The Forest Service is selling its final management plan for California’s Giant Sequoia National Monument as a compromise, but not all environmentalists are buying it (HCN, 6/9/03: Giant sequoias could get the ax). The plan would allow logging on 10,000 of the monument’s 327,000 acres in order to control future wildfires. Chad Hanson of the John Muir Project, an environmental group, says, "They’re going to prevent catastrophic wildfires by doing a lot of clear-cutting? That couldn’t be more non-credible."
The U.S. Department of Energy is looking to save big
bucks at New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
(HCN, 2/17/03: The Latest Bounce). Last year, President Bush signed
a law allowing the agency to relax its $3.1 billion program to
check the contents of radioactive waste containers before
they’re shipped to WIPP — despite a report by the
National Research Council that shows the agency never studied
whether such changes would affect "protection of workers, the
public, or the environment." The agency also hopes to begin
shipping waste in single- rather than double-walled containers.
What’s bad for wildlife may be
bad for farmworkers, too. Environmental and public health
groups are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for
approving pesticides that harm endangered species. The groups say
the agency is giving chemical corporations "illegal special access"
to the approval process. In a separate suit, farmworker unions are
suing the EPA for approving two pesticides, azinphos-methyl and
phosmet, that may harm not only workers themselves, but also their
families (HCN, 9/29/03: Harvesting Poison).
Environmentalists scored a victory when Congress voted to
keep drillers out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
But the refuge’s less romantically named sister, the National
Petroleum Reserve, is now open for business (HCN, 1/20/03: Refuge
back in the crosshairs). The Bureau of Land Management has just
opened 8.8 million acres of the reserve to oil drilling; leases
will hit the auction block this spring.