Greenwashing Ford's SUVs

"The launching of the 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid this fall marks an auto industry first: the coupling of a hybrid electric engine, containing the most energy-efficient fuel system available, with an SUV, the least efficient class of passenger vehicle," writes Geoffrey Johnson. The Escape Hybrid won't do much to improve the environment, and Ford isn't expected to make money on it either. Johnson concludes that Ford, which has the worst fleetwide fuel economy of any major U.S.


Full Court Press Release

"Over the past few weeks of Presidential WrestleMania MMIV, the Bush campaign has fired off more than a dozen press releases about John Kerry's policies on energy, nuclear-waste storage, forest and water protections, and other environmental issues - a hodgepodge of smears, exaggerations, and obfuscations intended to besmirch Kerry's pro-environment reputation," Grist Magazine's Amanda Griscom writes. Polls indicate that swing-state voters are concerned about things like pollution and wilderness conservation, prompting the Bush campaign to "neutralize" the environment as an election issue.


Bush Administration Pressures EU On Chemical Rules

It used to be that the U.S. chemical industry lobbied lawmakers in Washington. Now the White House is aggressively lobbying on the industry's behalf in Brussels, opposing new European Union regulations on chemicals. The EU's proposed Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals or REACH would require chemical makers to publicly report the potential harmfulness of their products - both for new chemicals being introduced and those already available.


High-rise Blitz

Ed McGovern, a Democratic political consultant in the San Francisco Bay area, is helping local developer Glenborough-Pauls as the company fights environmentalists opposed to a controversial condominium project. The PR campaign, calling itself the "Know All the Facts Coalition," is using print advertising and bringing together union representatives, elected officials and government employees in an effort to stymie a petition drive that seeks to halt the project.


Terrorist Tree-Huggers

"One of environmentalism's biggest foes - Ron Arnold—is back, peddling the idea that environmentalism breeds terrorism," reports Bill Berkowitz. "Arnold is the same man who once bragged to the New York Times that, 'No one was aware that environmentalism was a problem until we came along.' He's been so successful, says one environmentalist, that he's now 'within striking distance' of checking off every item on his 'wise-use' agenda."


Auto Exemption

"A new series of whimsical public service announcements from the Environmental Protection Agency are lampooning the notion that cars can be made more energy efficient while the ads encourage conservation at home," reports Danny Hakim. The ads depict a wacky home inventor trying to make his car more fuel-efficient by adding a sail and "a helium tank with a bulbous hose ...


EPA's Election-season Roadshow

With election season in swing, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Mike Leavitt has taken his show on the road, visiting key swing states to hand out pots of money for environmental projects. "Leavitt's recent wave of swing-state politicking has won his agency the moniker 'Election Protection Agency' in Beltway circles," reports Amanda Griscom.


Toxic Rocket Fuel Is Good for You!

A report for the Urban Water Research Center at the University of California at Irvine (which is "funded in part by contributions from water utilities and other private sources," writes the Wall Street Journal) concluded that the rocket fuel chemical perchlorate is not as dangerous as previously thought.



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