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United States - August 29

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NBC, Pickens spar over foreign oil ad

Steve McClellan, Reuters
Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens doesn't take no for an answer.

At least he didn't when NBC -- and sibling cable networks CNBC and MSNBC -- apparently rejected his latest ad stating the case for the U.S. to decrease its dependence on foreign oil.

In the war of words that ensued, Pickens won his fight to get the spot on all three nets.

... A source said NBC initially rejected the ad on two grounds: controversial subject matter and failure to support the statement that nothing is being done to cut domestic consumption. "The ad is not acceptable for air on the NBC network because the spots address controversial issues and it is our policy not to air ads addressing such issues on our network," NBC wrote in rejecting the ad, said a source who read the letter to Adweek.

In addition, the network said the ad was not acceptable for air on the networks "because you have not established to our satisfaction that there is a reasonable basis for the claim that 'we are not doing a thing here."
(28 August 2008)



US study suggests high petrol prices leading to safer roads

Andrew Clark, The Guardian
Highways in the US are at their safest since the 1960s as the rocketing price of petrol puts a strain on America's love affair with fast cars.

The number of fatalities on US roads is on track to fall by 10% this year to around 37,000 - the lowest since 1961, according to research suggesting that deaths are plummeting as people cut out leisure travel, especially in the evenings, to save money.

When global oil prices accelerated during the spring, the number of fatalities slumped by 22% in March and by 18% in April, the University of Michigan's transportation research institute found.

"It seems as if we have changed our driving behaviour rapidly and drastically in the last few months," said Michael Sivak, a research professor at the institute...
(26 August 2008)


California moves on bill to curb sprawl and emissions

Felicity Barringer, New York Times
SAN FRANCISCO — California, known for its far-ranging suburbs and jam-packed traffic, is close to adopting a law intended to slow the increase in emissions of heat-trapping gases by encouraging housing close to job sites, rail lines and bus stops to shorten the time people spend in their cars.

The measure, which the State Assembly passed on Monday and awaits final approval by the Senate, would be the nation’s most comprehensive effort to reduce sprawl. It would loosely tie tens of billions of dollars in state and federal transportation subsidies to cities’ and counties’ compliance with efforts to slow the inexorable increase in driving. The goal is to encourage housing near current development and to reduce commutes to work.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has not said whether he will sign the bill.

The number of miles driven in California has increased at a rate 50 percent faster than the rate of population growth for the past two decades. Passenger vehicles, which produce about 30 percent of the state’s heat-trapping gases, are the single greatest source of such emissions...
(29 August 2008)
This has a way to go before becoming law, but the fact that it addresses access in order to cut driving is important in the US which has been built around cheap gas

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