Harmful to Labor
In September, Good Jobs First released "Labor Leaders As Smart Growth
Advocates," a 50-state study which finds that not a single state coordinates
its economic development spending with public transportation. Based on interviews
with labor federation leaders, the report documents serious problems caused
by suburban sprawl and advocates urban reinvestment ("smart-growth")
policies. Many of the labor leaders interviewed for the report have worked
in coalitions with environmental groups and see sprawl as causing cumulative
harm to union members. To read the report, go to www.goodjobsfirst.org.
Takes a Hit
In August, the Bush administration
rolled back clean air enforcement rules for the nation’s oldest and dirtiest
power plants, relaxing the New Source Review provision of the Clean Air Act.
For the first time, thousands of aging coal-fired power plants, oil refineries,
and factories will be allowed to upgrade their facilities and extend their operational
lives without having to install new anti-pollution equipment as previously required.
The new rule was hailed by industry leaders, but environmentalists and many lawmakers
said the move undermines one of the few effective tools available to government
officials to crack down on industrial polluters. To read more, go to www.sierraclub.org/cleanair/news.
Talks in Cancun, Mexico, on a new world trade agreement collapsed in September
when delegates from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean walked out, accusing wealthy
nations of bullying tactics and failing to compromise on agriculture and investment
policies. The breakdown of the World Trade Organization talks makes it nearly
impossible for the agency to reach its goal of crafting a new global trade
treaty by next year, and came as an embarrassment for the Bush administration,
which has promoted the WTO as an engine of global growth. The Sierra Club has
argued that the WTO puts the interests of corporations above the interests
of working families and environmental protections. To learn more about the
Club’s position, go to www.sierraclub.org/trade.
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