Politics

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Major mining reform proposed

This editorial in Friday's NYT highlights some major new reforms being proposed that could finally begin to make U.S. mining policy more rational and in line with environmental goals. It is the first truly excellent piece of environmental legislation that this Congress has considered passing. While sponsored by a key Democratic senator, it may actually suffer defeat because of a Democrat, Harry Reid, majority leader, whose home state of Nevada is closely tied to the mining industry. This is one of those times when a call to your own senators and Mr. Reid himself (202-224-3542) would be worth the effort. Opportunities like this don't come around too often; in fact, this archaic law has been wreaking havoc since 1872.

The twilight of Inhofe

One last rant from the Senate’s loopy streetcorner anti-prophet

Sen. James Inhofe has become something of an epic figure, worthy of contemplation by historians, playwrights, or perhaps psychoanalysts. The zeitgeist, which once seemed to rise up around him like a thundercloud, has now moved …

Pretty much business as usual

The Senate Ag Committee’s Farm Bill

No jaded observer will be surprised: The Senate Agriculture Committee yesterday released its version of the 2007 Farm Bill, leaving the subsidy mechanisms in the 2002 bill pretty well intact. I’m still trying to chase …

BP settles three federal investigations

Oil giant BP settled three federal investigations yesterday. Drumroll please … In regards to the 2005 Texas refinery explosion that killed 15 workers, BP will admit it is Beyond Guilty to felony charges of violating …

Can't we all just get along?

Gore, partisanship, and climate change

A Gore conservatives could love? Photo: Eric Neitzel/WireImage. One of the stranger things I sometimes read about Al Gore is that because he is so partisan, because he turns off a certain bloc of the …

Everything old is new again

U.S. blocks consensus at international global warming conference … 17 years ago

Does it seem to you like nothing ever changes in the world? Well, you're right, and now I have hard evidence. I was searching through the archive of Bob Park's What's New newsletter when I ran across this snippet, right above an update about the miracle of cold fusion: At the World Climate Conference in Geneva this week, the United States blocked consensus on specific goals for reduction of carbon dioxide emission. As What's New predicted a month ago, the US sided with such backward nations as China and the Soviet Union, and oil producers like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Our traditional allies, Western European nations, Canada Japan, New Zealand and Australia, said they could cut emissions through energy efficiency measures at no net cost. A German study even concludes they can make money -- selling energy-saving technologies to backward countries like the US. John Knauss, the head of NOAA who led the US delegation, contended the revised Clean Air Act would lead to significant CO2 reductions, but a recent estimate from EPA put the reduction at only about 2%. The date of the newsletter: November 9, 1990. Seems like it could have been yesterday. Or tomorrow. P.S. You should subscribe to Bob's newsletter. It's required reading for those who are interested in the politics of science.

How much does Dick Cheney care about the Calif. wildfire victims?

This much.

Notable quotable

“I can promise you that as president I will have him involved in our administration in a very senior capacity.” – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, on Nobel Peace Laureate Al Gore

Notable quotable, non-environmental edition

“It depends on who does it.” – Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, on whether waterboarding is torture

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