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Articles by David Roberts

David Roberts was a staff writer for Grist. You can follow him on Twitter, if you're into that sort of thing.

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  • 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 water and seeking to have hydraulic fracturing regulated under federal drinking-water law, Halliburton has lobbied aggressively to avoid such regulation. The U.S. EPA recently finished a study of the practice, concluding that it is benign, but agency insiders have heaped scorn on the report, saying it was produced by a highly biased panel containing at least one Halliburton employee. One 30-year EPA veteran last week submitted a statement to Congress and the EPA inspector general seeking whistle-blower protection and calling the report "scientifically unsound and contrary to the purposes of the law."

    straight to the source: Los Angeles Times, Tom Hamburger and Alan C. Miller, 14 Oct 2004

  • 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 the Pentagon spends on environmental compliance represents less than 1 percent of defense spending, the administration is determined to reduce the number. The Pentagon has argued that environmental compliance reduces military readiness, but has offered no evidence, and according to an internal Pentagon memo recently obtained by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, cuts in military environmental programs may actually cost more, and have a more substantial effect on readiness, than compliance.

    straight to the source: USA Today, Peter Eisler, 14 Oct 2004
    straight to the source: BushGreenwatch, 14 Oct 2004
    straight to the source: USA Today, Peter Eisler, 13 Oct 2004
    straight to the source: USA Today, Peter Eisler, 13 Oct 2004

  • Umbra explains ultraviolet ratings

    Whatever are we to make of the UV ratings bandied about on some radio and TV stations?

  • Enviro group launches campaign against Victoria’s Secret catalogs

    An enviro group called ForestEthics has trained its sights on the Victoria's Secret catalog, urging the company to make the shift to more eco-friendly paper and avoid fiber that comes from endangered forests. The real target is Victoria's parent company, Limited Brands Inc. Limited Brands procures coated paper from an International Paper Co. plant near Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, which ForestEthics charges has damaged surrounding forests and wildlife. "We're exposing Victoria's Dirty Secret, which is that the million catalogs that it mails a day are destroying some of the world's last remaining old-growth forests and threatening endangered species," said ForestEthics' Tzeporah Berman. Limited Brands denies everything and claims to be environmentally sensitive, as does International Paper. Speaking of exposing, a Grist editor has volunteered to do further investigation into this vital story. He will report his results in a week. Maybe two weeks.

    straight to the source: The Wall Street Journal, Christopher J. Chipello and Amy Merrick, 14 Oct 2004 (access ain't free)