An interview with Barack Obama about his presidential platform on energy and the environment

This is part of a series of interviews with presidential candidates produced jointly by Grist and Outside. Barack Obama at an Earth Day 2007 event. Photo: Michael Millhollin In his two and a half years in the U.S. Senate, Barack Obama has been active — even hyperactive — on matters of energy and the environment. The Democrat from Illinois has introduced or cosponsored nearly 100 eco-related bills on issues ranging from lead poisoning and mercury emissions to auto fuel economy and biofuels promotion. Along the way, he’s racked up a notable 96 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters. …

Senate may improve Farm Bill

Harkin wants to boost land conservation

Here’s some reasonably heartening news from CQ.com: The Senate is prepared to write a dramatically different farm bill than the version the House passed last week. The Senate debate will not happen until September or later. For now, Senate Agriculture Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has promised to increase funding for land-conservation programs far above House numbers. The $286 billion, five-year House measure (HR 2419), which passed, 231-191, on July 27, would impose new limits on farm subsidies, increase support for fruit and vegetable growers, boost land conservation and increase funding for nutrition programs. Farmers making more than $1 million a …

Coal is the enemy of the human race: Harry Reid edition

Senate Majority Leader vows opposition to Nevada coal plants

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has occasionally been viewed with suspicion by enviros, thanks to his friendliness with the mining industry. This should help patch things up: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada sent a letter this week to four companies telling them not to build planned coal-burning power plants in his state. … “Because I believe that developing renewable energy in Nevada is far preferable to coal for the sake of our economy, public health and the environment, I will use every means at my disposal to prevent the construction of new coal-fired power plants in …

Congestion pricing saves more than it costs

Bloomberg’s law: Environment equals economic growth

This guest essay comes from Steven Cohen and Jacob Victor. Steven Cohen is executive director of Columbia University's Earth Institute and director of its Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science and Policy at the School of International and Public Affairs. Jacob Victor is an intern at Columbia's Earth Institute. After overcoming numerous obstacles in Albany, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's controversial congestion-pricing plan finally appears to be slowly moving forward. Thanks to a last-minute deal between Bloomberg and the leaders of the state Assembly, it is almost certain that New York will receive a $500 million federal grant to fund the equipment and upgrade mass transit in order to begin the program. While New York City has not been given permission to charge tolls to enter Manhattan south of 86th street, the first steps in implementing congestion pricing were authorized by New York state's famously dysfunctional state government.

Boxer Sticks It to Johnson

Senate hearing probes EPA chief’s delay on tailpipe decision Can U.S. states enact stricter tailpipe regulations than the feds? That question has been hovering in the air since California requested a waiver from the U.S. EPA in late 2005. Why no answer yet? At a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing yesterday, EPA head Stephen Johnson said the delay is due to a “rigorous analysis” of 60,000 public comments. But committee chair Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said some 53,000 of the comments were a mass mailing supporting the waiver, and Johnson’s position is weak. “When history is written, I …

At Last, Some Consensus

House votes today on universally despised farm bill Today finds the House scrambling to pass its controversial version of the 2007 farm bill. And by controversial, we mean everyone hates it — Democrats, Republicans, and the White House. The $286 billion package, which contains about $42 billion in subsidies, ends subsidies to farmers with an income of over $1 million, down from $2.5 million. Some Democrats want to lower that cap further, and other Dems worry that the bill doesn’t contain enough funding for conservation and nutrition. Republicans are upset about a proposed tax on the American holdings of overseas …

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