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United States - Dec 22

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Bush says nuclear energy 'best' for greenhouse gases

AFP
US President George W. Bush said Thursday that nuclear power represents the "best solution" to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and stressed he was serious about fighting climate change.

Bush said he told Nobel peace laureate and former vice president Al Gore that he takes the issue of greenhouse emissions "seriously" and that his administration was "developing a strategy that will deal with it."

At a White House press conference, Bush said his administration was working on climate issues from several fronts, including signing a bill making automobiles more fuel efficient, but said nuclear energy was another key.
(20 December 2007)


Big Oil’s Profit and Plunder

Ralph Nader, Common Dreams
While many impoverished American families are shivering in the winter cold for lack of money to pay the oil baron their exorbitant price for home heating oil, ex-oil man, George W. Bush sleeps in a warm White House and relishes his defeat of the Congressional attempt to get rid of $15 billion in unconscionable tax breaks given those same profit-glutted oil companies like ExxonMobil when crude oil was half the price it is today.

This is the same George W. Bush who, calling himself a “compassionate conservative” in October 2000 made this promise to the American people: “First and foremost, we’ve got to make sure we fully fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which is a way to help low-income folks, particularly here in the East, pay for their high, high fuel bills.”

So what did this serial promise-breaker propose this year? Mr. Bush wanted to cut the fuel aid program by $379 million! This entire assistance program is funded at about half of the $5 billion that state governors and lawmakers believe is essential to meet the needs of the six million people eligible to apply for such help this year.

Everyone in Washington knows that the big, coddled, subsidized oil industry has many politicians over a barrel. When it comes to oily Bush and Cheney though, the global melting industry has these two indentured servants marinated in oil.

Look at what ending regulation of natural gas prices has produced: prices up 50 percent since last year.

...Enforcing the antitrust laws and prohibiting organized speculators at the Mercantile Exchange from determining the price of an essential product like petroleum will bring prices down. But there is no action in the White House. No demand from the Congress.
(22 December 2007)
Ralph Nader seems to see Big Oil as the exclusive cause of high prices. Although the connection between Big Oil and the U.S. government is as close as Mr. Nader says, this does not explain why fuel prices are on the rise around the world. Would that things were as simple as Mr. Nader believes them to be. -BA


Lakota group secedes from U.S.

Bill Harlan, Rapid City Journal (North Dakota)
Political activist Russell Means, a founder of the American Indian Movement, says he and other members of Lakota tribes have renounced treaties and are withdrawing from the United States.

“We are now a free country and independent of the United States of America,” Means said in a telephone interview. “This is all completely legal.”

Means said a Lakota delegation on Monday delivered a statement of “unilateral withdrawal” from the United States to the U.S. State Department in Washington.

The State Department did not respond. “That’ll take some time,” Means said.

Meanwhile, the delegation has delivered copies of the letter to the embassies of Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile and South Africa. “We’re asking for recognition,” Means said, adding that Ireland and East Timor are “very interested” in the declaration.

The Web site for the declaration, “Lakota Freedom,” briefly crashed Thursday as wire services picked up the story and the server was overwhelmed, Means said.
(21 December 2007)
Also at Common Dreams.


2 Million Acres Proposed for Oil Shale

Associated Press
Federal land managers have proposed setting aside nearly 2 million acres of public land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming for potential commercial oil shale development.

The draft plan released Thursday by the Bureau of Land Management is meant to provide a framework for developing the region's large reserves of oil shale and tar sands. Except for experimental projects, there is no current program for commercial oil shale development on federal land.

Most of the nation's oil shale reserves are in western Colorado, southwestern Wyoming and eastern Utah. The draft plan also covers development of the tar sands in Uta
(21 December 2007)


Presidental candidates on 'the powers of the earth'

Editorial, Los Angeles Times
The fifth in a series of editorials examining American values and the candidates for president.
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Democratic states are usually depicted on political maps using the color blue, but a more logical choice would be green. On environmental issues, the Democratic presidential candidates behave not so much as individuals as they do a bloc; though they have subtle ideological differences, most are in lock step in their views on fighting global warming or reducing pollution. All are basically in accordance with the green orthodoxy preached by organizations such as the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists or Environmental Defense. As for the Republicans ... not so much.

The GOP candidates are neither as green nor as unified as the Democrats. In part, this reflects a split in the evangelical Christian community. Though the Christian right has set positions on many major political issues, it is deeply conflicted on the environment because the Bible gives no clear guidance on it -- both sides quote contradictory Scripture passages on mankind's obligations to conserve the Earth and its creatures. Hence, the most evangelically correct major candidate, Mike Huckabee, is a lukewarm greenie who supports capping carbon emissions to slow global warming but gives few specifics on how to do it. And then there's John McCain, who not only wrote a bill to cap carbon but has a video on his campaign website in which he criticizes the GOP for losing its way on environmentalism since Republican President Teddy Roosevelt founded the conservationist movement.
(20 December 2007)


As Bush signs energy bill, new issues come to the fore

Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor
Expect a political debate over how to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions come January, analysts say.
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... Issues coming to the fore as a result of the new energy law include:

•Climate cap-and-trade: Because energy use and emissions go hand in hand, the new energy law accelerates debate over regulating carbon-dioxide emissions across the US economy. Key legislation, such as the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, would require a cap-and-trade system to cut CO2 emissions 15 percent below current levels by 2020. The bill already has significant support and, despite White House opposition, debate over the measure is expected as soon as January.

•Climate tailpipe regulation: By year end, Environmental Protection Agency chief Stephen Johnson is expected to respond to an April Supreme Court ruling that the EPA has authority to regulate greenhouse gases. If the EPA grants California a waiver, the Golden State and 16 others could crack down on carbon-dioxide emissions from passenger vehicles - putting more pressure on automakers.

•Renewable electric power: At least 23 states are already demanding greenhouse-gas reductions through renewable portfolio standards that require utilities to get a portion of their energy mix from renewable sources. Although a national renewable standard for utilities was dropped from the energy bill, congressional leaders say it will be raised again next year.

•Wind and solar tax credits: Wind and solar industries are fighting to see vital tax credits, which were dropped from the energy bill, get tucked into other legislation. Without them, US production is likely to sag and big Japanese and German companies will grab a huge lead in renewable energy technology. Congressional leaders have promised action early next year.

•Critical technology acceleration: Given a boost by the energy bill, research funding for battery technology for plug-in hybrids will accelerate along with research into cellulosic ethanol from noncorn sources.
(20 December 2007)

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