Energy Bill Redux - Election
Reform Task Force Appointed - Mexican Trucks
- GMO Summit Draws Protests - Missing
the Train - California Leads on Warming
Energy Bill Redux
On June 15, the Republican-controlled House for a third time passed
the flawed Bush administration energy bill. Nearly identical to
the measure the House passed last year, it would open the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, undermine key clean air and
clean water standards, funnel billions of dollars in government
giveaways to polluting industries, and do virtually nothing to promote
conservation or the development of alternatives to fossil fuels.
The bill is widely regarded as dead on arrival in the Senate, prompting
some to dismiss its passage as election-year showboating and a symbolic
way for Republicans to try to blame Democrats for rising gas prices.
Energy analysts say the bill would have little or no effect on gas
Election Reform Task Force Appointed
In June, Sierra Club President Larry Fahn appointed an election
reform task force to make recommendations on such internal election
issues as whether chapters, groups, or other Club entities be allowed
to endorse Board candidates and whether candidates be required to
have some membership longevity or Club experience. "The challenge,"
Fahn said, "was finding a mix of folks representing all of
the Club factions and stakeholders, who have wide Club experience,
an understanding of how the Club works, and the temperament to work
productively in spite of disagreement." The task force consists
of Susan Heitman, Sanjay Ranchod, Jim Bensman, Marianne Dugan, Chuck
McGrady, Charles Brousse, Ed Dobson, and Lane Boldman. Contact Chair
Susan Heitman with input at email@example.com or go to
NAFTA’s latest blow to the environment came on June 7 when
the Supreme Court ruled to allow the Bush administrations’
plan to permit outdated and polluting Mexican trucks on American
highways to move forward. Because Mexican freight trucks are generally
older and are not subject to the Clean Air Act and other U.S. clean
air laws, they emit more dangerous particulate matter and nitrogen
oxides than U.S. trucks. "The Bush administration has basically
told these old, polluting trucks that they can go ahead and mess
with Texas, New Mexico, Arizona—and the rest of the country,"
says Sierra Club International Program Director Steve Mills.
GMO Summit Draws Protests
Protestors demonstrating outside the world’s largest biotechnology
convention took over a downtown San Francisco intersection on June
8. But most of the protests during the 4-day conference were peaceful,
and much actual dialog took place between activists and conference
attendees. Activists contend that corporations are being improperly
awarded patents for plants, microorganisms, and animal and human
genes, and that some biotechnology solutions are being rushed to
market. The Club advocates labeling genetically modified foods that
are already on the market. For more, see sierraclub.org/biotech.
Missing the Train
The Club’s Challenge to Sprawl Campaign Committee has released
a new report, "Missing the Train: How the Bush Administrations
Transportation Proposal Threatens Jobs, Commutes, and Public Transit
Ridership." Since 1998, when Congress last passed a major transportation
funding bill, public transit ridership in the United States has
increased 21 percent, underscoring the fact that public transit
fuels economic growth and jobs, without the smog and other drawbacks
of building single mode transportation systems that put more cars
on the road. Bush administration proposals would take us in the
opposite direction. Read the report at sierraclub.org/sprawl.
California Leads on Warming
A new draft rule released by the California Air Resources Board
on June 14 would cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases
linked to global warming by as much as 30 percent over the next
decade. Seven Northeastern states plan to implement the California
rules when they become final. As The New York Times editorialized,
"given federal indifference, California cannot be expected
to refrain from acting on its own to address global warming. …Washington
[is] bringing up the rear of a parade it ought to be leading."
To learn more, go to sierraclub.org/globalwarming.
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