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Declaration of dependence

Factcheck.org, the website the vice president tried to make famous, has this to say about the two presidential candidates' energy plans:  "Kerry and Bush Mislead Voters With Promises of Energy Independence." The website, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, writes: Kerry focuses on conservation efforts, but most agree his plan is little more than an outline. Bush supports expanded drilling in Alaska to increase domestic oil supply, but the US has only about 3 percent of the world's oil reserves. At current rates of consumption that would only last 4.5 years. Factcheck.org seems …

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Dole-ing Out Favors

A lobbying success story, from the maker of atrazine The manufacturer of atrazine, an herbicide connected by studies to frog deformities and increased risk of prostate cancer in humans, spent $260,000 lobbying the U.S. EPA and other government bodies on behalf of the chemical. Not only that, but Syngenta Crop Protection enlisted the formidable lobbying talents of Viagra emissary and ex-senator Bob Dole, who met at least once with White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin to discuss the issue. After reports began emerging about atrazine's ill effects -- biologist Tyrone Hayes testified to Congress that low levels of …

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Bhopal Lowball

Bhopal disaster victims seek to quadruple compensation Victims of the devastating 1984 industrial gas leak in Bhopal, India, have appealed to the country's Supreme Court to quadruple the amount of compensation they will receive. They have long charged that the Indian government has been slow to distribute funds from a $470 million settlement paid by U.S.-based Union Carbide, owner of the plant, to the Indian government in 1989. On Tuesday, a favorable Supreme Court ruling ordered the government to release the money remaining from the settlement, some $330 million, and accepted a sharp rise in the estimated number of victims, …

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A green financial expert dishes up election-related investment tips

Matt Patsky knows his green. As the election looms, green-investing guru Matt Patsky has joined the political fray, making the radio talk show rounds to tell investors and voters why another Bush presidency will not only be bad news for the environment but also a disaster for the market. Patsky is the portfolio manager for the Winslow Management Co., a pioneer in environmentally responsible investing. Winslow was founded in 1984 by Jackson Robinson, who believed -- in opposition to much of the investment world -- that companies which benefit the environment also benefit shareholders. In this exclusive interview, Patsky dishes …

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Flipper Flop

Court rules that whales and dolphins can't sue "..." Did you hear that? That was us breaking the bad news to the whale community: They can't sue the U.S. government. Such was the unanimous ruling of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week, responding to a lawsuit against President Bush brought on behalf of "the cetacean community" by Hawaii lawyer Lanny Sinkin. At issue is the Navy's use of low-frequency sonar, which is believed to cause tissue damage and other injuries in whales. Currently, the law allows only humans to sue, when they are affected by some threat …

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Wonder If Michigan Left Cookies Out for Him

Energy secretary ladles pork into swing states as election approaches $36 million for a power plant in Minnesota. $100 million for a clean-coal project in Pennsylvania. $235 million for a power plant in Florida. $19.7 million for a clean-coal facility in New Mexico. Being a swing state is a profitable vocation during an election season. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has been traveling to hotly contested regions like a federal Santa Claus, his bag filled with environmentally questionable pork. And he is not alone: Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, Treasury Secretary John Snow, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and numerous Education …

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Speculation and hearsay on potential environmental picks for a Kerry cabinet

There are plenty of ways to blunt pre-election anxiety, but one exercise favored by Beltway insiders is batting around post-election scenarios. When optimistic enviros envision regime change, the big questions are: Who will be on Kerry's environmental A-Team? And what will be the top priorities on Kerry's energy and environment agenda? Of course, people close to the campaign are extremely wary of conjecture, particularly in a white-knuckle race like this one. "What-if scenarios are not a topic of discussion in the halls of the Kerry campaign," said Beth Viola, a senior environmental adviser to the Democratic candidate. "We're living and …

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Maple Leaf Drag

Canada slacking off on environmental protection Canada is not doing enough to protect the environment, concluded a harsh report released yesterday by the nation's commissioner of the environment, Johanne Gelinas. "Why is progress so slow?" she asked. Mandates are in place and commitments have been made, so the culprit must be "lack of leadership, lack of priority, and lack of will," she said. The report outlines several areas where talk is not matched by action or clear measurement. Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol, but has yet to produce a plan to meet its targets. A 1990 cabinet directive requires all …

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What’s Bad for the Goose Is Good for the Pander

Presidential candidates woo outdoor enthusiasts Ah, to be a member of a voting bloc in a swing state. It must make you feel so special. One such group being assiduously wooed by campaigning presidential hopefuls is the hook-and-bullet crowd, a.k.a. the hunters and anglers. Traditionally conservative sportsfolks are concentrated in states crucial to the candidates' electoral fortunes, and unlike many conservatives, they take conservation seriously -- so Kerry thinks he can snag a few, and Bush is in full pander mode. The president gave his only full interview in recent months to Field and Stream magazine, backed away from some …

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Christian-right views are swaying politicians and threatening the environment

A kind of secular apocalyptic sensibility pervades much contemporary writing about our current world. Many books about environmental dangers, whether it be the ozone layer, or global warming or pollution of the air or water, or population explosion, are cast in an apocalyptic mold. - Historian Paul Boyer When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale; the …

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