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An environmental-justice advocate insists he’s not dead yet

Ludovic Blain. "The Death of Environmentalism" should be called "The Death of Elite, White, American Environmentalism." A critique of the environmental movement that draws on neither the perspectives nor achievements of the environmental-justice (EJ) movement is, at very best, incomplete. That the DOE interviews and recommendations only focused on white, American male-led environmentalism meant that the fatal flaws of that part of the environmental movement infected the critique itself. These omissions inspire me to paraphrase Sojourner Truth and ask, "Ain't I an environmentalist?" I was struck by how the piece echoed the National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summits of …

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The environmental movement won’t thrive till it tackles economic development in low-income districts

Growing up in east Los Angeles as the son of Central American immigrants, the everyday challenges faced by the people in my community seemed far removed from the American dream: the lack of good housing and jobs, failing schools, scraping together money for groceries, and all-too-common police brutality. If you had asked us, we would have told you we were concerned about the days when the air pollution was especially thick, or when the smells coming from the incinerator directly south of our housing complex were particularly bad. We would have told you we were concerned -- but that these …

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Why race and class matter to the environmental movement

This piece is excerpted from the essay "The Soul of Environmentalism: Rediscovering Transformational Politics in the 21st Century." The full essay can be found here. Elvis was a hero to most,but he never meant shit to me ...-- Public Enemy, 1989 Activists of color may not want to stand on John Muir's shoulders. Environmentalism in the United States has always been as diverse as our country itself. In the 19th century, for example, African-American abolitionists fought slavery as well as the use of arsenic in tobacco fields. Later, Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King Jr. were only two of thousands …

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The Blair Pitch Project

Biz leaders urge Blair to act on climate A dozen of Britain's top business chieftains have sent a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair urging him to get on the ball in the fight against climate change. The heads of BP, Shell, HSBC Bank, and other major companies say global warming is a massive problem that demands aggressive business investment, but they want to know how government policies on climate will shake out before they firm up their plans to tackle the challenge. Meanwhile, Blair is on the road pitching his agenda for the G8 summit that his government will …

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Climate finally getting more notice in Senate with energy-bill amendments

The climate-change debate is beginning to move forward inside the Beltway -- at a glacial pace relative to the rest of the industrialized world, of course, but these days even glaciers are moving at a discernable clip. Heat is on in Senate as climate starts getting more attention. As the energy bill goes through the markup process in the Senate and security hawks and enviros turn up the heat on the climate issue, four senators are hatching plans to offer climate-change initiatives as amendments to the bill, which is tentatively scheduled to go to the Senate floor in late June. …

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Weakened in Review

Bipartisan efforts to revamp the Endangered Species Act begin A hearing of the Senate fisheries, wildlife, and water subcommittee last week kicked off what is likely to be an extended process of revising and updating the Endangered Species Act. There is bipartisan agreement on several measures, including providing grants and incentives to private landowners to protect species on their land, and developing formal scientific recovery plans prior to designating critical habitat off-limits to development. But opinions vary widely outside that consensus. Some congressfolk view the act as a failure because less than 1 percent of protected species have recovered. In …

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Mega-mall in upstate New York could give birth to a clean-energy awakening

Could a mall mogul's dream project give a big boost to renewables? Image: DestiNY USA. As the Senate deliberates over the Bush-backed energy bill and enviros send out another round of distress signals over America's obdurate fossil-fuel dependency, who would believe that the next big thing in renewable energy is being driven by a tenacious commercial developer with strong GOP affiliations and 25 mega-malls under his belt? Picture a gargantuan shopping complex in upstate New York -- a so-called "retail city" big enough to make Mall of America look like a five-and-dime -- with thousands of shops plus restaurants, theaters, …

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Coast Riposte

House blocks attempt to lift ban on coastal drilling; more to come An attempt to weaken the U.S. moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling -- established by Congress in 1982 and renewed every year since -- was blocked yesterday in the House by a 262-157 vote. However, drilling opponents view it as just the first and easiest battle in what is likely to be an extended war. An upcoming bipartisan Senate measure may be more difficult to thwart: It would offer individual states potentially billions of dollars in oil and gas leasing revenues as incentive to lift the ban. …

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That’s Hot

States sue EPA over new mercury rules and the "hot spots" they'll create A coalition of 11 states filed suit against the U.S. EPA in federal court yesterday, charging that the agency's recently issued mercury emissions rules, which establish a "cap and trade" system whereby coal-fired power plants can trade pollution credits, pose an unacceptable threat to public health. Led by New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey, the states charge that allowing plants to trade credits rather than mandating that they reduce emissions will lead to mercury "hot spots" around polluting plants. The lawsuit follows on the heels of …

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New Apollo Energy Act contrasts sharply with “Jurassic” GOP energy bill

On April 21, Congress stepped back in geologic time when the House of Representatives passed an energy policy of the dinosaurs, by the dinosaurs, and for the dinosaurs. This energy bill is truly a "Jurassic" piece of legislation that relies on a limited energy source derived from creatures and plants that died millions of years ago. In fact, 93 percent of the $8 billion in tax incentives in the bill go to oil, gas, and other traditional energy industries. A patriotic sight. Photo: Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group Inc. c/o NREL. Shortly before the House debate, one national leader said, "I …