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Newt Gingrich explains why red staters must turn green

Gregory M. Lamb, Christian Science Monitor
In ‘Contract with the Earth,’ Gingrich argues that conservatives should embrace environmentalism

…Newt Gingrich, the fierce and incendiary conservative speaker of the US House of Representatives in the 1990s, has co-written a small book that aims to gently coax his fellow conservatives into the environmental camp. It’s OK to be green, argues Gingrich and his coauthor, Terry L. Maple, a former president and CEO of Zoo Atlanta and professor of conservation at Georgia Tech University.

A Contract with the Earth aims to play off the “Contract with America,” a set of political promises made by Gingrich and his fellow Republican candidates that helped vault the GOP into power in Congress in 1994.

But “A Contract with the Earth” is much less dynamic and bold than its predecessor. It seems more interested in being inoffensive than calling for radical change. Environmentalists may find its recommendations fall far short of revolutionary.

…Environmentalism needs conservatives, Gingrich and Maple say, because they are optimists, not doomsayers. “The environmental challenges are real, but our imagination and innate creativity give us confidence that humanity, against all odds, can and will prevail,” they write.

Liberals, Gingrich and Maple suggest, may have good intentions, but they’re still a bunch of gloomy sourpusses. That attitude is just not going to save the planet, the authors say. “Instead, joyful, inspirational, optimistic environmentalism,” such as that displayed by the Walt Disney Company in its operations, are what’s needed.
(18 December 2007)

Green campaign gains momentum on military bases

Dave Montgomery, Star-Telegram (North Texas)
No one would mistake them for tree-huggers, but America’s professional warriors are marching in step with environmentalists and conservationists, and green is rapidly becoming the “in” color, not just for the Army but throughout the U.S. military.

On Monday, the Air Force will dedicate the largest solar array in North America at Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base, on the same day that a C-17 transport plane is to make the Air Force’s first cross-country flight using a blend of synthetic fuel.

Giant wind turbines rise from the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Army leaders are embracing hybrid vehicles, fuel cells and other emerging technologies, to help troops on the battlefield and to curb fuel consumption.
(16 December 2007)

A very green year

Editorial, San Francisco Chronicle
It will take over a decade, but the country is heading in a new direction in the way it thinks about energy use and the environment. First the House and now the Senate have passed laws that boost fuel economy by 40 percent, the first such change in 30 years.

That’s not all. In Fresno last week, yet another court ruling – this one involving a landmark California law on tailpipe emissions – gave the state the power to set tougher limits. It was another legal vindication of efforts to upgrade clean air standards.

In far-away Bali, the same trend is at work. There, over 100 nations at a United Nations session are pressing the U.S. and several other holdout countries to join in a planet-wide updating of the Kyoto climate change rules.

There’s a clear trend here. Despite setbacks and delays, energy use, pollution limits and the 800-pound gorilla of climate change are getting serious attention and political support. Just a year ago, none of this was foreseeable.
(17 December 2007)

Former Massey exec tapped for DOE seat

Samira Jafari, Associated Press
President Bush’s pick for a top Department of Energy post is a former executive from Massey Energy, a company with a lengthy history of mine safety and environmental violations.

Bush this week nominated Stanley C. Suboleski to be the point person in developing policies related to coal and other fossil fuels.

Suboleski, chief operating officer at Massey from 2001 to 2003, continues to work as an independent consultant with Massey. The company faces an estimated $2.4 billion in threatened federal fines for more than 4,000 alleged U.S. Clean Water Act violations within the past six years at its West Virginia and Kentucky coal operations.

Suboleski’s nomination to be assistant secretary for fossil energy is drawing fire from environmental and other watchdogs, but the White House defended its decision.

… The coal industry would benefit from a voice in the fossil fuels office, which seeks cheap and efficient energy sources as part of its mission, said Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association.

“The fact that this man comes from the coal industry and presumably understands its importance to the economy is encouraging,” he said.
(15 December 2007)

Former CA EPA Director calls for tobacco-like lawsuits against petroleum giants

Marc Strassman, Etopia News Channel
Terry Tamminen, architect of California’s Schwarzenegger era energy policy, calls on state Attorneys General to bring tobacco industry-like conspiracy charges against oil companies for damage to public health, cites peak oil, discusses “feed-in tariffs” in an exclusive Etopia News Channel interview with the online television outlet’s publisher.
(18 December 2007)