[Mb-civic] Environews!

ean at sbcglobal.net ean at sbcglobal.net
Wed Sep 29 22:29:11 PDT 2004


Bush administration postpones action on enviro issues until after election

The Bush administration is pushing off a number of controversial 
environment-related moves until after the election.  For example: 
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham had requested a report from the 
National Petroleum Council on how to boost U.S. oil-refining 
capacity, to be released tomorrow.  The U.S. EPA was expected to 
strongly object to the council's recommendations, which were to 
include the easing of several environmental regulations.  Funny 
story:  Turns out Abraham now has "a scheduling issue," according to an
Energy Department spokesflack, and the report will be delayed until late
November -- coincidentally, after the election.  The same kooky scheduling
issues seem to be afflicting a number of coming regulations on roadless
areas, meat processing, and prescription drugs.  While it's not unusual to
delay some regulations in an election year, says Gene Kimmelman of
Consumers Union, "What is unusual this time is the clear pattern of
holding back regulatory decisions that will benefit the largest industry
players and will drive up prices and marketplace risks for consumers." 
Marty Hayden of Earthjustice warns of "a fire sale such as we've never
seen post-election."

straight to the source:  MSNBC.com, Reuters, Tom Doggett, 29 Sep 2004

straight to the source:  The New York Times, Stephen Labaton, 27 Sep 2004

Bush administration makes big push for oil and gas drilling in West

With unprecedented speed, the Bush administration has opened vast 
swaths of environmentally sensitive land in the West to oil and gas 
drilling -- this by-now-familiar story is told comprehensively in 
articles in The Washington Post and The Seattle Times.  The situation is
summed up by Dave Alberswerth, former Clinton adviser and now a lobbyist
for The Wilderness Society:  "They haven't changed any statutes.  They
haven't changed any regulations.  But they've changed a whole lot of
practices and policies without any real public scrutiny."  Bureau of Land
Management employees are now rewarded for speeding through approval of
leases for energy companies, which in many cases are writing land-use
plans themselves.  Opposition is spreading from environmentalists to
traditionally conservative ranchers, hunters, and anglers.  Bush
administration officials deny that they're damaging wild areas, but they
happily concede that the balance for "multiple-use" areas has been moved
toward resource extraction.

straight to the source:  The Washington Post, Joby Warrick and Juliet
Eilperin, 25 Sep 2004

straight to the source:  The Seattle Times, Craig Welch, 26 Sep 2004

Global warming is destroying Eskimo villages

While debates over the "precautionary principle" and economic 
tradeoffs take place down in the cozy lower 48, global warming is 
entirely less abstract to Inupiaq Eskimos on the coast of Alaska. 
They're not so much worried about losing jobs as losing, well, their
villages.  The annual mean air temperature in Alaska has risen 4 to 5
degrees Fahrenheit in the last 30 years, the warm season now starts
earlier and finishes later, and Arctic Ocean ice has shrunk 5 to 10
percent, making ice fishing more difficult, among other problems.  In
spots, the coastline is disappearing -- some villages have lost up to 300
feet.  Many villages are facing the ultimate decision:  "Is it practical
to stand and fight our Mother Ocean?  Or do we surrender and move?" asks
Edith Vorderstrasse, mayor of Barrow, Alaska.  A U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers study estimated that relocating one small village of 380 people,
Kivalina, would cost $100 million to $400 million -- at the top end, more
than $1 million a head.  If that sounds forbidding, ponder for a moment
the cost of relocating, say, San Francisco.

straight to the source:  Time Magazine, Margot Roosevelt, 27 Sep 2004

Another group of scientists to campaign against Bush

Scientists and Engineers for Change, a 527 advocacy group unveiled 
yesterday, plans to send scientists on speaking gigs in swing states to
argue that the Bush administration disregards and distorts science -- in
many cases, science relating to serious environmental problems. "We must
begin to address climate change now.  To do so, we must have an
administration that listens to the scientific community, not one that
manipulates and minimizes scientific input," said Nobel Prize winner
Douglas D. Osheroff.  Osheroff is one of 10 Nobel winners who will join
others in giving talks on what they see as the Bush administration's
manipulation of science in areas from stem-cell research to energy.  The
normally nonpartisan scientific community has seen unprecedented
mobilization against Bush this year, including a letter endorsing John
Kerry signed by a group of 48 Nobel winners and a campaign spearheaded by
the Union of Concerned Scientists that accuses Bush of politicizing

straight to the source:  The New York Times, Kenneth Chang, 28 Sep 2004

San Francisco unveils plan to fight global warming

Saying that global warming "is a real and looming threat to our 
economy, our public health, and our environment" to which the Bush 
administration "is not paying attention," San Francisco Mayor Gavin 
Newsom (D) this week unveiled a plan to reduce the city's 
greenhouse-gas emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. 
Much of the plan consists of voluntary measures and demonstration 
projects relating to recycling, converting city vehicles and 
buildings to green power, and enticing commuters out of their cars. 
In adopting the plan, San Francisco -- which is set to be hit 
particularly hard by global warming, with rising sea levels and 
frequent heat waves -- became one of about 150 U.S. cities and 
counties and some 600 local governments around the world to develop 
their own climate-change plans.

straight to the source:  Reuters, 27 Sep 2004

straight to the source:  San Francisco Chronicle, Carl T. Hall, 27 Sep
2004 <http://www.grist.org/cgi-bin/forward.pl?forward_id=3207>



BEACH MOUSE SAVED BEACH HOUSES:  A piece in yesterday’s GREENLines
outlined the destruction that occurred in the Alabama beach mouse’s
habitat at a National Wildlife Refuge.  The Birmingham News reported,
9/23, that the protections put in place to protect the mouse’s habitat and
move new development back 500 feet from the mean tide line actually
protected structures along much of Alabama’s Fort Morgan coastline. 
"Thank God for the beach mouse," said University of South Alabama civil
engineering Professor Scott Douglass. "The developers hate that thing but
it saved their developments."  Perched on a third line of high dunes, some
new developments have long crosswalks that help preserve the primary
habitat for the endangered mouse and coincidentally preserve the dunes
that protect the development. The waves got nowhere near these condos.

SALMON:  “A federal
judge warned yesterday that the Bush administration may be headed for a
‘train wreck’ as officials finalize a plan for restoring dwindling salmon
runs in the Northwest,” according to the Associated Press, 9/27.  U.S.
District Judge James Redden expressed skepticism of the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries biological opinion on the dam
operation on the Columbia River.  The Bush Administration has dismissed
dam removal as an option for restoring salmon.  Native Americans, tribal,
commercial and sportfishing groups, and conservationists have criticized
the plan.  Yesterday, more than 400 fishing and outdoor-recreation
businesses released a letter opposed to the new federal salmon plan,
“saying it significantly lowers the bar for wild-salmon recovery.” 
“Instead of doing the things necessary to build the economy, it appears
the federal government has decided that it's not their resp!
 onsibility,” said Trey Carskadon, a board member for the Northwest
 Sportfishing Industry Association.


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Action is the antidote to despair.  ----Joan Baez
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