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Friday Finds: Republicans Ruffle Some Feathers

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
15 July 2011, 10:56 AM
Conservative face off, hot climate deniers, big coal’s big misstep
The hunting and fishing crowd is increasingly unhappy with GOP efforts to slash conservation spending. Photo courtesy of eadmund42

Republicans cutting enviro bills shoot themselves in the foot
Republican measures to cut environmental programs that keep the nation’s air and water clean may prove foolish if they continue to ruffle the feathers of outdoorsmen, reports Politico. The angler and hunter crowd may typically swing conservative, but that could change if House Republicans continue their attempts to pull the trigger on a number of programs that keep wildlife intact, such as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act or State Wildlife Grants. Last week, leaders from a handful of conservation organizations like Ducks Unlimited met with top officials to make their case for restoring funding for environmental programs, arguing that the benefits of wildlife conservation go far beyond the duck pond, like cleaning up waterways and providing flood control for coastal communities. Though hunting and fishing types tend to be fiscally conservative, when it comes to slashing conservation programs that diminish the favorite pastimes of a large voting bloc, Republicans better think twice before going in for the kill.

Southwestern congressional climate deniers in the hot seat
As temperatures continue to break records in large swaths of the country, nowhere are congressional climate deniers feeling the heat (literally) more than in the Southwest, reports Salon, which recently profiled 10 GOP politicians who either deny global warming’s existence altogether, or man’s role in causing it. Leading the list is Gov. Rick Perry, who once implored Texans to “pray for an end to the drought" while 213 out of his state's 254 counties were declared “disaster areas.”
Also on Salon’s hot list is the infamous James Inhofe, a climate change-denying heavyweight who wins the category for most outrageous (and erroneous) statement by calling the Environmental Protection Agency a “Gestapo bureaucracy” in 2004. Meanwhile, his fellow Oklahomans have weathered 54 days of temperatures topping 100 degrees to date, resulting in ranchers selling off livestock too expensive to maintain.
Across the rest of the Southwest, Tucson recently went more than 80 days without rain while apple producers in Colorado experienced a sour season, losing more than half their crop yields during a drought. But despite the overwhelming evidence that these extreme weather events will only be further exacerbated by climate change, deniers continue to dig in their heels. Unfortunately, in doing so they may be digging their own constituents’ graves.
Big coal says inbreeding to blame for MTR birth defects
On the heels of a study linking mountaintop removal mining—the practice of blowing up mountains to get to their coal-covered insides—to a rise in birth defects, lawyers for the National Mining Association and others in the coal industry recently offered up their own explanation for the alarming number of birth defects in the area: inbreeding. Not surprisingly, the comment didn’t sit well with anti-MTR advocates in Appalachia, especially since the stereotype has long been discredited. The comment was quickly taken down after news reports of the incident sparked a public outcry, but luckily longtime MTR blogger Ken Ward Jr. saved the original posting. The recent finding, coupled with another study released this week that rejected the commonly held idea that MTR provides lots of local jobs, simply adds to the reasons why America must blow up the idea that MTR is anything but bad for people, bad for the economy and bad for the environment. Join Earthjustice in the fight to stop mountaintop removal mining.


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