Republican hounds are already after the Democratic fox. When presidential hopeful John Kerry told an online environmental news service, "That black stuff is hurting us," he went on to say that America’s dependence on oil is "hurting our health … cost(ing) us unbelievable security disadvantages … and contributing to global warming." Within hours, Reps. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., and Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo., fired back with a press release saying Kerry is "dead wrong." Said Cubin: "The American people deserve a president who isn’t hostage to the radical environmental community and who knows that what’s hurting us is red tape and frivolous environmental litigation — not American oil" (HCN, 3/15/04: Follow-up).

The FBI may have found one of its elves:In early March, FBI agents arrested a 23-year-old California Institute of Technology graduate student for torching more than $3 million worth of SUVs and Hummers in Southern California last summer (HCN, 9/15/03: Burning one for the road). A month after the incident, someone sent e-mail messages to the Los Angeles Times, declaring his affiliation with the Earth Liberation Front or ELF and claiming responsibility for the damages. The FBI has since traced those messages to William Jensen Cottrell, whose lawyer says he’s innocent.

It’s not the $64,000 question, but rather the $90,000 slogan. When the U.S. Forest Service released its Sierra Nevada Forest Plan in January, it neglected to mention that it had paid a public relations firm to help sell the plan — which calls for increased logging to reduce the risk of "catastrophic wildfire" on 11.5 million acres of national forest in California and Nevada (HCN, 3/1/04: Old-growth trees to fall in the Sierra). In an 11-page memo to the agency, OneWorld Communications Inc. developed the plan’s "Forests with a Future" slogan, outlined a strategy to prevent the public or staff from "impeding" the plan — and cautioned the agency to keep its strategy confidential because "members of the public who are not professionals in public relations or marketing might misinterpret certain ideas or concepts."
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