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Sierra magazine
Up to Speed: Two Months, One Page

President Barack Obama's 2010 budget provides $178 million for comprehensive sex education while nixing funding for abstinence-only programs.

Young mother Bristol Palin tells People magazine that "if girls realized the consequences of sex, nobody would be having sex. Trust me. Nobody."

After Obama and U.S. automakers agree to increase U.S. fuel-economy averages to 35.5 mpg by 2016, China says it will increase its fuel standard to 42.2 mpg by 2015.

Obama eliminates funding for the development of hydrogen fuel cell cars.

Of the hundreds of hydrogen fueling stations California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) promised for his state by 2010, only 25 are in operation.

Even if they can find fuel, Californians May Not be driving their hydrogen cars to state parks--Schwarzenegger proposes closing 11 of them because of the state's budget crisis.

The EPA issues a final ban of the pesticide carbofuran, which has killed millions of wild birds since its introduction in 1967.

For the first time since Superfund's creation in 1980, the EPA declares a public health emergency--in Libby, Montana, where hundreds of people have died from lung disease caused by asbestos from a mine operated by W. R. Grace and Company.

Twenty-five years after a 197-mile stretch of the Hudson River was declared a Superfund site, dredging starts to remove 124 tons of highly toxic PCB. General Electric, which dumped the chemical into the river over 30 years, is footing the bill.

The Supreme Court rules that the Clean Water Act allows Couer Alaska's Kensington gold mine to dump its toxic tailings in Lower Slate Lake, killing everything in it.

Royal Dutch Shell finally settles a long-running suit with the son of Nigerian environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and others over the 1995 executions of Saro-Wiwa and eight additional Ogoni leaders who protested oil drilling in the Niger Delta. Shell will pay damages of $15.5 million.

After having been locally exterminated by hunting prior to the 1965 international whaling ban, blue whales return to the waters off British Columbia and Alaska. Optimistic explanation: Their numbers are increasing. Pessimistic explanation: Krill are shifting north because of global warming.

Good news for bouillabaisse lovers: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declares stocks of two species of Atlantic monkfish to be fully recovered and ready for sustainable fishing.

The GOP unveils its energy policy, calling for increased oil drilling and 100 new nuclear plants by 2029. "The impact of greenhouse gas on any species of fish or wildlife or plant," the party notes, "shall not be considered for any purpose in the implementation of this Act."

Representative Joe Barton (R-Tex.) argues against classifying carbon dioxide as a pollutant: "It's in your Dr Pepper."

A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 40 percent of Americans think global warming is caused by "long-term planetary trends."

Of the 17 major countries in National Geographic's "Greendex" survey of sustainable consumption, the United States ranks dead last.

Yet, in the first quarter of 2009, more bicycles are sold in the United States than cars.

Climate scientist James Hansen and actress Daryl Hannah are arrested while protesting mountaintop-removal coal mining near a Massey Energy plant in West Virginia.

The Supreme Court rules that a West Virginia judge, whom Massey Energy spent $3 million to get elected, should not have been allowed to overturn a $50 million verdict against the Company.

West Virginia declares coal its state rock. — Paul Rauber


 

Photos and illustrations, from top: iStockphoto/digital_eye, iStockphoto/andrew_howe, iStockphoto/oscargalway, Lori Eanes, i/Stockphoto/emferr

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