Ordinarily, we wouldn't consider it newsworthy when the coal lobby stretches the truth (Clean coal? Pull the other one!), but the tactics used by Bonner & Associates on behalf of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity to attack the House climate and energy bill went beyond mere exaggeration. They faxed forged letters to Rep. Tom Perriello and others in Congress in an attempt to make them believe that Hispanic and African-American organizations in their districts opposed the bill. (Bonner & Associates specializes in selling the phony grassroots activism known as "Astroturf.")
In response, we've asked the Justice Department to investigate. We've also created a new group on our Climate Crossroads community to track this scandal. Join the "Pants on Fire" group, and we'll show Big Coal how easy it is to really come clean by confessing some lies of our own. Got a whopper in your past that you now regret? Post it to the group wall and you could win $1,000,000! Whoops, there we go again -- no cash prizes, but you might get a prevarication-themed book, DVD, or board game. Balderdash, anyone?
By now, you've probably heard that the government's "Cash for Clunkers" program has been wildly popular, with 250,000 clunker trades in the first week and last-minute action from Congress to fund another 500,000 trades. The program's primary purpose is economic stimulus but, according to figures released by the Department of Transportation last week, it's had real fuel-efficiency benefits, as well:
-- The average fuel efficiency of trade-ins was 15.8 mpg.
-- The average fuel efficiency of new vehicles purchased was 25.4 mpg.
-- 83 percent of the trade-ins were trucks.
-- 60 percent of the new vehicles purchased were cars.
If you're curious about how much money you'd save by trading up to a more energy-efficient vehicle, check out our Cash for Clunkers calculator, which gives you the answer in gallons of gas, carbon emissions, and cash.
Good news for campers, hikers, hunters, anglers, and all Americans who enjoy wild forests. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated the ban on development on over 40 million acres of wild national forests and grasslands. The decision finally puts an end to the Bush administration's efforts to open these natural areas to development and protects the majority of national forest roadless areas in the country.
You can show the Obama administration that you support conservation of roadless areas (including Alaska's Tongass National Forest, which isn't covered by this decision) by sending a message to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Let's secure permanent protection from development for the wildest and best areas of our national forests.
John Muir had a lot of good ideas, but one of his best was that everyone should experience the natural world firsthand. That's especially true when it comes to kids, but these days you can't take it for granted they'll ever get to climb a tree or wade in a creek. This summer, two of our favorite programs are helping thousands of kids discover the great outdoors.
Inner City Outings introduces about 12,000 young people to the wonders of nature through nearly 800 outings and service projects each year. Thanks to the program's volunteer leaders, kids from urban environments get the chance to hike, bicycle, backpack, camp, canoe, kayak, cross-country ski, river raft, and perform environmental service projects.
Operation Purple, which the Sierra Club supports through the National Military Families Association, offers a free week of summer fun for military kids whose parents have been, are currently, or will be deployed. This summer, 10,000 kids will attend camps in 37 states and territories. The program was recently profiled on NBC's Nightly News as part of its "Making a Difference" series.
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