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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  May 2009

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE May 2009

Subject:

Re: Obama and the Environment

From:

mart <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 24 May 2009 20:17:36 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (430 lines)

saint clair is putting hisself out as some sort of protector of forests?  not not to mention j frank, who probably woulden't recognize a forest.  its just isnt ainty manhantann, being from montana.   

maybe st clair should work with cockburn-out on getting hisself another mercedes in the event of another war (it did help him with iraq) and stop the myth of global warming.  

sh-t.
--- On Sun, 5/24/09, Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> From: Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Obama and the Environment
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Sunday, May 24, 2009, 4:54 PM
> http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair05212009.html
>  May 21, 
> 2009
> 
> 
>       Obama and the
> Environment 
>       The Politics of
> Bait-and-Switch 
>       By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR and JOSHUA FRANK 
>       After
> little more than 100 days in office, the Democrats, under
> the
> leadership of Barack Obama, have unleashed a slew of
> anti-environmental
> policies that would have enraged any reasonable
> conservationist during
> the Bush years.
>       Take
> the delisting of the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes
> and parts of
> the Northern Rockies, which was announced during the waning
> days of the
> Bush era and upheld by Obama earlier this spring. About 200
> packs of
> wolves live in the northern Rocky Mountains today. But only
> 95 of these
> packs are led by a breeding pair of wolves, which is
> significantly less
> than half of what most biologists consider to be a healthy
> number in
> order to fend off imminent decline and long-term genetic
> problems for
> the species.
>       In
> Idaho, free roaming wolves have been radio-collared,
> allowing their
> human killers to track and gun them down by helicopter.
> Freed from the
> protections of the Endnagered Species Act (ESA), the state
> plans on
> permitting hundreds of these wolves to be murdered this
> coming winter.
> Only a few environmental groups have stepped up in the
> wolf’s defense,
> with the Center for Biological Diversity based in Tucson,
> Arizona
> leading the charge.
>       It’s
> not just the wolf that’s been hung out to dry. Shortly
> after Obama’s
> inauguration, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Commerce
> Secretary
> Gary Locke announced they were revoking an 11th hour Bush
> directive
> that weakened the ESA listing process. However, shortly
> thereafter the
> Dept. of the Interior refused to repeal a special rule that
> would have
> granted the polar bear protection from the impacts of
> global warming.
> Salazar said his agency does not believe the law was
> intended to
> address climate change, even though many policy analysts
> believe the
> ESA could be used to limit the issuing of permits for
> development
> projects that would potentially threaten the polar bear by
> emitting
> additional greenhouse gases.
>       "The
> Endangered Species Act is not the proper tool to deal with
> a global
> issue - global warming," Salazar said. "We need
> to move forward with a
> comprehensive climate change and energy plan we can be
> proud of."
>       Apparently
> federal protection should not be granted if the
> industry’s emissions
> happen outside the polar bear’s natural habitat. The
> Obama
> administration, under Salazar’s watch, is refusing to
> lead the way in
> protecting the bear’s dwindling populations. Of course
> the oil and gas
> cartels were unabashedly pleased with the decision. So much
> for
> thinking globally and acting locally.
>       “We
> welcome the administration's decision because we, like
> Secretary Ken
> Salazar, recognize that the Endangered Species Act is not
> the proper
> mechanism for controlling our nation's carbon
> emissions,” said American
> Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard. “Instead, we
> need a
> comprehensive, integrated energy and climate strategy to
> address this
> complex, global challenge.”
>       That’s
> not the only recent victory for big oil provided by
> Salazar’s office.
> During one of the most ridiculous episodes of the 2008
> presidential
> campaign, the strange tag-team of John McCain and Sarah
> Palin led their
> diminutive crowds in spastics of  “Drill, baby,
> drill.” Off-shore oil
> drilling and a new generation of nuclear power plants
> represented the
> sum total of the McCain/Palin energy plan.
>       Though
> it seemed like political comedy at the time, this strategy
> has now been
> at least partially embraced by the Obama administration. As
> the clock
> approached midnight on the final eve of the Bush
> administration, his
> Interior Department put forward a rule opening 300 million
> acres of
> coastal waters to oil drilling. According to the hastily
> prepared
> decree, the leasing was to begin by March 23.  Enter
> Salazar with a
> maneuver that is typical of the Obama approach to
> environmental
> politics. Instead of killing the drilling plan outright,
> Salazar merely
> extended the analysis period for an additional six months.
> The
> environmental lobby was given a procedural crumb, while the
> oil hounds
> still had its long-sought prize on the table for the
> taking.
>       Although
> off-shore drilling is so intensely unpopular in coastal
> states that
> even Jeb Bush stood up to his brother’s attempts to
> expand drilling in
> the Gulf of Mexico, Ken Salazar, accompanied by a consort
> of oil
> lobbyists, held four town hall forums this spring on
> off-shore drilling
> and left that distinct impression that he was leaning
> toward what he
> called a “comprehensive approach” to energy
> development, in which the
> oceans will be mined for off-shore wind, wave power and,
> yes, oil. This
> is proving to be an administration that doesn’t know the
> meaning of the
> word “no”.
>       Down
> in Appalachia things are not much better, where the coal
> extraction
> industry was recently given the green light to proceed with
> 42 of its
> 48 pending mountaintop removal permits. While Obama speaks
> out about
> the negative impact of the aptly named mountaintop removal,
> where whole
> mountains are blown apart to expose thin lines of coal, he
> is not
> willing to take on an industry that continually pollutes
> rivers and
> threatens public health.
>       “If
> you still have an Obama sticker on your car, maybe think
> about scraping
> it off and sending it to the White House with your
> objections,” says
> Mike Roselle of Climate Ground Zero, who is working hard to
> stop
> mountaintop removal in West Virginia and elsewhere.
> “Blowing mountains
> to pieces is a crime.”
>       When
> it comes to CO2 emissions, the EPA has also been more bark
> than bite.
> While admitting that greenhouse gases are a threat to human
> health, the
> agency will not necessarily move to regulate industry
> emissions.
>       White
> House climate czar Carol Browner and EPA Administrator Lisa
> Jackson
> initially said that such a declaration would “indeed
> trigger the
> beginning of regulation of CO2," but only weeks later
> Jackson reversed
> her belief that industry would be affected by the White
> House’s
> admission. Speaking before the U.S. Senate Environment and
> Public Works
> Committee, Jackson said on May 12: "The endangerment
> finding is a
> scientific finding mandated by law ... It does not mean
> regulation."
>       In
> fact instead of implementing real regulatory oversight to
> combat the
> alleged culprits of global warming, the Obama
> administration has held
> its campaign promise to tackle CO2 emissions by embracing
> free market
> environmentalism, i.e. cap-and-trade. Obama proposes
> reducing US
> emissions 83% by 2050 by essentially allowing industry to
> regulate
> itself by putting a price on carbon. But many say there is
> a reason
> industry isn’t frightened.
>       “[Cap-and-trade]
> programs have so many leaks, trap doors, and perverse side
> effects that
> they'll probably do more harm than good,” says Ted
> Nace director of
> CoalSwarm, an environmental project of the Earth Island
> Institute that
> seeks to shut down the existing coal plants in the US.
> 
>       “The
> illusion that a solution is in place will then prevent
> simpler, more
> focused solutions from being implemented. An example of
> this phenomenon
> is the sulfur trading system. Proponents of cap-and-trade
> point to it
> as proof that pollution markets work, but decades after the
> program
> went into place I can show you a big database of coal
> plants that
> continue to spew inordinate amounts of sulfur dioxide,”
> says Nace. “A
> simpler solution to the global warming problem would be to
> mandate that
> all the existing coal plants be phased in an orderly,
> phased manner.”
>       Not
> surprisingly, Obama refuses to consider strict regulation
> let alone a
> carbon tax to address the country’s big CO2 emitters.
> Instead, after
> intense pressure from the pollution lobby, Obama’s
> approach to
> attacking with climate change has been whittled down to
> nothing more
> than weak market-driven economics that can too easily be
> manipulated
> politically. Polluters will be let off the hook as they can
> simply
> relocate or build new infrastructure in places where there
> are few or
> no carbon regulations.
>       But
> by far the boldest stroke of this spring was Obama's
> courageous
> decision to zero out funding for the planned nuclear waste
> repository
> at the sacred Yucca Mountain. This vault on earthquake
> prone lands of
> the Western Shoshone near Las Vegas was long meant to be
> the escape
> hatch for the nuclear industry's most aggravating
> problem: where to
> hide the accumulating piles of radioactive material from
> the nations
> 104 commercial nuclear reactors. Sen. Harry Reid says Yucca
> Mountain is
> dead. So does Energy Secretary Stephen Chu. But Yucca
> Mountain has been
> buried before only to rise up from the grave. If indeed
> Obama has
> succeeded in killing it off, this alone will eclipse all of
> the
> vaporous achievements of the Clinton era.
>       Still,
> appraisal of the true meaning of the Yucca Mountain
> decision must be
> countered by the administration's ongoing promotion of
> nuclear power as
> corrective to climate change. Both Chu and Obama's
> chief science
> advisor John Holdren are pushing for federal subsidies for
> a new
> generation of nuclear power plants -- even though Obama has
> admitted
> there's no safe place to store nuclear waste. Even more
> disturbing,
> Holdren continues to hawk the fool's gold of the
> nuclear lobby: fusion
> energy. 
>       In a recent interview with Science,
> Holdren said: "We need to develop and deploy
> approaches to nuclear
> energy that can minimize the liabilities that have
> inhibited expansion
> of that carbon-free energy source up until now. We need to
> see if we
> can make fusion work. This is a quest in which I've
> been engaged since
> 1965. Again, I started [my work at MIT] in that domain. At
> that time,
> people thought fusion was 15 years away. Now people think
> it's 40 or 50
> years away. We need to shrink that time scale again by
> increasing the
> investment for making that domain." 
>       This
> means billions more for the nuclear lobby under the guise
> of research
> and development, the pipeline of federal subsidies that has
> kept the
> industry alive since Three Mile Island.
>       Then
> just last week Obama announced a sweeping overhaul of the
> car fuel
> efficiency (CAFE) and exhaust emissions standards, which
> have
> languished unmodified for more than a decade. These
> long-overdue
> upgrades will force car-makers (if there are any left five
> years from
> now when the rules are slated to finally kick in) to curb
> carbon
> dioxide emissions by 35 percent and hike fuel efficiency
> standards from
> 30 to 35 miles per gallon. While the proposal has been
> hailed as
> historic, it has plenty of drawbacks. 
>       For
> starters, the plan capitulated to automakers by endorsing a
> national
> emissions standard, which will likely preempt states, such
> as
> California, from adopting even more stringent clean air
> rules. Obama
> also gave the auto industry a few more years to come into
> compliance
> with these rather modest requirements. No wonder the move
> was hailed by
> traditional Motor City defenders such as Sen. Carl Levin
> and Rep. John
> Dingell.
>       Less
> endearing is the Obama administration’s relentless push
> to replace oil
> with biofuels, which will push marginal agriculture lands
> into
> production of genetically-engineered and pesticide
> saturated monocrops,
> scalping topsoil and draining dwindling water supplies
> across the Great
> Plains and Midwest. Overseeing this misguided scheme is
> Obama’s Ag
> Secretary Tom Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa who has
> long been a
> servant of industrial agriculture and the bioengineering
> industry.
>       Under
> Vilsack, the biofuels project is poised to move far beyond
> burning corn
> and soybeans for fuel. They want to chop down national
> forests and burn
> the public’s trees inside a new generation of biomass
> power generators.
> This insidious and little noticed program will be marshaled
> by biomass
> booster Homer Lee Wilkes, a little known urban planner from
> Madison,
> Mississippi. Wilkes was Vilsack’s surprise pick for the
> powerful slot
> of Undersecretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and
> the
> Environment, a position which among other responsibilities
> places
> Wilkes in control of the U.S. Forest Service. 
>       So
> look for to a new wave of timber sales on federal lands,
> sanctified in
> the name of fighting climate change, categorically excluded
> from full
> environmental analysis and enthusiastically supported by
> so-called
> collaborative groups who will be first in line to cash in
> on the
> lucrative logging contracts. Coming soon to a national
> forest near you
> for a return engagement: greens with chainsaws.
>       Jeffrey 
>         St. Clair is 
>           the author of Been
> 
>             Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the
> Politics of Nature and Grand
> 
>               Theft Pentagon. His newest book, Born
> 
>                 Under a Bad Sky, is just out from AK
> Press / CounterPunch books. He can be reached 
>       at: [log in to unmask] 
>       Joshua Frank is co-editor of
> Dissident Voice and author of Left
> Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush
> (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St.
> Clair, the editor of the brand new book Red State Rebels:
> Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland,
> published by AK Press in July 2008. 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 


      

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