Anacostia River Still Needs Help

acrsnho travel down the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. is to journey through the dregs of the material world. Legions of beer cans and 7-11 Big Gulp cups line the banks, and shards of glass sparkle in the sun. Tires sporadically wash ashore. Even yacht clubs are affected.

The Anacostia begins inauspiciously at the confluence of several creeks in a working class area of suburban Maryland and flows past some of the poorest neighborhoods in the District of Columbia. just above and below the District line, access to the river is restricted by barbed wire fences near the sprawling Potomac Electric Power Company and Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission plants at the river’s banks. A huge scrap metal company straddles the river.

“This is where there’s the highest concentration of pollutants. And they just wash down stream. You can almost draw a racial line across this area of the river. White people live above it and black people live below it. Ifs that blatant,” says Joe Lane of the Anacostia chapter of Earth First! Lane has led what he calls “toxic tours” by bike of the Anacostia.

For Robert …

Skipping Over The Guts – A Double Environmental Book Review

emThe question of what constitutes the environmental movement and its approach to the organization of society ought to be an area for fertile research and investigation. After all, the last two decades have seen the development of an elaborate environmental policy system and the emergence and recognition of large, national environmental groups as well as thousands of grass-roots groups. Yet the analysis of environmental movements and their ideas has remained relatively impoverished, often subject to narrow interpretation and argument.

Two recently published books, A Fierce Green Fire by former New York Times reporter Phillip Shabecoff and Green Delusions by Duke University professor Martin Lewis underline, each in their own ways, this problem of limited scholarship.

Lewis’ Green Delusions is a hard-edged, open-ended, angry polemic against what he calls “radical environmentalism.” Such radicals, according to Green Delusions, include assorted academic Marxists, ecofeminists, deep ecologists, social ecologists and eco-marauders.

Lewis’ mission is to thoroughly discredit eco-radicalism. At the same time, he also strives to demonstrate the superiority of a “Promethean” environmentalism capable of embracing capitalism and recognizing its unique abilities to develop a “technologically sophisticated, ecologically sustainable, global economy.” while …

Will Nuclear Energy Ever Work?

wneeThis year marks two decades since the Arizona Public Service Company placed its order for Palo Verde, the last nuclear reactor to be ordered and put into operation in the United States. The nuclear industry’s epitaph should have been written by expensive construction problems, safety mishaps, unreliable operations, reluctant regulators and investors, public opposition and the unsolved radioactive waste problem.

But with virtually unequaled economic and political power the nuclear industry is forging a comeback. “Today, the nuclear power industry, well-schooled by [its] experience, with a realistic sense of its strengths and weaknesses, stands at the threshold of maturity, ready for a new generation of plants,” asserts Richard Myers, a vice-president of the nuclear industry trade association, the U.S. Council on Energy Awareness (USCEA), in a recent issue of the association’s magazine.

In large part, Myers owes his optimism to the federal largess that has coddled the nuclear industry since its infancy four decades ago and continues today. “The nuclear industry would absolutely not have gotten off the ground without federal support,” says Steve Cohn, an economics professor at Knox College in Illinois who has researched the industry …