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Good news and bad news from "Daily Grist"
by Tim Jones
04 August 2003 22:29 UTC
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04 Aug 2003
Environmental news from GRIST MAGAZINE

Warming Climate in Alaska Causes Headaches for Oil Companies

In an ironic twist, oil companies operating on Alaska's North Slope
are finding their work impeded by a warming climate.  The companies
depend on long stretches of hard freeze during which they can haul
heavy drilling equipment over tundra, but those cold periods are
shrinking.  In 1970, there were more than 200 days with adequate snow
and ice cover to meet state standards for safe tundra travel; in
recent years, there have been only about half that many days.  The
window for oil exploration on the North Slope "seems to get shorter
every year," said Jack Bergeron of oil company Total E&P USA.

Meanwhile, a serious heat wave that has beset much of Europe this
summer has convinced many that global warming is a reality.  Though
scientists remind people that a single natural event cannot be
attributed to climate change, Europeans can't help but think
something serious is awry when they observe the droughts, unusually
high temperatures, and forest fires that have spread across the

straight to the source:  Planet Ark, Reuters, Yereth Rosen, 04 Aug 2003

straight to the source:  South Africa Independent, Reuters, Adrian
Croft, 02 Aug 2003

from the Grist archives:  Power shift -- looking for leadership on
climate change -- a special edition of Grist

GM Crops Harm Neighboring Flora and Fauna, British Test Results Indicate

Genetically modified crops can cause more damage to nearby plants and
animals than conventional strains of the same crops, according to
preliminary results from British government farm trials.  The three
crops studied -- GM sugar beet, maize, and oilseed rape -- destroyed
more insects and weeds than their non-GM counterparts.  This would
seem to disprove the theory advanced by biotechnology advocates that
GM plants would interact with other species in the same way as
conventional plants and would have no effect on the countryside.  The
British government will use the final trial results in determining
whether or not to allow GM crops to be grown commercially in the
country.  Meanwhile, in the U.S., scientists are planting dozens of
research plots with GM trees, causing enviros to worry that the trees
could crossbreed with natural varieties and undermine ecosystem
health and biodiversity.  "It won't be as widespread as agricultural
biotechnology, but it could be much more destructive," said Jim
Diamond of the Sierra Club.

straight to the source:  London Independent, Marie Woolf, 02 Aug 2003

straight to the source:  Salem Statesman-Journal, Associated Press,
Paul Elias, 04 Aug 2003

Enviro Coalition Buys Out Large Grazing Permit in Wyoming

A coalition of conservation groups has agreed to pay $250,000 to a
Wyoming rancher to buy out her federal grazing permit, a deal that
will keep cattle out of a 137-square-mile area that abuts Grand Teton
National Park.  The land is home to grizzly bears, wolves, lynx, bald
eagles, and numerous other species.  This is just the latest
incidence in a spreading trend that has environmentalists negotiating
directly with ranchers to remove cattle from public lands in the
West, where the livestock are accused of causing erosion, damaging
riparian areas, and threatening endangered species.  The U.S. Forest
Service and Bureau of Land Management lease about 250 million acres
for grazing at below-market rates that don't cover the cost of the
government program.

straight to the source:  USA Today, Tom Kenworthy, 01 Aug 2003

from the Grist archives:  Rivers of crud -- grazing saddles the West
with a heck of a problem -- by Susan Zakin in The Main Dish


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