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United States - Nov 20

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Dingell loses early test in bid to retain chairmanship of energy committee

Deb Price, The Detroit News
In a stunning setback for Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee voted Wednesday for his rival to be the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Dingell got 22 votes while rival Henry Waxman got 25 votes.

The final decision will be made in a vote by all House Democrats Thursday. The Steering group's nomination carries great weight historically.

The Steering and Policy Committee is a group of about 50 leaders, top committee chairs and others who determine assignments.

Waxman, a liberal environmentalist and aggressive investigator from California, is trying to oust Dingell from the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Waxman accomplished a first step toward that goal, but Dingell allies have furiously lined up supporters that they hope will be enough for him to survive the challenge.
(19 November 2008)
Related: US House panel backs Waxman as energy chairman (Reuters)




President for 60 more days, Bush tearing apart protection for America's wilderness

Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian
George Bush is working at a breakneck pace to dismantle at least 10 major environmental safeguards protecting America's wildlife, national parks and rivers before he leaves office in January.

With barely 60 days to go until Bush hands over to Barack Obama, his White House is working methodically to weaken or reverse an array of regulations that protect America's wilderness from logging or mining operations, and compel factory farms to clean up dangerous waste.

In the latest such move this week, Bush opened up some 800,000 hectares (2m acres) of land in Rocky Mountain states for the development of oil shale, one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet. The law goes into effect on January 17, three days before Obama takes office.

The timing is crucial. Most regulations take effect 60 days after publication, and Bush wants the new rules in place before he leaves the White House on January 20. That will make it more difficult for Obama to undo them...
(20 November 2008)




Obama brings US in from the cold

Leonard Doyle in Washington and Michael McCarthy, The Independent
Prospects for success in the world's struggle to combat global warming have been transformed at a stroke after US President-elect Barack Obama made it clear that America would play its full part in renewing the Kyoto Protocol climate-change treaty.

His words, in effect, brought an end to eight years of wilful climate obstructionism by the administration of George Bush, who withdrew the US from Kyoto in March 2001, thus doing incalculable damage to the efforts of the international community to construct a unified response to the threat.

The Bush withdrawal set back the international effort by nearly a decade – years in which it became increasingly clear that the warming of the atmosphere being caused by greenhouse gas emissions was proceeding much faster than UN scientists thought it would...
(20 November 2008)

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