Sierra Magazine

Lay of the Land

Assault on Environmental Regulations | The Power of Protest | Power Plant Emissions | Golden Eagles and the Arctic Wildlife Refuge | Hear-No-Evil Department | Bold Strokes | WWatch | Updates

Keeping tabs on the Bush administration

Who’s Who
Representative Richard Pombo (R-Calif.)

Job: As chair of the House Resources Committee, which oversees 700 million acres of public lands, Pombo is implementing the administration’s log-and-drill agenda.

Experience: Fourth-generation rancher and six-term congressional representative.

Claims to fame: Tried to repeal pesticide regulations and gut the Endangered Species Act. Penned the 1996 anti-regulatory book This Land Is Our Land: How to End the War on Private Property, which Newt Gingrich heralded as "a wake-up call for every American."

Quote: "Like many other conservation laws, [the Endangered Species Act] has become outdated and outmoded by advances in science and technology."

Tuna Meltdown
What does George W. Bush have against Flipper? In December, the administration determined that trapping dolphins while netting tuna does not significantly harm dolphin populations. The ruling clears the way for Mexican fishermen to slap "dolphin safe" labels on tuna they send to the U.S. market as long as they employ independent on-vessel observers to certify that no dolphins are killed or injured during a tuna catch.

Environmentalists, who have filed suit to block the new rule, argue that monitoring at sea is inadequate, that dolphin stocks need years to recover, and that "encirclement" with nets depletes populations by separating calves from mothers and causing stress-related death.

Others aren’t eager to get involved in Bush’s food fight: National grocery chain Safeway and the three largest U.S. tuna companies–StarKist, Bumble Bee, and Chicken of the Sea–realize it’s a PR nightmare to anger legions of dolphin-loving schoolkids armed with lunchpails. They have pledged to adhere to the older, stricter dolphin-safe rules. –Reed McManus

For The Record


–President Bush’s nickname for environmentalists, as revealed in former speechwriter David Frum’s The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush.

A Better Way
The Empire State Strikes Back

If New York were a country, it would boast the world’s ninth-largest economy. Each year, it spends $38 billion on energy alone. So when Republican Governor George Pataki announced early this year that he wants the Empire State to be "a national leader in renewable-energy usage," people noticed. Pataki’s "renewable-energy standard" will require that one-quarter of all electricity sold in New York come from renewable energy sources within the next ten years. Twelve other states also have renewable-energy standards, but New York bests them all.

The Bush administration, on the other hand, opposes requiring utilities to buy energy from renewable sources. While Bush’s latest budget plan increases funding for hydrogen research, it does so at the expense of wind, geothermal, and bioenergy research, and virtually eliminates $23 million in grants and loans to farmers, ranchers, and small businesses for renewable-energy projects. –Reed McManus

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