The Current

Obama releases more details about green stimulus plan

In yesterday’s speech at George Mason University, President-elect Barack Obama went into specifics about how he plans to boost America’s flailing economy and create jobs. If Obama gets his way, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will push forward a host of green actions.

From a transcript of Obama’s speech:

To finally spark the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double the production of alternative energy in the next three years. We will modernize more than 75 percent of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of 2 million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills.


In the process, we will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced, jobs building solar panels and wind turbines, constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings, and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain.

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Merkley and Udall join Senate’s Environment Committee

Even more environmentally minded politicians are set to tackle green issues during Obama’s administration. Yesterday, Sen. Barbara Boxer, head of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, announced that New Mexico’s Tom Udall and Oregon’s Jeff Merkley will become the newest members of the group. The new additions may give Dems a bigger majority in the committee.

From a Greenwire story (as quoted on

Adding Merkley and Udall suggests that committee Democrats plan to hold a three-seat committee majority over Republicans in the 111th Congress, though Boxer cautioned that committee organization remains unofficial pending an agreement among Senate leaders.


Democrats had a 10-9 advantage last year on the EPW Committee, a narrow edge that forced the majority to walk a delicate line when crafting legislation. Adding two more seats could pave the way for easier movement in committee on key environmental legislative items sought by President-elect Barack Obama.

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Study shows crops absorb antibiotics from livestock

Environmentalists and health-conscious consumers are always voicing their worries about antibiotics in meat and milk. But now these folks have even more reason to be concerned: A new study shows that antibiotics can also show up in crops like corn, lettuce, potatoes, and onions.

Unlike the European Union, which banned the use of antibiotics in animal feed in 2006, US farmers frequently feed their pigs, cattle, and chickens antibiotics in order to fend off infections and disease. When manure from these animals is used to fertilize plants, the crops themselves can absorb antibiotics excreted by livestock.


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Is Bush Repenting in his Final Fortnight?

For the past few months, the Bush administration has done its darndest to really stick it to the environment. From weakening the Endangered Species Act to allowing oil shale drilling near national parks to letting power plants pollute more, the 11th-hour regulations rolling out of the White House have been hitting the eco set hard.

But with only a handful of days left in the White House, Bush seems to be making an about-face. OK, maybe not an about-face, but an ever-so-slight veer in the right direction. Today, the president will designate nearly 200,000 square miles in the Pacific Ocean as protected areas. In other words, these regions will be safe from oil drilling.

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Environmental news you may have missed over the holidays

If you’re like most people, the holidays consist of two major, ongoing events: stuffing one’s face with delicious, seasonal fare; and washing that feast down with delicious, seasonal spirits. So if all that bingeing left time for little else (i.e. reading the news), fear not: We’ve got a roundup of the major enviro stories you missed.

 1)      Tennessee’s stocking gets stuffed with coal ash. Three eves before Christmas, retention walls failed at the Kingston Fossil Plant, releasing more than a billion gallons of sludgy, disgusting coal ash into waterways and properties. The ensuing media storm has examined the ash’s effect on residents and nearby waterways, questioned whether their can ever really be “clean coal,” and NPR even dubbed the event the “Exxon Valdez of Coal Ash.”

Continue reading Environmental news you may have missed over the holidays

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Issue 25

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