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We Was Cobbed!

NAFTA panel says U.S. GM corn is invading Mexico A panel of scientists convened by NAFTA at the request of Mexican farmers and officials has concluded that genetically modified corn grown in the U.S., where it is legal, is crossing the border and contaminating crops in Mexico, where it is not, and that the contamination constitutes a threat that needs to be addressed. (It is legal to use GM corn for food in Mexico, but not to grow it.) "How would Americans feel if we started getting living transgenic seeds that had been judged to be safe by the Cuban …

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Exx the Foul

ExxonMobil's greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise ExxonMobil, the world's biggest oil company, supported President Bush's decision to keep the U.S. from ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. In a wacky coincidence, the company's greenhouse-gas emissions have been increasing, last year rising 2 percent to almost 150 million tons -- more than twice the emissions of the entire country of Norway. Exxon is addressing the problem by ... oh, wait, they're not addressing the problem. While the company claims it is "taking steps" to reduce gases, it has set no actual targets, according to a spokesflack. By comparison, BP, the world's second largest …

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The energy bill is alive — alive! — and that could be bad news for ANWR

A day after winning the presidential election last week, George W. Bush made this now-legendary -- and, to some, menacing -- statement: "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it." Without dwelling on the notion that conservatives are supposed to protect and grow capital, not fritter it away, environmentalists are wondering just where and how President Bush is going to spend his political booty in the natural-resource realm. Leavitt: A man with a plan -- or at least a clear agenda. In much the same way he spent his more limited allowance in …

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Terry on, My Wayward Son

Schwarzenegger promotes environmental advocate to Cabinet secretary California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) will elevate self-described tree hugger Terry Tamminen from his current position as environmental protection secretary to the more powerful position of Cabinet secretary, where he'll serve as a liaison between the governor and department and agency heads. While Tamminen made decisions opposed at various times by the business and environmental communities in his tenure as head of the state EPA, he is respected by both sides, and particularly by the governator himself, who calls him "one of the jewels of my administration." Tamminen, who formerly headed the environmental …

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See You Later, Regulator

Bush victory portends big and enduring changes in environmental regs U.S. EPA chief Mike Leavitt is touting last week's election as "a validation of our philosophy and agenda," and his agency and others that oversee environmental matters are expected to move aggressively to relax mandatory regulatory limits in favor of market-based systems and voluntary targets. Expect action on Bush's languishing Clear Skies initiative and energy bill, as well as substantial revisions of the Endangered Species Act and increased energy development on public land. Bush's changes to the regulatory system will outlast his administration, says Georgetown law professor Lisa Heinzerling. "You …

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Rhymes with “ditty” too

The radio program "Living On Earth" had some hack from the Wall Street Journal editorial page on, along with Grist contributor Bill McKibben, to discuss what Bush's victory means for the environment.  It's interesting (and like Shalini, what I mean by interesting is "makes me reach for a noose").  You can read the transcript here.

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Solution Dilution

Bush admin opposes recommendations in Arctic climate-change report Last week, details emerged about a comprehensive study on the accelerated and destructive effects of global warming on the Arctic, involving more than 300 scientists from eight nations and six indigenous tribes. Now some members of an eight-nation negotiating team are accusing the U.S. of working to water down recommendations based on the study. U.S. State Department officials have argued that the study doesn't contain enough evidence to warrant specific policy proposals, something several negotiators dispute. Specifically, the Bush administration has fought against a seemingly anodyne passage urging member countries to adopt …

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Mad Props, Yo

California approves measure to block citizen lawsuits against businesses By a significant margin, California voters on Tuesday approved Proposition 64, which curtails the right of private citizens and public-interest groups to bring legal action against companies under the state's Unfair Business Competition Law -- a move that could hamper efforts to protect the state's environment. The statute has been used by private groups to go after companies that pollute and violate the law in other ways. Now, citizens will have to show that they've been financially harmed by a business's action in order to file suit. Supporters of 64 say …

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Cya-nara

State rejects attempt to repeal cyanide mining ban Voters in Montana decisively rejected Initiative 147, which would have repealed the state's 1998 ban on open-pit cyanide leach mining, a highly destructive and polluting gold-mining technique that extracts small amounts of gold and silver diffused through large amounts of rock. Some 98 percent of the money behind the initiative, almost $3 million, came from Canyon Resources Corp., which wanted to build such a mine near Lincoln, Mont. The initiative was rejected by a wider margin than the one approving the original ban; still, it will be challenged in court.

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Sorry, No Vacancy

Washington initiative blocks further nuke-waste dumping at Hanford By a more than a 2-to-1 margin, Washington state voters passed Initiative 297, which blocks the U.S. Department of Energy from sending more nuclear waste to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in the southern part of the state until current waste at the former nuclear-weapons facility is fully cleaned up. The measure is scheduled to take effect in 30 days. Opponents say it will threaten the $2 billion in federal money earmarked for Hanford cleanup, and vow to challenge the initiative in court.

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