R.I.P. The Global Climate Coalition, which since 1989 has been injecting a lot of hot air into the global-warming debate, has finally run out of steam.
The industry-funded association, created solely to attack the growing body of science linking industrial emissions to global warming, had an early membership that included Exxon, Ford, General Motors, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But as evidence mounted that greenhouse-gas emissions and global warming were linked, companies began to desert the organization. In early 2002, the misinformation machine closed its doors. (See "Lay of the Land," July/August 2000.)
DUMPING ON NEVADA Better known for silver mines and slot machines, Nevada may soon become synonymous with nuclear waste. In July, the Senate approved a repository at Yucca Mountain, despite the serious safety concerns of the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board.
Already endorsed by President Bush, the plan would bring 77,000 tons of radioactive byproducts from reactors around the country to the Yucca Mountain site, just 90 miles from fast-growing Las Vegas.
Environmental groups and the state of Nevada are mounting legal challenges to ensure that any manmade glow on the horizon is from the lights of the Strip. (See "Lay of the Land," July/August.)
FARMERS ON THE DOLE Senators from states large and small waddled away fat and happy from the federal trough after President Bush signed a six-year farm bill that dramatically increases subsidies for everything from soybeans and wheat to chickpeas and lentils. Even ginseng growers and catfish farmers got a piece of the action. The bill was touted as being good for all farmers (it raises subsidies overall by 80 percent), but in fact it mostly benefits corporate growers. Three-quarters of these funds go to the top 10 percent of large-scale farmers. Environmentalists won more than $17 billion for conservation programs, including a new "Grasslands Reserve Program," but were disappointed overall. (See "Lay of the Land," January/February.)