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Old 11-14-2006, 11:18 AM   #1
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The US Elections and Environmental Policy

Environmentalists, Winners in the Election, Warn Against Expecting Vast Changes

New York Times, Nov 14

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 — Last week’s election whipsawed the Congressional committees that are crucial battlegrounds for environmental and energy legislation. But even many environmentalists believe that an ambitious new agenda is unlikely.

The leadership changes are striking. Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, who favors mandatory cuts in emissions linked to global warming, will become chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, replacing Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, who has called the scientific consensus on human-induced global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on mankind.” In the House, Jerry McNerney, a California Democrat and wind-energy executive, will replace the current chairman of the House Resources Committee, Representative Richard W. Pombo, a Republican who fought to open public lands to private interests. “I think you’d have to go back to the Enlightenment to find such a big change in worldviews,” Ken Cook, the president of the Environmental Working Group, a research organization, told reporters on Monday.

But despite the committee changes, some lobbyists are trying to dampen expectations that a major environmental agenda can speed through Congress. While environmental groups are likely to worry less about oil and natural gas wells in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, they say that trying to get the new Congress to embrace initiatives like tougher automobile fuel-economy standards and requirements that industry pay more for Superfund cleanups could mean that little, if anything, will be accomplished.
Bob Greco, an expert on oil and gas exploration and production, said he thought that Congress would eventually open more areas to the energy industry. “Our sense is that Congress might be willing to work on a bill to improve domestic access,” Mr. Greco said, adding, “You need both increased resources as well as conservation and energy efficiency.”

The agenda for the next Congress is a work in progress, legislators and lobbyists said. Philip E. Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust and a former senior Democratic Senate staff member, said in an interview on Thursday, “It’s very clear that the House Democrats want to move a piece of energy legislation sometime this spring.” Mr. Clapp said the measure would probably provide incentives for the production of biologically based fuels, like ethanol.
In an interview on Monday, Senator Boxer said her first priority would be to hold hearings on global warming. These would first review the half-dozen proposals that senators have put forward to slow the buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, then focus on choosing the best approach. “Many states are way ahead of us,” she said. Her other chief concern, she said, is “protecting children and families” from toxic chemicals, by, among other things, ensuring that the risks from Superfund sites is made public.

The views held by Representative John D. Dingell, Democrat of Michigan, show the difficulty in finding support for a broad agenda. Mr. Dingell supports the control and cleanup of toxic substances but has never embraced automobile fuel-efficiency standards.
What are your hopes and/or fears concerning environmental policy under the new Congress? What would you most like to see happen--or not happen?

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Old 11-14-2006, 11:58 AM   #2
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Oh gosh...okay for a start this is what I'd like to see happen:

regulate genetically engineered food
change USDA's policies to give more support to organic farmers
more research and investment in alternative energy sources such as hydrogen, solar, wind and ocean, and make them mainstream
Stop privatization of drinking water and sewer systems and enforce stricter air and water regulations
make some improvements in the clean air act.

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Old 11-14-2006, 02:48 PM   #3
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I am on an enviormental and animal rights mailing list. Yesterday I recieved this:


You and the rest of Care2’s members have been working hard to elect candidates who support the environment, animals, and progressive causes -- and all of your hard work has paid off. You were a powerful force in last week’s US election: some of the worst enemies of the environment have been defeated, and some of its strongest supporters are moving into new positions of power.

Hundreds of Care2 members volunteered to travel to Congressman Richard Pombo’s district, walking door-to-door to spread the word that he had one of the worst voting records in Congress on the environment, women’s rights, and progressive causes. As Chair of the House Resources Committee, Richard Pombo proposed legislation to sell a quarter of the land managed by the National Park Service, tried to open the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and worked to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Thanks in part to your efforts, Richard Pombo was defeated.

More than 1,000 Care2 members volunteered to make phone calls to voters in key Congressional and Senate races across the nation. These efforts helped to tip the balance, leading to many victories for friends of the environment.

Tens of thousands of Care2 members worked for clean elections.

Millions of Care2 members voted for candidates who will stand up for the environment, for human rights, and for what’s right.

Because of your efforts, the prospects are much brighter for progress on global warming, for protection of wilderness areas and our coastlines from drilling, for protection of the rights of women, and for the USA to be a global leader for human rights and peace.

In recent years, Care2 and its nonprofit allies have been forced to play defense, opposing repeated legislative efforts to damage the environment, to weaken protections for animals, to allow torture of political prisoners, to authorize warrantless wiretapping, to reduce the rights of women, and to allow lobbyists to buy political decisions. Standing up to these challenges has been important work, and the millions of actions taken by Care2 members have turned the tide. Now we can seize the momentum and make important strides for the health of the Earth and all its inhabitants.

Thank you for all that you have done! I’m proud that you are part of Care2!
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Old 11-14-2006, 07:03 PM   #4
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I fear that in trying to get votes from the other anti-science crowd nuclear power and GMO technology will be restricted.
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Old 11-15-2006, 12:36 AM   #5
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Absolutely, to be against the expansion of nuclear power plants (which cause no air or water pollution nor greenhouse gases) in the 21st can only mean one thing.

You're anti-science!!
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