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  November/December 2002 Issue
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NATIVE AMERICA
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Lay of the Land

Protecting Alaska's Tongass | 10 Reasons to Protect our National Forests | W Watch | Clean Air Act? | Jack Morrow Hills | Using Up the Planet | Bold Strokes | Children Pay Price for Pollution | Fuel Economy | Updates

Updates

Wrong Track
Bucking the growing public distrust of big business, President Bush tipped the balance of power on trade issues from Congress to corporations in August by signing a "fast track" bill strongly opposed by the Sierra Club. Also known as "trade promotion authority," the legislation allows the president to negotiate international commerce agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and then simply present them to Congress for a yes-or-no vote. Corporate lobbyists can still meet with (and influence) trade negotiators, but Congress loses the power to amend the final deals, making it harder for constituents to demand stronger environmental and labor safeguards. (See "Lay of the Land," May/June, and "Tricks of Free Trade," September/October 2001.)

Small Farms, Big Benefits
Biotech boosters would have us believe that growing genetically engineered crops is the only way to feed the world. In July, just one month after the United States announced a $100 million investment to promote biotechnology in developing countries, Ethiopia has proved otherwise. The Environmental Protection Agency of Ethiopia reported that the country is producing a surplus of food for the seventh year in a row–thanks to small farmers using traditional practices, few chemical fertilizers, and no genetic engineering. (See "Profile," July/August 2001.)

Nature Da, Drilling Nyet 
In June, Russia created one of the largest protected areas in the world when it put some 1.8 million acres in the country’s far east, a region eyed by oil companies, off-limits to all major industrial activity. Spanning an area larger than the state of Delaware, the land comprises five wildlife refuges that harbor brown bear, roe deer, and the Oriental white stork, among other creatures, as well as a natural monument created specifically to protect Siberian pine forests. (See "Where Nature Reigns," March/April.)

For updates on manatee protections, energy policy, and other issues, visit www.sierraclub.org/sierra.

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