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The Idiotarod

Republicans are after the Arctic Refuge again Undeterred by consistent public opposition and bipartisan objections, a number of Republicans are once again attempting to get oil drillers into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Senate Budget Committee Chair Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) slipped ANWR into a budget resolution yesterday, which unlike standard legislation cannot be defeated by a filibuster. Overcoming a filibuster requires 60 votes, but the budget resolution requires only a 51-vote majority. Senate Energy Committee Chair Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) called this the "old-fashioned way," but Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) countered that it is in fact a "backdoor way," a perversion …

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Better Off Deadlocked

Senate committee deadlock means Clear Skies unlikely to pass this year After a deadlocked 9-9 vote in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the Bush administration's long-sought Clear Skies legislation appears unlikely to pass -- at least this year. The fourth time was not the charm for committee chair James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who had scheduled and then delayed the vote three times previously as he twisted arms in search of a deal. Stung by the defeat, Inhofe, to the surprise of approximately no one, blamed the failure on "environmental extremists" and "far-left political fundraising." The actual source of the …

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EPA plan would spew under-treated sewage into U.S. waterways

Like clean water? Then you'll love Rep. Bart Stupak. Swimming in sewage just isn't this fun. For the last year, Stupak has been fighting a U.S. EPA proposal that would allow inadequately treated sewage to be "blended" with fully treated waste during rain and snow events. The messy mix would then be released into the nation's rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. If blending is permitted, Stupak warns, people will get sick, beaches will close, and tourism and fishing will suffer. Not only that, taxpayers will bear the cost of cleanup down the road. "It doesn't make sense," the Michigan Democrat …

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We’ll Drink to That

Americans prefer their water clean, poll shows "An overwhelming majority" -- some 86 percent -- of Americans believe clean, safe water is a national issue worthy of government spending, a new poll concludes. The two polling firms (one from each side of the partisan divide) conducting the opinion survey asked 900 adults a variety of questions related to hypothetical federal legislation creating a clean-water trust fund. The response favored the fund, with more than eight in 10 surveyed supporting the idea and some 71 percent picking clean-water programs over road construction and aviation projects as the most deserving of a …

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Bush EPA nominee Steve Johnson garners praise and sympathy

Stephen Johnson. Photo: Energy Star. The next chief of the Bush EPA wasn't expected to have more than a dewdrop's chance in hell of widespread acceptance in the disgruntled environmental community. So it came as a surprise on Friday when the president tapped respected scientist and 24-year EPA veteran Stephen Johnson to captain the agency, and an array of green leaders issued favorable -- even rapturous -- reviews. "A spectacularly good appointment," said Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group. "We welcome the nomination," said Deb Callahan of the League of Conservation Voters. "[A] good sign," said Phil Clapp of …

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Everybody’s a Critic

New voices join chorus pushing Bush to act on climate change At this point it's getting hard to keep track, but a couple more notable folks have joined the ranks of those calling on the Bush administration, either implicitly or explicitly, to act on global warming. Perhaps most unexpected is James Baker, former secretary of state and Bush family consigliere, who helped President Bush triumph in Florida in 2000. "It may surprise you a little bit, but maybe it's because I'm a hunter and a fisherman, but I think we need to pay a little more attention to what we …

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Hawks speak out for U.S.-grown clean energy

"It's not a hardship to drive it. It's fun." -- George Shultz, former Secretary of State, referring to his Toyota Prius, a hybrid car that uses much less gasoline than a conventional vehicle, at the second annual summit of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, February 11. I found this nugget in my inbox, tucked into the recent issue of @stanford, "a monthly newsletter of campus news and research," in the "Heard on Campus" segment (I am an alum of the law school). How great to hear another respected Republican foreign policy leader touting the benefits of cleaner and …

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Hazy Delays of Winter

Clear Skies bill still bottled up in Senate committee Help -- Clear Skies has fallen, and it can't get up! President Bush's "Clear Skies" legislation is stuck in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Committee Chair James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has delayed a vote on the bill three times, most recently yesterday, each time realizing that it's still deadlocked at a 9-9 split. The vote has now been rescheduled for March 9; an Inhofe spokesflack said that it has to happen by March 15 or the bill is likely toast for this year. As the bill's prospects look more and …

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Bush Sticks Johnson in the EPA

President Bush announces nominee to head EPA Today President Bush announced his new pick to lead the U.S. EPA: Steve Johnson, who's been the agency's temporary head since Mike Leavitt left six weeks ago to head the Department of Health and Human Services. If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson, a 24-year EPA veteran, will be the first professional scientist to hold the position. The choice of Johnson, a low-key, wonky agency vet whose work has focused on pesticides, may signal a new approach from the White House; Bush's previous EPA administrators, Christie Whitman and Mike Leavitt, were both significant players …

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Enviro-justice activists send a dispatch from a panel with The Reapers

Thursday, 3 Mar 2005 SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. The Asian Pacific Environmental Network was invited to speak on a panel yesterday with "Death of Environmentalism" coauthor Michael Shellenberger, Taj James, executive director of the Movement Strategy Center, and Adam Werbach, past president of the Sierra Club. The goal was to broaden the debate about the future of the environmental movement that was ignited by Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus' recent paper. The room at the World Affairs Council was packed with a couple hundred people, primarily activists, organizers, and funders whose question was, "Now what?" In contrast to the eruption at the …

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