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Pombo and mercury

So, last week, the GOP leadership of the House Resources Committee -- in particular, Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) -- released a report (PDF) claiming that mercury has not been linked to deleterious effects on human health, and that most mercury in the U.S. environment comes from natural sources. The science overwhelmingly contradicts Pombo. Amanda touched on this in the latest Muckraker. Today, Chris Mooney delves further into the details, in this column and this follow-up on his blog. To summarize: A substantial portion of the mercury load in the U.S. environment comes from coal-fired power plants, and mercury stunts children's neurological …

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Because it’s there

It's difficult to work up outrage these days, I know. But still. Republicans have long had a >hard on for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It's never made any sense -- the amount of oil we could get is a tiny fraction of what we need, and it's 10 years out in the future. It will do nothing to reduce energy prices or dependence on foreign oil. Now it turns out that even the oil companies themselves don't think it's worth it. A Bush adviser says the major oil companies have a dimmer view of the refuge's prospects …

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Pombo eggs on mercury debate with controversial report

Pombo says: Eat up! House Resources Committee Chair Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) -- longtime bete noire of the environmental community -- cooked up what appears to be some fishy science in a report released last week titled "Mercury in Perspective: Fact and Fiction About the Debate Over Mercury" [PDF]. The report -- written not by scientists but rather by aides to Pombo and another member of his committee, Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.) -- aims to downplay the overwhelming evidence that mercury from coal-burning power plants poses a significant health risk to Americans. Two of the report's claims are particularly stunning, as …

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Bully for Him

Inhofe accused of intimidating Clear Skies naysayers Crossing Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) is a risky prospect these days. A representative of two national pollution-control groups recently spoke out against the Bush administration's embattled Clear Skies bill in testimony before a subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee. (The 18-member committee, chaired by Inhofe, is currently deadlocked over whether to send the bill to the Senate floor.) Ten days later, Inhofe asked the groups, which represent state and local air-pollution agencies, to fork over their financial and tax records. Andrew Wheeler, the committee's majority staff director, said the request has …

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Four emerging environmental leaders discuss the future of their field

To continue the conversation about the ostensible "death of environmentalism," we invited four next-generation leaders to discuss the issue with one another via email. Herewith, in almost real time, we are publishing their thoughts in our pages. All the participants are fellows with the Environmental Leadership Program, which works with emerging activists and professionals to inspire social and political change. So is environmentalism bound for the morgue, or alive and kicking? Stay tuned this week to find out. Most recent post of the day. From: Torri EstradaTo: Stephen Moret, Swati Prakash, Thompson SmithSubject: Getting the ball rollingTuesday, Feb. 22, 2005, …

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Ansje Miller sends a dispatch from a conference on transportation and justice

Ansje Miller is a program director for Redefining Progress and staffs the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, a consortium of environmental-justice, religious, and policy groups. Sunday, 20 Feb 2005 LOS ANGELES, Calif. Driving down California's Interstate 5 from Oakland to Los Angeles, the need for a new vision for the future of transportation was clear. The pouring rain transformed the usual L.A. gridlock into nothing short of a parking lot, with no other mass transportation options in sight. Six lanes of traffic full of cars carrying one person; in that moment, I understood the meaning of the phrase "road …

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Uprisings down under

Who says there are no good protests anymore? Australian environmentalists used ice sculptures yesterday to protest their country's refusal to jump on the Kyoto wagon. Maybe frozen icons are just what the U.S. needs! (Insert hackneyed Al Gore joke here.)

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Delay of Shame

Senate committee delays vote on Clear Skies In what clean-air advocates called a "major victory for the environment," the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee yesterday postponed a decision on Bush's Clear Skies Act. A vote had been scheduled to determine whether the bill would advance to the Senate floor, but with 18 committee members deadlocked on the legislation, Committee Chair James Inhofe (R-Okla.) decided not to risk a bill kill and instead set a new date for a vote: March 2. Inhofe said the committee just needs to "spend some quality time together" to discuss revisions -- such as …

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As Kyoto goes live, U.S. green groups offer tepid response

It's an action-packed week on the climate front: The Kyoto Protocol finally goes into effect today throughout the vast majority of the industrialized world (the U.S. conspicuously not included), and Capitol Hill is awash in climate-related assaults and initiatives. As Kyoto and climate bills heat up, greens' response is tepid. Congress is facing a double whammy of President Bush's most environmentally controversial proposals: The back-from-the-dead omnibus energy bill -- a feast for purveyors of planet-warming fossil fuels -- will get a hearing in a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee today. Meanwhile, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will vote …

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Join a people’s campaign to ratify the Kyoto Protocol

The much-discussed Kyoto Protocol takes effect today, Feb. 16. In the face of the United States' continuing refusal to ratify the international agreement, a group of progressive activists is launching a drive to gather millions of signatures from U.S. citizens for a "People's Ratification of the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty." Ross Gelbspan, a Grist contributor and author of two books on climate change -- The Heat Is On and Boiling Point -- explains why you should put your coffee mug down and sign the petition today. What on earth is a person supposed to do? History and nature are on …