Putin on the Fritz
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday abolished the nation’s environmental protection agency, the State Committee on the Environment, ostensibly to help save money and cut bureaucracy. The agency’s functions will be turned over to the Ministry on Natural Resources, which oversees oil and gas development, logging, and mining. Putin has made it clear that he is no friend to the environmental movement. He has asserted in the past that foreign spies use environmentalists as cover, and under his watch several leading Russian enviro activists and researchers have been investigated by the national security service. Greenpeace and other enviros accuse Putin of ignoring the nation’s numerous and serious pollution problems.