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Ribbons & Rebukes

Ribbon for municipal meddling Most city council meetings center around standard parochial problems: leash laws, zoning ordinances, whether there's enough parking downtown. But the city councils of Oakland, California, and Boulder, Colorado, recently broadened their worldviews. Saying rising temperatures would irreparably harm their local economies, the cities sued the federal government for funding fossil-fuel development projects overseas without considering their impact on global warming.

Photo of a carRebuke for Caddy's audacious cad Is Bob Lutz crazy? The Ford exec who unleashed the first SUV on America is back, this time at Cadillac. His latest project: a monstrous, 1,000-horsepower, ultra-luxe sedan that's so proud of its gas-guzzling V-16 engine it's called, simply, Sixteen. If it becomes more than a concept car, Sixteen'll be the first V-16 out of Detroit since 1940 -- back when diabolical comic-book villains were the only ones melting the ice caps.

Rebuke for nuclear naïveté It appears the folks at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission really were born yesterday. How else to explain their recent decree that, when deciding whether to license a nuclear reactor, they don't have to consider how vulnerable it is to a terrorist attack? The commission said evaluating such risks is "beyond the scope" of its responsibilities.

Ribbon for corporate capitulation Two years after it was targeted by a coalition of grassroots organizations, office-supply giant Staples has thrown in the paper towel. The company has agreed to stop purchasing products made from wood cut in endangered forests and to achieve an average recycled content of 30 percent post-consumer waste in all of its paper products. (Staples says the number is currently "in the single digits.") No word yet on whether OfficeMax, Office Depot, et al. plan to follow. -- Jason Best

Photo: AP Photo/Paul Sancya

OnEarth. Spring 2003
Copyright 2003 by the Natural Resources Defense Council