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Lay of the Land

Wind-power Politics | Roads to Nowhere | Consumer-product pollutants | Columbia River Swimmer | Pinstripes Against Pollution | UNESCO's Danger List | Bold Strokes | WWatch | Updates

Bold Strokes

Pit Stop
After 150 years, the gold rush has formally ended in the Golden State. By passing legislation that requires companies to fill and restore the excavations of metal-mining projects, California effectively made open-pit gold mining too expensive to pursue. The new regulation puts the kibosh on controversial efforts by Glamis Gold to launch a 1,600-acre cyanide-based mining operation on federal land next to the Quechan Indian reservation. Tribal leaders had been fighting the Glamis project for eight years, arguing that it would desecrate the tribe’s Trail of Dreams religious site.

In Praise of Finger Food
The U.S.-based industry publication Plastics News calls Taiwan’s recent ban on free disposable tableware and plastic bags "wrongheaded." But 80 percent of Taiwan’s 23 million residents think it’s a capital idea. In January, in an effort to curb the appetite for throwaway plastic, the head of Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Agency began requiring restaurants, supermarkets, and convenience stores to charge customers for disposable utensils and bags. And it’s working: Agency officials say initial results show a 92 percent reduction in use of these products.

Pounds of Prevention
State and local agencies have been taking a big bite out of U.S. pollution. A ten-year study by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable, funded in part by the EPA, found that between 1990 and 2000, efforts at the state and local level reduced pollutants by 167 billion pounds and conserved 4 billion gallons of water.

In 1998 alone, agencies reported saving $256 million through pollution-prevention programs, which include conserving wetlands, helping agriculture reduce chemical use, and promoting upgrades of industrial technology.
–Marilyn Berlin Snell

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