BlueHummingbird News - Archive

7/6/2001  from AP:
                        Bush Wants to Cut Global Warming Aid
                              Friday, July 6, 2001
                              WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush, after faulting
                              the Kyoto climate treaty for excluding developing
                              nations from its requirements, wants to cut U.S.
                              aid for helping Third World countries combat
                              global warming. ...

7/23/2001  from Reuters:               
                        World Clinches Climate Deal, U.S. Isolated
                        By Matt Daily
                        Monday July 23 11:56 AM ET
                        BONN, Germany (Reuters) - Ministers from nearly 200
                        countries clinched a historic deal Monday that should
                        force most rich industrial nations to curb the air
                        pollution blamed for global warming, but left the United
                        States isolated. ...
                        In the end, not one of the 180 or so states present
                        voiced objections to the final compromise, not even the
                        United States -- though Washington repeated that it will
                        not ratify the pact. ...

11/10/2001  from AP:
                        165 Countries Approve Kyoto Rules
                        By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer
                        Updated: Sat, Nov 10 3:51 PM EST
                        MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) - International delegates agreed
                        on Saturday to the first-ever rules aimed at stopping
                        global warming - a pact the United States, the world's
                        biggest polluter, has rejected.
                        Negotiators meeting in Marrakech, Morocco emerged from
                        more than 19 hours of haggling behind closed doors early
                        Saturday and said they had smoothed over differences in
                        how to enforce the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which calls for
                        cuts in carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases"
                        suspected in global warming. "I'm tired, but it was
                        worth it," Canadian Environment Minister David Anderson
                        All 165 participating countries approved the full set of
                        rules later Saturday morning. ...

                        U.S. Reports Sharp Rise in Emissions
                        By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer
                        Updated: Sat, Nov 10 6:33 AM EST
                        WASHINGTON (AP) - The government reported a steep
                        increase in U.S. emissions of heat-trapping carbon
                        dioxide as international negotiators were wrapping up
                        talks to complete a global warming pact President Bush
                        has rejected.
                        The unusually large 3.1 percent jump in carbon dioxide
                        emissions in the United States in 2000 was the biggest
                        since the mid-1990s. At fault, the Energy Information
                        Administration said Friday, were strong economic growth,
                        more use of fossil fuels due to colder weather and a
                        drought that impeded hydroelectric power generation. ...
                        According to the Energy Department, the United States
                        released 1,583 million metric tons of carbon from fossil
                        fuel burning in 2000, or 47 million metric tons more
                        than in 1999. The 3.1 percent growth rate was the
                        biggest since a 3.6 percent increase in 1996.
                        Transportation, mostly exhaust from motor vehicles,
                        accounted for 515 million metric tons, or 33 percent. ...

1/8/2002  At The New York Times:
                        Regulators Urge Easing U.S. Rules on Air Pollution
                        By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
                        January 8, 2002
                        WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 - Top federal regulators have
                        recommended informally that the White House relax one of
                        the nation's most contentious air pollution regulations,
                        a provision that requires power plants to upgrade
                        pollution control equipment when they upgrade their
                        operations. ...
                        Among those pushing the industry's cause are Haley
                        Barbour, the former chairman of the Republican National
                        Committee, and Mr. Racicot, the new chairman, who was a
                        lobbyist at Bracewell & Patterson and said he intended
                        to keep his clients while in his new post. Mr. Racicot
                        has said that he met with Mr. Cheney and Andrew
                        Lundquist, Mr. Cheney's energy director, about new
                        source review. ...

From The NYT: April 14, 2002
White House Ends Environmental Fellowship

The Bush administration is eliminating a respected fellowship program for graduate research in the environmental sciences, administration officials said this week. The fellowship provides $10 million a year to students pursuing graduate degrees in environmental science, policy and engineering, as part of an Environmental Protection Agency program called Science to Achieve Results, or STAR. ...

From ENS:
JACKSONVILLE, Florida, April 15, 2002 (ENS) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued permits that approve limestone mining in at least 5,409 acres of historic Everglades wetlands in Florida. The permits will more than double the acreage covered by limestone quarries in a tract between Everglades National Park and the city of Miami, and the Corps has tentatively approved mining on another 10-15,000 acres. ...

From CBS News: WASHINGTON, July 13, 2002
EPA May Shun Clean Water Program
(CBS) The Bush administration has discussed reducing the government's role in a Clinton-era program spelling out state cleanup plans for thousands of lakes and rivers, an official said Saturday. ...

From August 1, 2002
Clearing the Air: Why I Quit Bush's EPA
By Eric Schaeffer, Washington Monthly

From The NYT: September 15, 2002
With White House Approval, E.P.A. Pollution Report Omits Global Warming Section

From The NYT: September 17, 2002
U.S. Will Get Power, and Pollution, From Mexico

MEXICALI, Mexico, Sept. 11 — American companies have long faced intense resistance to big new power plants from communities crying, "Not in my backyard." Now they have a big new backyard: Mexico. Here on the edge of Mexicali, a few miles from the California border, two huge power plants are rising in the desert, near a graveyard and a clutch of hovels. They will generate billions of watts for millions of Californians, a handful of jobs for Mexicans and pollution on both sides of the border. They are "what free trade is all about," says an official of InterGen, the company building one. But a California congressman calls placing the plants in Mexico a form of environmental imperialism. The plants will be the first of many built in Mexico specifically to provide power for the United States, says Mexico's energy secretary, Ernesto Martens. ...

President Bush and the United States Department of Energy had to issue special presidential permits for the plants, which will be powered by natural gas piped from Texas, cooled by Mexicali's sewage and linked to California's grid next year. ...

The plants will pollute the air and the water in California's Imperial Valley, a heavily Hispanic region north of Mexicali, according to local officials. But they appear exempt from the environmental laws of the United States. "Our Department of Energy said this project is not going to have any environmental impact, and we were screaming, saying, `That's garbage, of course it will,' " said Steve Birdsall, director of the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District. He said the InterGen plant would send more than 3,800 tons of pollutants a year into the air (Sempra's smaller plant will emit one-tenth that much). And he assailed InterGen for ignoring California standards. ...

From The NYT: September 19, 2002
Biggest Environmental Cleanup Project Begins at Nuclear Site
RICHLAND, Wash., Sept. 18 — After a decade of fits and starts, construction has begun on a $4 billion waste treatment complex at the Hanford nuclear reservation, the biggest environmental cleanup project in the country. Environmental advocates say the timing is none too soon. At least 67 of Hanford's 177 underground tanks, some of them decrepit and well beyond their intended service lives, have leaked more than one million gallons of radioactive brew into the soil. The waste has contaminated the aquifer, and the tanks are just seven miles from the Columbia River, which borders Hanford. "There's a lot at stake," said John Britton, a spokesman for Bechtel National, which was hired to rescue the stranded project last year after the previous contractor's cost estimates doubled to $15.2 billion. ...

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 11, 2002:
Environmental groups assail Bush on Glades
A coalition demands tighter rules for Everglades restoration and says its efforts have been rebuffed.
By JULIE HAUSERMAN, Times Staff Writer
TALLAHASSEE -- A coalition of environmental groups criticized Gov. Jeb Bush Thursday for the environmental achievement it once praised, the one he touts the most in his re-election campaign: restoration of the Everglades. Just two years ago, the Everglades Coalition gave Bush and his environmental chief, David Struhs, a Steward of the Everglades award. Now, the coalition says Bush is jeopardizing the $7.8-billion restoration plan. They say the state has refused to write tight rules to ensure that water goes to natural systems before it is used for agriculture and growth. ...

From The New Yorker: Issue of 2002-11-18, Posted 2002-11-11
by Elizabeth Kolbert

From Earthjustice: November 22nd, 2002
Bush Administration Moves to Weaken Clean Air Protections, Corporate Campaign Contributors Reap the Benefits

From Friday, November 22, 2002
New Administration Rollbacks Of the Clean Air Act and “New Source Review"

From U.S. Newswire: 22 Nov 11:23
Trust Blasts Bush Move To Weaken Clean Air Act, Warns It May Be `Only The First' Polluter-Led Assault
WASHINGTON, Nov. 22 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The nonprofit Clean Air Trust today condemned the Bush Administration's decision to weaken the Clean Air Act. "It is no coincidence this decision was delayed until after the recent elections," said Frank O'Donnell, executive director of the Clean Air Trust. "This may be only the first in a series of polluter-inspired assaults against our clean air and clean water laws." "This is the biggest regulatory rollback of the Clean Air Act in its history," O'Donnell said, adding that polluters see additional opportunities to weaken the Clean Air Act in Congress following the elections. Bowing to the wishes of big polluters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is weakening so-called "new source review" rules which require factories and other big sources of pollution to upgrade emission controls when they make a major change that could otherwise increase pollution. "EPA has endorsed this wish-list of polluter loopholes," said O'Donnell, who noted that the National Association of Manufactures has lobbied heavily for the new loopholes. O'Donnell said the changes "will allow big polluters to spew more poisons into our air." O'Donnell noted the changes have been opposed not only by public health and environmental groups but by state and local air pollution control officers -- "the people who really work at the local level to try to protect the air we breathe." The Bush Administration "would never have dared such a blatant rollback to repay corporate campaign contributors," said O'Donnell, if the public were not so distracted by other news. ...

From CBS News: WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2002
Suits Threatened Over New EPA Rules
(CBS) The Bush administration on Friday eased clean air rules to allow utilities, refineries and manufacturers to avoid having to install expensive new anti-pollution equipment when they modernize their plants. ... The long-awaited regulation issued by the Environmental Protection Agency was immediately attacked by environmentalists, state air quality regulators and attorneys general in several Northeast states who promised a lawsuit to try to reverse the action. ...

From MSNBC: Nov. 22
Major change is in the air for pollution rules

From Reuters: Fri Nov 22, 5:20 PM ET
EPA Wants to Relax Clean Air Rules
By Chris Baltimore
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration on Friday proposed relaxing clean air rules to help old coal-fired power plants avoid costly pollution controls, a plan that New York state immediately said it would challenge in federal court to protect the public health. ...

From The NYT: November 22, 2002
U.S. Eases Pollution Rules to Spur Work on Power Plants

From The NYT: November 22, 2002
Approval of Park Drilling Angers Environmentalists
PADRE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE, Tex., Nov. 21 — The Bush administration has approved the drilling of two new natural gas wells in this national park, which lies along the nation's longest stretch of undeveloped beach. ...

From The NYT, OP/ED: November 26, 2002
Every Breath You Take
Last week the Bush administration announced new rules that would effectively scrap "new source review," a crucial component of our current system of air pollution control. This action, which not incidentally will be worth billions to some major campaign contributors, comes as no surprise to anyone who pays attention to which way the wind is blowing (from west to east, mainly — that is, states that vote Democratic are conveniently downwind). But this isn't just a policy change, it's an omen. I hope I'm wrong, but it's likely that last week's announcement marks the beginning of a new era of environmental degradation. ...

From CBS News: WASHINGTON, Nov. 27, 2002
Bush Seeks Clear Path For Loggers
(CBS) The Bush administration Wednesday proposed new rules that would allow more logging of federal forests for commercial or recreational activities with less study of potential harm to the environment. ... "What you end up with are national forests that are managed totally and completely for the benefit of the timber industry," said Phil Clapp of the National Environmental Trust. "It opens the door to enormous logging, going all the way back to the bad practices of the last 40 years." ...

From AP: Nov 27, 4:34 PM (ET)
Gov't Proposes More Leeway for Logging
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration is proposing less emphasis on wildlife preservation and other environmental concerns when deciding how much logging or recreation to allow in the 192 million acres of federal forests and grasslands. ...
Eight senators and seven House members complained in a letter to Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth that the new measures "establish no minimum standard for protecting species, no rigorous procedures for ecological studies and, in fact, no solid protections for wildlife and environmental sustainability." The proposal would give local and regional managers of the U.S. Forest Service more discretion to approve logging, drilling and mining operations without having to conduct formal scientific investigations into their impact on plant and animal life. ... "It's a blatant effort by the Bush administration to boost logging and help the timber industry, which had a clear hand on the pen of these regulations," said Robert Dewey, vice president of Defenders of Wildlife. ...

From USA Today: Fri Dec 6, 9:57 AM ET
Developers rush to build in wetlands after ruling
Traci Watson USA TODAY
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Thousands of acres of wetlands across the country are being bulldozed or filled with dirt because of a 2001 Supreme Court decision that stripped them of federal protection. Millions of acres more are still vulnerable. When these swamps and bogs vanish, so does their capacity for preventing floods, cleansing water of pollutants and sheltering waterfowl and fish. The wetlands singled out in the court decision are ''isolated,'' that is, no channel connects them to a larger body of water. Wetlands are too unstable to support heavy structures. So a developer must fill a wetland with dirt, destroying it, before building on top of it. ''You're seeing a lot of good, isolated wetlands being filled and drained without permits,'' says Richard Mogensen, manager of Marsh Resources Inc. in Mooresville, N.C. ...

From The NYT: December 21, 2002
E.P.A. Opposes Plan on Runoff Pollution
WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 — The Bush administration said today that it wanted to drop a Clinton-era proposal to reduce pollution runoff into rivers, lakes and streams. ...
The agency said in September that more than one-third of surveyed rivers and half of all lakes and estuaries were too polluted for swimming or fishing.

From The NYT: December 29, 2002
Ranchers Bristle as Gas Wells Loom on the Range
" ... the Bush administration, in its aggressive push to increase domestic energy production, is on the brink of approving the largest-ever gas-drilling project on federal land. Here in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, the Bureau of Land Management says that early next year it will give final approval to the drilling of 39,000 wells on eight million acres. With natural gas consumption expected to soar in the next two decades, no one questions the need for new sources of this clean-burning fossil fuel. What alarms ranchers, along with environmental groups, is the hugely disruptive process of getting gas out of all those wells. It is a 15-year-old drilling technique called coal-bed methane extraction, which can turn ranches and prairies into sprawling industrial zones, laced with wells, access roads, power lines, compressor stations and wastewater pits. Stoking local outrage, the split nature of land ownership in much of the West, with mineral rights owned separately from surface rights, allows energy companies to operate on ranchers' land without their consent. Environmentalists also doubt whether energy companies can actually remove — in a way that is profitable and ecologically sound — the enormous amounts of methane that federal experts say is available in Western coal seams. ... "

From The NYT: January 3, 2003
U.S. Trying to Save Washington Forest by Cutting It Down
" ... The project is part of President Bush's "Healthy Forests Initiative," announced in August. After Congress balked at approving the plan, the administration — with several announcements in the last month — has been trying to enact core aspects of the program by giving government land managers more leeway. ... Typically, before the government may cut a stand of trees, it must solicit public comment and write a report on what impact the logging would have on fish and wildlife. The administration plan would suspend these reports in some cases, and would streamline them in others. Critics of the plan say President Bush is using fire prevention as a way to resume large-scale logging and get around environmental laws. ... "

From The NYT: January 18, 2003
U.S. May Open Oil Reserve in Alaska to Development
WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 — The Bush administration today proposed opening up part of the nation's largest remaining block of unprotected public land to oil and gas development. The proposal affects nearly nine million acres of the Alaska North Slope in the government's National Petroleum Reserve. Home to distinctive wildlife and tundra, the land is near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which the administration still hopes to win the necessary Congressional approval to open up to oil drilling. ...

From The NYT: March 6, 2003
Military Seeks Exemptions on Harming Environment
ASHINGTON, March 5 — The Defense Department is asking for broad exemptions from environmental regulations in an expanded version of a bill that was defeated last year in the Senate. The proposed legislation, introduced today by the White House, would give the military more discretion in activities that affect marine mammals and endangered species. In particular, the military is asking for exemptions from sections from the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which officials said would give needed flexibility to sonar and underwater bombing exercises. ... The Pentagon also wants to override current regulations that govern the disposal of hazardous waste and the cleanup of contaminated sites. ...

From The NYT: March 8, 2003
Oil and Gas Industry Exempt From New Clean Water Rules
WASHINGTON, March 7 — New clean water regulations requiring small construction sites to develop plans for storm water will not apply to the oil and gas industries, officials of the Environmental Protection Agency said today. ...

From CNN: Wednesday, March 19, 2003 Posted: 4:20 PM EST (2120 GMT)
Senate rejects oil drilling in Alaska wildlife refuge
Defeat for White House
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate on Wednesday narrowly rejected oil drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge, rebuffing the Bush administration on a top energy goal it had hoped to win with a wartime security appeal. Despite intense lobbying by pro-drilling senators and the White House in the hours leading up to the vote, Democrats mustered the support needed to remove a drilling provision from a budget resolution expected to be approved later this week. An amendment offered by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, to strip away the provision passed 52-48. ...

From AP at The Houston Chronicle: April 11, 2003, 10:46PM
Less wilderness land to get U.S. protection
Interior Department set to halt reviews
Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- The Interior Department intends to halt all reviews of its Western land holdings for new wilderness protection and to withdraw that protected status from some 3 million acres in Utah, it informed Congress on Friday. By suspending wilderness reviews, the department would limit the amount of land held by its Bureau of Land Management eligible for wilderness protection at 22.8 million acres nationwide -- a figure that environmental groups say leaves millions of pristine acres vulnerable to oil and gas development and off-road vehicle use. ...

From The NYT: April 21, 2003
Everglades in Peril
The most ambitious environmental rescue operation ever tried in this country — a $7.8 billion plan to restore the Everglades — is suddenly at risk. The reason is that one of the major players in the enterprise, Florida's politically connected sugar cane industry, wants to postpone into the distant future the deadline for cleaning up the polluted water flowing into the Everglades. And the Florida Legislature is poised to let the industry do it. This could mean serious trouble for an already fragile ecosystem. It would also violate the spirit of the federal-state partnership underlying the project and threaten the revenue stream on which it depends.
The project is the result of 15 years of bipartisan negotiation, with costs to be shared equally by the state and federal governments. In essence, it's a vast replumbing scheme aimed at rerouting one trillion gallons of Florida's copious rainwater to the Everglades, which desperately needs it. But fancy engineering will mean nothing unless the water itself is clean. The main culprit is phosphorous, which flows from the farms and sugar cane fields north of the Everglades, and which 15 years ago topped out at more than 300 parts per billion — 30 times the maximum amount that scientists said the Everglades could handle.
After much debate, the growers and other parties agreed to reduce that level to 10 parts per billion by 2006. Great strides have been made. But with the goal in sight, Big Sugar now wants to weaken the standard to a biologically unacceptable 15 parts per billion and delay the compliance deadline 20 years. A bill written by a sugar loyalist named Joe Spratt codifying these wishes is now sailing through Florida's House.
The person who can stop this bill is Jeb Bush, Florida's governor. ...

From Common Assets Defense Fund: May 2003
Riding high on public support after declaring victory in the War on Iraq, President Bush’s allies in Congress are rushing a destructive new Energy Bill through the Senate SR14. The bill includes a “Non-Conventional Fuel Credit” of $3 Billion that will help finance the drilling of more than 39,000 new wells by coalbed methane prospectors in the Rocky Mountain West. ...

From The Oregonian: May 9, 2003
Navy sonar makes orcas, porpoises flee
SEATTLE -- Sonar from a Navy guided-missile destroyer apparently agitated a group of killer whales and dozens of porpoises enough to send them fleeing from the waters southwest of San Juan Island. ... Use of Navy sonar has come under intense scrutiny since March 2000, when at least 16 whales and two dolphins beached themselves on in the Bahamas.

From The Seattle Times: Saturday, May 17, 2003 - Page updated at 12:45 A.M.
Six dead porpoises found since sonar test, NMFS says
By Peggy Andersen
The Associated Press
SEATTLE — Federal authorities have confirmed the deaths of six harbor porpoises whose bodies were found after a Navy vessel tested mid-range sonar in Haro Strait early last week. ...

From Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Ninety per cent of large fish in world's oceans are gone, study says

From the BBC: Wednesday, 14 May, 2003, 08:13 GMT 09:13 UK
Extinction nears for whales and dolphins
By Alex Kirby, BBC News Online environment correspondent
Some whales, dolphins and porpoises are now so endangered they could vanish within a decade, scientists say. The warning comes from an international group of cetacean experts at IUCN-The World Conservation Union. ... "Cetacean diversity, like all biodiversity worldwide, is crumbling ... " - William Perrin, IUCN ...

From AP: May 20, 2003
Fla. Delays Everglades Cleanup Deadline
By DAVID ROYSE, Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Jeb Bush signed a bill Tuesday that could extend the deadline for cleaning up the Everglades by 10 years, despite objections from environmentalists and a judge's warning that the law may violate a federal agreement. ...

From Reuters: Sun May 25,11:57 AM ET
Manatee May Be Taken Off Florida Endangered List
By Jim Loney
MIAMI (Reuters) - Even as an endangered species, with protections afforded only a handful of other creatures on Earth, the Florida manatee loses up to 10 percent of its number every year, many crushed or slashed by boats. Now a move is afoot to "downlist" the manatee from "endangered" to "threatened" in Florida, heightening a long battle between the marine industry and conservationists. A decision on downlisting by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission this week would have little practical impact on manatee protections because the lumbering marine mammal would remain on the federal endangered list. But manatee advocates say it would send a dangerous message to the public that the sea cow is safe from extinction. "The outlook for manatees is still dire," said Patti Thompson, director of science for the Save the Manatee Club, which fights to protect the estimated 3,000 manatees left in Florida waters. ... To be endangered, a species would have to face the possibility of an 80 percent decline in population in the next three generations, or 45 years. State scientists have decided the manatee could face a 50 percent decline in the next 45 years, making them "threatened," not "endangered." ...

From Common Dreams: MAY 28, 2003 3:31 PM
Bush Administration to Launch Attack on Essential Component of Endangered Species Act
Claiming Poverty, Proposal Would Gut Critical Habitat Protections

From The NYT: May 29, 2003
Money Gone, U.S. Suspends Designations of Habitats
WASHINGTON, May 28 — The United States Fish and Wildlife Service says it will temporarily stop designating tracts of land as critical habitats under the Endangered Species Act within a matter of weeks because the program has depleted its money for this fiscal year. At the same time, the agency said it would negotiate with plaintiffs and the federal courts to move back pending deadlines for designating certain areas as critical habitat. ...

From the San Francisco Chronicle: June 10, 2003
Bush plans to relax 'roadless rule'
Governors could get wilderness areas opened to development
Zachary Coile, Chronicle Washington Bureau

From The NYT: June 19, 2003
Report by the E.P.A. Leaves Out Data on Climate Change
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to publish a draft report next week on the state of the environment, but after editing by the White House, a long section describing risks from rising global temperatures has been whittled to a few noncommittal paragraphs. ...

By ENS Correspondents, Environment News Service (ENS): Tue Aug 5, 9:17 AM ET
One in Ten Tree Species at Risk of Extinction
CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom, August 4, 2003 -- More than 8,000 tree species, 10 percent of the world's total, are threatened with extinction, and the situation has grown worse over the past five years, according to a new report sponsored by the UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). "Towards a Global Tree Conservation Atlas," published this week, shows that 976 tree species are in a critical situation, and very few of these endangered trees are being conserved in the wild. ...
Destruction of woodland and forest and unsustainable logging of valuable timbers are causing the loss of many important species, the report shows. Professor Peter Ashton, of Harvard and The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, warns that in the tropics many rare tree species are already "functionally extinct." ...

From The World Wildlife Fund: For Release: 08/06/03
WWF Condemns Iceland's Decision to Begin Whaling
Statement by Richard N. Mott, Vice President for International Policy
Washington - World Wildlife Fund condemned the announcement by Iceland today that it would begin hunting 38 minke whales this month under the guise of science. The announcement comes just 9 months after Iceland rejoined the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which bans commercial whaling but allows for limited killing of whales for scientific research. ...

From Reuters: Fri Aug 15, 2:30 PM ET
Iceland Issues Whaling Permits, Harpoons Ready
By Gleb Bryanski
REYKJAVIK (Reuters) - Iceland issued permits for scientific whaling on Friday and crews onboard three vessels readied their explosive harpoons to resume the controversial hunt for the large sea mammals after a 14-year break. "We are issuing this permission today. It will authorize the catch of 38 minke whales by three vessels," Stefan Asmundsson, Commissioner of Whaling at the Iceland's Ministry of Fisheries, told Reuters. Iceland ceased whaling in 1989 under international pressure, but said this year it will catch 38 minke whales in August and September for scientific purposes as part of a plan to take 100 minke whales, 100 fin whales and 50 sei whales annually. ...

From The San Francisco Chronicle: Saturday, August 16, 2003
Coral reefs doomed, study says
Centuries of overfishing killing ecosystems

Keay Davidson, Chronicle Science Writer
Pummeled by overfishing, the world's coral reef ecosystems "will not survive for more than a few decades" unless drastic action is taken to protect them, experts warn. ... Historical evidence dating back thousands of years proves that overfishing, not recent coral diseases or other causes, is the main cause of the slow death of the world's coral ecosystems, marine paleontologist John Pandolfi of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and 11 other researchers say in the article. ... Coral reefs occupy about 0.2 percent of the world's oceans, yet they contain 25 percent of the species diversity," Pandolfi said. ...

From AP News: Aug 27, 9:34 PM EDT
EPA Exempts Plants From Clean-Air Rule
By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration on Wednesday made it easier for thousands of older power plants, refineries and factories to avoid having to install costly clean air controls when they replace aging equipment. ...

From News: Aug. 20, 2003
Bush's stealth attack on the atmosphere
The same administration that denies global warming now wants to dramatically increase the use of an ozone-eating chemical. Agribusiness is very happy.
By Glenn Scherer

From The Sydney Morning Herald: August 28, 2003
US Navy's sonar is danger to sea life, judge rules
By Kenneth Weiss
The United States Navy has been stopped from testing a powerful sonar system in most of the world's oceans after a federal judge ruled that the booming sounds used to detect enemy submarines could "irreparably harm" whales, dolphins and fish. ...

From Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service at NRDC: 9/4/2003 4:05:00 AM
Two EPA Officials Take Jobs with Firms Benefiting from Air Rule Change

From Reuters: Fri September 12, 2003 11:16 PM ET
Antarctic Ozone Hole Biggest Ever By Jeremy Lovell

From The Independent (UK): 18 September 2003
Temperature rise destroys Indian Ocean surface coral
By Charles Arthur
A rise in sea temperatures killed off 90 per cent of the coral reefs near the surface of the Indian Ocean in only one year, while the remaining 10 per cent could die in the next 20 years, devastating fish stocks and tourism vital to coastal economies, research published today says. ...

From The Observer (UK): Sunday September 21, 2003
Bush covers up climate research
White House officials play down its own scientists' evidence of global warming
By Paul Harris, New York

From The Independent: 21 September 2003
Bush steps up fight against European safety testing
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
President George Bush is mounting an intensive campaign to force European countries to drop safety tests expected to save thousands of lives each year, internal US government documents seen by The Independent on Sunday reveal. Britain, which has been generally supportive, last week denounced the measures as "disastrously wrong". The documents - which include diplomatic cables signed by the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell - show that the Bush administration has threatened Europe with trade sanctions if it goes ahead with the tests, which are designed to protect workers and the public from highly toxic chemicals. ...

From The Independent (UK): 24 September 2003
Climate change blamed as largest Arctic ice shelf breaks in two after 3,000 years
By Michael McCarthy Environment Editor
The largest ice shelf in the Arctic, a solid feature for at least 3,000 years, has broken in two and climate change is to blame, say American and Canadian scientists. The Ward Hunt ice shelf, on the north coast of Ellesmere Island in Canada, has split down the middle, and a freshwater lake held behind it has drained away, the researchers say. ...

From The Washington Post: Saturday, October 18, 2003; Page A10
Farm Dioxins Won't Be Monitored
Fertilizer Posed Little Risk in Studies, EPA Says
By Eric Pianin, Washington Post Staff Writer
The Environmental Protection Agency said yesterday that it would not regulate dioxins in sewage sludge used as farm fertilizer, citing new studies indicating that such usage does not pose significant health or environmental risks. ...
Dioxins, highly toxic chemical compounds generated by manufacturing or burning, are known to cause cancer and damage to the neurological and immune systems of humans and animals, according to government and private experts. Land-applied sewage is a major source of dioxin exposure in the United States, second only to backyard burning of plastics ...

From The NYT: November 15, 2003
U.S. Fails to Gain Exemption on Ozone-Harming Chemical
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov. 14 — Negotiators from the European Union and poor countries refused on Friday to exempt the United States from a requirement to phase out chemicals that destroy the ozone layer. The decision came at a technical meeting here on compliance with the sweeping 1989 environmental treaty called the Montreal Protocol. The American delegation had requested an exemption from the requirement that developed countries phase out by 2005 the use of methyl bromide, a fumigant used to control insects, nematodes, weeds and pathogens. The United States asked for permission to increase production of the chemical from the reduced level it had already achieved. ...

From Baltimore Independent Media Center: 14 Nov 2003
CLEAR LIES - the Dirty, Deadly Truth about the Clear Skies Initiative

At Earthjustice: November 14th, 2003
Energy Bill Threatens Air, Land, and Water
Corporate interests are biggest beneficiaries

From AP: Nov 16, 1:34 PM EST
With Energy Bill, Industries to Cash In By DAVID PACE, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Energy industries that have invested millions of dollars in lawmakers' campaigns would reap billions in tax breaks and potential new business from compromise Republican legislation. ...

From Reuters: 11.16.03, 1:27 PM ET
US energy bill would protect MTBE makers from lawsuits

From Reuters at Forbes: 11.20.03, 8:43 PM ET
US sets leasing plan for giant Alaskan oil reserve
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Interior Department will open millions of more acres in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, the department announced late Thursday. The leasing plan makes the vast majority of 8.8 million acres in the northwest portion of the reserve available for drilling. ... The reserve is located near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which the Bush administration had sought to open to drilling. ...

At ENN: Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Humankind's Closest Living Relatives on Brink of Extinction From UNEP
PARIS/NAIROBI, 26 November, 2003 - Twenty-five million dollars is urgently needed to lift the threat of imminent extinction from humankind's closest living relatives, delegates to an international crisis meeting on the great apes were told today at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Such a sum, says the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is essential for reducing the risk of extinction of the world's remaining gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orang-utans, and for establishing areas where ape populations could stabilise or even increase. ... The great apes are under increasing threat of extinction as the result of various human activities. Growing human populations encroaching on their habitat, civil wars, poaching for meat, the live animal trade, and, above all, the destruction of forests are increasingly taking their toll. ...

From Reuters: Wed December 3, 2003 02:12 PM ET
Bush Signs Law Meant to Thin Forests, Stop Fires By Christopher Doering
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Wednesday signed into law a forest management plan he said would reduce the risk of wildfires in federal forests but which environmental groups called a giveaway to the timber industry. ...

From Reuters: Wed Dec 3,10:20 PM ET
No Doubts Global Warming Is Real, U.S. Experts Say
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There can be no doubt that global warming is real and is being caused by people, two top U.S. government climate experts said. Industrial emissions are a leading cause, they say -- contradicting critics, already in the minority, who argue that climate change could be caused by mostly natural forces. "There is no doubt that the composition of the atmosphere is changing because of human activities, and today greenhouse gases are the largest human influence on global climate," wrote Thomas Karl, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center, and Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. "The likely result is more frequent heat waves, droughts, extreme precipitation events, and related impacts, e.g., wildfires, heat stress, vegetation changes, and sea-level rise," they added in a commentary to be published in Friday's issue of the journal Science. Karl and Trenberth estimate that, between 1990 and 2100, there is a 90 percent probability that average global temperatures will rise by between 3.1 and 8.9 degrees Fahrenheit (1.7 and 4.9 degrees Celsius) because of human influences on climate. Such dramatic warming will further melt already crumbling glaciers, inundating coastal areas. Many other groups have already shown that ice in Greenland, the Arctic and Antarctica is melting quickly.
Karl and Trenberth noted that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have risen by 31 percent since preindustrial times. Carbon dioxide is the No. 1 greenhouse gas, causing warming temperatures by trapping the Sun's energy in the atmosphere. Emissions of sulfate and soot particles have significant effects too, but more localized, they said. "Given what has happened to date and is projected in the future, significant further climate change is guaranteed," they wrote.
The United States has balked at signing international treaties to reduce climate-changing emissions, but the two experts said global cooperation is key. "Climate change is truly a global issue, one that may prove to be humanity's greatest challenge," they wrote. "It is very unlikely to be adequately addressed without greatly improved international cooperation and action."

From The Independent: 07 December 2003
Melting ice 'will swamp capitals' By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
Measures to fight global warming will have to be at least four times stronger than the Kyoto Protocol if they are to avoid the melting of the polar ice caps, inundating central London and many of the world's biggest cities, concludes a new official report. The report, by a German government body, says that even if it is fully implemented, the protocol will only have a "marginal attenuating effect" on the climate change. ... Global warming already kills 150,000 people a year worldwide and the rate of climate change is soon likely to exceed anything the planet has seen "in the last million years" says the report, produced by the German Advisory Council on Global Change for a meeting of the world's environment ministers to consider the future of the treaty in Milan this week. ...

From Reuters: Wed December 24, 2003 01:24 AM ET
Bush Policy to Allow More Logging in Alaska Forest
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - The Bush administration opened up undeveloped areas of the largest U.S. national forest to logging on Tuesday, scrapping a Clinton-era rule aimed at protecting the wilderness. The U.S. Forest Service announced that it will exempt the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska from a national rule prohibiting timber cutting in roadless areas. The decision means about 300,000 acres of dense, old-growth rain forest will be available for logging. ...

At Counterpunch: December 30, 2003
Time Runs Out for the Everglades By ALAN FARAGO
This has been a terrible year for the environment. In Florida, the fundamental balance has vanished that we hoped would protect the Everglades from the water demands of agriculture and Florida's exploding population. A 2003 review shows why those who care about the environment must direct new energy and leadership to Florida and to the nation. In Washington, key environmental laws are buckling under pressure from special interests. ... In 2003, Everglades restoration was dealt a crushing blow by an amendment to state law that gives the state and powerful campaign contributors a license to pollute the Everglades until at least 2016. ... The anti-Everglades bill had the full support of the governor and the loyalist governing board of the water management district. ...

NEXT Page (2004)

BACK to Index

Links to environmental organizations:

Natural Resources Defense Council
World Wildlife Fund
The Wilderness Society
The National Audubon Society
envirnomental defense
Defenders of Wildlife
The Cousteau Society
Friends of the Earth
The National Environmental Trust
Environment News Service (ENS)
BACK to News Index

by keywords:

(Opens in new window)
In Association with

BlueHummingbird's Blog
My News Commentary

Donate through PayPal
(Not Tax Deductible)

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More