FROM Luke Popovich
Climate Change, Immigration Reform and California Today was the day that Democrat John Kerry, Republican Lindsay Graham and Independent Joe Lieberman were set to introduce a new climate change bill in the Senate. But over the weekend, Senate leader Harry Reid said immigration reform would come first. Graham called that a " cynical ploy " that would leave climate change with "no chance of success."
Senate Republican Goes Cold on Climate Bill Fallout from Arizona's new immigration law has already reached the US Senate, where Harry Reid now say it's time to deal with what is, after all, a federal issue. Republican Lindsay Graham calls that a “ cynical ploy ” to appeal to Hispanic voters, and he's backing away from a bipartisan compromise on climate change. Cut to California, where Texas oil companies are spending big money to repeal what's now the toughest climate-change law in the country. If voters agree in November, will the effort to curb global warming suffer a double whammy?
Coal: A Necessary Evil? Twenty-five miners are known to have died in this week's massive explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. The effort to rescue four men still unaccounted for may be a lost cause. Even before this week's tragedy, the Obama Administration took aim at surface coal mining with a new set of environmental regulations. The loss of human life in the Upper Big Branch mine will likely produce new safety measures for methane gas deep underground. The coal industry and miners themselves claim new rules threaten their economic survival. Can coal mining be made safer and cleaner, or does America's appetite for energy mean putting up with so-called "hidden costs?"
Energy Security versus Environmental Stability Just over 15 months ago, OPEC was worried that the price of oil would drop below $50 a barrel. Now, it's $110. With record-high oil prices overseas supplies increasingly uncertain, Vice President Cheney is expected to ask Saudi Arabia next week to help push the price down by producing more from its massive reserves. In the interests of energy security, the United States is looking to tar sands in Canada and development of domestic coal. But both alternatives are devastating to the environment, creating some agonizing questions. Can the US have energy security at the same time it tries to cope with global warming? Can wind, solar and other renewables be developed in time, or will there be a trade-off between economic growth and environmental destruction? We look at some of the contradictions that result as the US gropes toward a coherent energy policy. Download the PowerPoint presentation on tar sands
Leveling Appalachia's Ancient Mountains for Cheap Coal For the past 20 years, coal operators have been removing the tops off peaks and ridges and plugging up streams in the Appalachian Mountains, one of the world’s oldest ranges, allowing them to mine more coal with fewer people than they can with traditional mining. Today, the Bush Administration is issuing new rules for a practice that can change the landscape of southwestern Virginia, southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, and wreak havoc on fish, wildlife—and people. The old rules said mine operators had to prove they would not damage water supplies. The new ones say it’s alright, as long as they plan to make repairs later. We consider how the drive for cheap energy and oil independence impacts the environment and public health.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?