of Management and Budget, the provision would, if passed unamended, subject any and all federal programs to the scrutiny of a "Sunset Commission." The eight-member panel, appointed by the president, would have the power to kill any programs not "producing results." Programs deemed non-productive would "automatically terminate unless the Congress took action to continue them." "This is potentially devastating," warned …

Read more: Politics

Comments

Oh, Right, I Knew We Were Forgetting Something!

Bush climate-change research won't research climate-change effects According to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, the "more research" President Bush is always touting as his response to climate change is overlooking an area some might consider important -- namely, what effects global warming might have on people and the environment (oh, that!). In fact, the GAO report to be released today says that none of the 21 studies of climate change the administration plans to publish by 2007 will include assessments of its possible effects on agriculture, water, energy, or biological diversity (oh, those!). This is in violation of the 1990 …

Comments

Souuuueeeee!

House passes pork-laden energy bill The House of Representatives approved broad energy legislation yesterday by a vote of 249 to 183. The 1,000-plus-page bill contains some $12 billion in tax breaks and subsidies for energy companies, less than 5 percent of which go to clean energy or energy conservation. It contains a provision that would funnel $2 billion to deep-water oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. It would open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. It would allow "downwind" states to delay meeting air-quality standards until "upwind" states have met them. And it would …