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Carl Pope

Carl's new weblog:
Taking the Initiative.

Field Notes Archive

Which is worst?
Vote for the Bush administration's
biggest folly!

Carl Pope's Field Notes

Flat Out for 70 Days
17, 2004

From now until election day, we're all going to go flat out to reach environmentalists with a single message: You've got the power, but you've got to use it. The new issue of SIERRA magazine is a perfect illustration. The magazine, which gets to me a few days before it hits member mail-boxes, has a cover featuring a red and blue voting booth in the woods with a hiking-boot-clad voter inside. And inside is the greatest in-depth political coverage in our history. My favorite article is a series of imagined scenarios of a second Bush administration, envisaged by folks like Robert Reich, Lois Gibbs, Robert Bullard, and George Miller. The scariest -- a Richard Lazarus scenario of the Supreme Court ruling, 7-2, in favor of Interior Secretary Gale Norton's "right to pollute." The funniest -- Gus Speth's guess that Bush might walk away from international engagement altogether, leading SIERRA's editors to supply the headline, "UN Building to Be New Trump Tower." I can see why Bill Moyers just wrote to us that SIERRA is one of his "must read" magazines.

This issue of SIERRA does a great job of delivering a message that we can't say often enough or loud enough -- care about the environment, then vote.

There have been a couple of quotes in the media lately that serve as a sobering reminder of how much is at stake this year. What's most striking is that most of us have gotten so used to this that we don't stop to think about how unthinkable, how inflammatory, quotes like these would have been only a few years ago.

In the New York Times Joel Brinkley quoted Ray Tyson, the head of the Highway Traffic Safety Administration on why the Administration has decided to keep secret information on consumer complaints and auto industry data on safety issues: "I can't believe this information would be of much interest to the general public."

And five days earlier the Times also reported on the efforts by David Lauriski, the head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, to allow increased levels of coal dust in mines. (Mr. Lauriski brought this idea to the Administration from his previous job, as the head of a Utah coal-mining firm. The Administration does, in fact, understand recycling.) Asked about the impact of allowing coal dust increases in the mines, according to the Times, Mr. Lauriski said "the coal dust measure would improve miners' health by encouraging the use of equipment to limit how much dust miners breathe."

Seventy days is seventy days too long.