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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rejects attempt to repeal cyanide mining ban Voters in Montana decisively rejected Initiative 147, which would have repealed the state's 1998 ban on open-pit cyanide leach mining, a highly destructive and polluting gold-mining technique that extracts small amounts of gold and silver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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Colorado Rocky Mountain High

Colorado passes renewable-energy initiative Colorado voters approved Amendment 37 yesterday, marking the first statewide renewable-energy portfolio standard in the U.S. to come directly from a popular vote rather than through the legislature. The state's largest utilities will now be required to generate 3 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2007, and 10 percent by 2015. The ballot initiative got a thumbs-up from about 53 percent of the state's electorate. Sixteen other state legislatures have passed renewable-energy targets for utilities; Colorado's legislature had rejected such targets four times.

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Irrelevance: The New Relevance

How did the environment play in the election? Funny you should ask ... Remember all that earnest debate about whether environmental issues would play a significant role in the presidential election? Well, as it turns out ... not so much. And in the Senate races we'd been keeping an eye on, one would also be hard-pressed (that is to say, wrong) to say that green issues had much impact. The not-so-green candidate won in four of the six Senate contests where enviros had speculated that the environment might help tip the balance: Lisa Murkowski (R) successfully defended her Alaskan Senate …

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Moral values

Perhaps the most galling thing about last night's catastrophe was the news that higher turnout ultimately benefited the right, and what drove the turnout, the top issue for a majority of Bush voters polled, was "moral values." In this context, "moral values" is code for "being freaked out about gay people getting married," though most in the media don't have the balls to say it.  Nearly a dozen states had initiatives banning gay marriage on the ballot, and the social conservatives turned out in force. In our current political world, "moral values" has come to mean homosexuality, abortion, and professions …

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Environmental leaders and thinkers on what comes next

What do we do now? That's the question one early riser asked Grist in a letter to the editor right after the election results rolled in. Faced with another four years of the Bush administration -- an administration that has been roundly denounced as the most environmentally destructive in the history of the nation -- our correspondent asked: Where should environmentalists put their energies for the next four years? Rather than field that question ourselves, we turned to environmentalists across the country for their thoughts -- to writers and thinkers, Congress members and corporate leaders, students and scientists. Over the …

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Bush appointee charges that EPA tried to thwart lawsuits against polluting power plants

It scarcely raises an eyebrow nowadays when the Bush administration's environmental record is characterized, yet again, as a relentless attack on decades of protections for air, water, and wildlife. But the latest such charges come from a loyal soldier of the GOP, appointed by the Bushies to head up the enforcement office of the U.S. EPA, so they carry more weight than most. Suarez: Not a happy camper at the EPA. Bush officials waged "an unforgiving assault" on the EPA's enforcement program, J. P. Suarez was quoted as saying in the October issue of The Environmental Law Reporter, in an …

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Her Majesty’s a Pretty Nice Girl — and She Does Have a Lot to Say

Britain's Queen Elizabeth speaks out on global warming In a rare public intervention into politics, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II met with Prime Minister Tony Blair and either -- depending which news reports you believe -- strongly expressed her concern about global warming, or smacked him upside the head for not pushing the U.S. to join Kyoto. While the queen regularly visits Downing Street to discuss politics, it is almost unheard of for the substance of those conversations to become public. It's a leak few believe could be accidental, particularly with the U.S. election fast approaching. The queen will also take …