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Grateful Deadlock

Congressional paralysis dooms environmental legislation Partisan bickering and electioneering in Washington, D.C., have led to an impasse on nearly all environmental legislation in Congress the past two years -- bills that enviros love as well as ones they hate. Other than the "Healthy Forests" initiative and a piece of brownfields funding, Congress has been deadlocked on environment-related measures. Bush's Clear Skies legislation, renewal of the industry tax for Superfund site cleanup, limits on carbon-dioxide emissions, changes to the Endangered Species Act -- all are stuck in limbo. The top dogs on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, James Inhofe …

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Pegeen Hanrahan, mayor of Gainesville, Fla., answers questions

Pegeen Hanrahan What work do you do? Earlier this year I was elected to serve as mayor of Gainesville, Fla., for the next three years. Gainesville is a beautiful and diverse city of about 117,000, often called "the city in the forest" because of our heavy tree cover. Gainesville is the home of the University of Florida, the fourth-largest college campus in the nation, with over 48,000 students. Although this is my first year as mayor, it's my seventh year in public office. I was elected to the Gainesville City Commission in 1996 when I was 29. After serving two …

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All the mus(ing) that’s fit to print

In its Sunday endorsement of Kerry and scathing critique of Bush, The New York Times spends more time on the environment than the candidates did in their three debates. (To whom does such an endorsement speak -- do any undecideds read The Times?) Amidst the many many paragraphs that lay out an argument against a second Bush administration, the patient greenie finds this one: If Mr. Bush had wanted to make a mark on an issue on which Republicans and Democrats have long made common cause, he could have picked the environment. Christie Whitman, the former New Jersey governor chosen …

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The environmental issue in the debates

In comments here, clark and da silva agree (more or less) on the following proposition:  It would be great if the environment mattered more to swing voters, but it doesn't, and the tactical goal of the debate is to move swing voters, so maybe a green rooting for Kerry should be happy the question didn't come up -- particularly given how Kerry botched it in the second debate. Well, yes and no.I would argue that Kerry could have knocked the environment question out of the park -- and was probably better prepared to do so in the third debate.   …

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Dustup in the Wind

Proposed wind farms spark controversy in Kansas It seems that controversy over wind turbines -- a common feature of the European political landscape -- has crossed the Atlantic and headed for the American heartland. In the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas, farmers and ranchers are organizing to ward off plans by wind developers to build dozens of turbines on the untilled prairie. The issue has divided environmentalists. Some groups, like the local branch of The Nature Conservancy, argue that the turbines would despoil the landscape and harm wildlife. Others, including the Kansas chapter of the Sierra Club, point out that …

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Oh Brother, Where Art … Oh, There You Are

Jeb Bush borrows money to accelerate Everglades plan President Bush has made much of his devotion to wetlands, even vowing during the second debate to "increase the wetlands by 3 million." Three whole million! But the nation's biggest environmental initiative -- signed into law in 2000 and aimed at restoring Florida's most beloved wetlands, the Everglades -- is moving at a snail's pace, say critics. In an election year, that won't do, so brother Jeb Bush, governor of Florida, is stepping in for an assist: Yesterday, flanked by high-ranking (George) Bush administration officials, he announced a plan to borrow money …

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Martial Flaw

Bush admin fights off environmental restraints on military In the presidential campaign of 2000, Bush vowed to force the military to "comply with environmental laws by which all of us must live," but according to a comprehensive investigation by USA Today, he has done the opposite. Since assuming power, the Bush White House has worked closely with the Defense Department to deflect military responsibility for cleanup of polluted sites, ward off new regulations on contaminants like perchlorate and trichloroethylene, and reduce the U.S. EPA's power to investigate and enforce environmental violations at military sites. Though the $4 billion a year …

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The White Man’s Halliburton

White House favoring Halliburton over clean water OK, you might want to sit down, because we've got a real shocker here: The Bush administration, headed by two former oil executives, one of whom was the CEO of Halliburton, from which he still receives payments, may be pulling strings to help shield the company against environmental regulation. The issue in question is "hydraulic fracturing," a relatively new technique for extracting oil and gas that generates about a fifth of Halliburton's energy-related revenue -- $1.5 billion a year. Since a group of Alabamans sued in 1995, saying the practice fouled their drinking …

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Bush-appointed judges rule against environmental regs more often than others, report finds

Bush speaks his mind at the second debate. Photo: Joe Angeles/WUSTL. President Bush's remarks about Supreme Court appointees during the debate last Friday left many Americans scratching their heads, what with his perplexing reference to the 1857 Dred Scott slavery case (a coded wink to pro-life factions, as it turns out) and some classic Dubya-style language mangling: "[T]he Dred Scott case ... is where judges years ago said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal property rights. ... The Constitution of the United States says we're all -- you know, it doesn't say that. It doesn't speak to the …

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Tricky Richard

Pombo uses taxpayer dollars to campaign for Bush Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), chair of the House Resources Committee, has sent at least 100,000 flyers to voters in swing states praising President Bush's environmental policies -- at taxpayer expense. He's also given his committee staff a month of vacation time immediately preceding the election, presumably so they can focus on helping Republican candidates get reelected -- that's paid vacation, mind you, again at taxpayer expense. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) called these two moves a "combined unprecedented crescendo of politicization" of House committee budgets. Individual House members must cease sending taxpayer-funded mailings …

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