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Sierra Club immigration skirmish -- again

Battle over immigration policy returns in this month’s board election

They're back! Rabble-rousing advocates of immigration restrictions are once again ruffling feathers at the Sierra Club. With the group's 750,000 members now voting in their annual election (polls close April 25; members go here to vote), the immigration critics are pushing a slate of four like-minded board candidates and a "yes" vote on a population ballot measure, which reads: Shall the Sierra Club policy on immigration, adopted by the Board of Directors in 1999 and revised in 2003, be changed to recognize the need to adopt lower limits on migration to the United States? In the "yes" corner, Sierrans for …

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World War CO2

Feds, states, and interest groups face off in court over carbon dioxide An epic environmental case got a day in court on Friday, as a coalition of 12 states, several cities, and 13 nonprofit organizations squared off against the federal government, 11 states, and 19 industry groups before a panel of three judges in a federal appeals court. At issue is the U.S. EPA's authority to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. The Bush administration and its allies say the agency has no such authority. The plaintiffs say that's bunk, noting that the act calls …

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Giuliani joins law firm renowned for defending energy interests

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- whose name is often bandied about as a possible 2008 GOP presidential contender -- added a splash of deep red to his moderate-Republican profile when he announced last week his decision to join a Texas-based law firm known for representing heavy-hitting energy companies. Rudy Giuliani. Photo: NYC.gov. Enron, ChevronTexaco, Pacific Gas & Electric, Dynegy, and Southern Company are among the many powerhouses on the client roster of Bracewell & Giuliani -- formerly Bracewell & Patterson. Having negotiated billions of dollars in transactions for fossil-fuel and power-generation facilities, and having defended some of …

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The Full Altamonty

Pombo questioned on wind-power conflict of interest Ah, they grow up so fast! You can tell that wind energy has joined the ranks of mature industries -- it's now got its very own scandal over accusations of improper influence peddling. Aides to Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), it seems, sent a letter to Interior Department officials pressuring them to suspend environmental regulations that govern the wind industry and threaten to reduce income from the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area, in which Pombo's parents have a significant financial stake. What a coinkydink! The regulations seek to reduce the number of birds sliced …

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Johnson Blocking

Democratic Senators stall confirmation of new EPA head When President Bush chose 24-year U.S. EPA veteran, scientist, and all-around mild-mannered dude Stephen Johnson to head the agency, observers expected no controversy. But Johnson's ongoing confirmation hearings are proving them wrong. It seems those pesky Democrats can always find something to complain about -- like, um, poisoning children. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) pledged to put a parliamentary hold on Johnson's confirmation until he unequivocally promised to halt the Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study (or -- macabre irony alert -- CHEERS). The research program, sponsored by the EPA …

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You are what you drive

Dems and Republicans buy different kinds of cars; guess who likes big American SUVs?

You could probably guess that Prius drivers tend to be Democrats and Hummer drivers tend to be Republicans. But that's just the tip of the iceberg on car-and-driver political connections, writes John Tierney in The New York Times, summarizing new market research that I find both fascinating and hilarious.   Jaguars, Land Rovers, and Jeep Grand Cherokees are very "Republican" vehicles. Volvos are the most "Democratic" cars, followed by Subarus and Hyundais. (Funny comment from Slate columnist Mickey Kaus: "Subaru is the new Volvo --that is, it is what Volvos used to be: trusty, rugged, inexpensive, unpretentious, performs well, maybe …

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An interview with New York Times columnist and “geo-green” advocate Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman.Photo: Greg MartinAs the green movement fends off accusations of impotence, Thomas Friedman has hatched an idea that could make a man out of environmentalism. In January, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times debuted his "geo-green" strategy, a powerful proposal for reframing America's quest for energy independence to appeal to hawkish neocons and lily-livered tree-huggers alike. By aggressively curbing America's energy consumption, Friedman argues, the Bush administration could reduce the global price of oil to the point where it would force regimes in the Middle East to diversify their economies, thereby priming them for democratic …

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Civil-rights, suffrage activists didn’t give up, and neither should environmentalists 

This piece is adapted from a speech given before the Alliance for Global Sustainability last month at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. The full speech -- "Reflections on Sustainability and Universities and Whether Environmentalism Has Died" -- can be found here. Are the reapers quitting too soon? The environmental community is in turmoil over "The Death of Environmentalism," the challenging essay released by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus last fall. Their thesis is that the environmental community has "strikingly little to show" for its efforts over the last 15 years and that environmental leaders are not articulating …

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Enviros recruit Lakoff for reframing project, but concerns mount that he might abandon them

George Lakoff may be the new darling of the Democratic Party, but how sweet is he on the environmental movement? George Lakoff. Photo: Bonnie Azab Powell, U.C. Berkeley. A onetime adviser to Howard Dean, who hails him as "one of the most influential political thinkers of the progressive movement," Lakoff is author of the election-year best-seller Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, which solidified his rep as a top-tier Democratic strategist. A professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, he is widely seen as the meta-thinker who can rearticulate liberals' core values …

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Ban of the Cave Bug

High court to decide whether to hear challenge to Endangered Species Act The fate of the Endangered Species Act may rest in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, if they decide in coming weeks to hear a case from a Texas man hoping to remove development restrictions on his land. Revoking the ESA protection of the tiny cave bugs inhabiting Fred Purcell's property would, of course, also affect protection for some 600 other species. Financed by the American Land Foundation, which uses landowner donations to fight development restrictions, Purcell's lawsuit began in 1999 and argues that the government should …

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