07 Nov 2012:
Green Ballot Initiatives
Rejected by Voters in California, Michigan
Two closely watched state ballot initiatives endorsed by environmental groups went down to defeat on Tuesday, as voters in California rejected a proposal that would have required the labeling of all genetically modified crops and Michigan voters soundly defeated a measure that would have required stricter renewable standards on electric utilities. In California, Prop. 37 was backed by the organic food industry and consumer groups but faced rising opposition in recent weeks in the form of a $44 million advertising campaign funded largely by the biotechnology sector, including agribusiness giant Monsanto. While advocates said they have the right to know what’s in the their food, opponents warned voters that the initiative would cost families hundreds of dollars annually in higher grocery costs. According to the Los Angeles Times
, the measure was losing, 57 percent to 42 percent with most precincts reporting. In Michigan, a ballot initiative that would have required utilities to generate 25 percent of their power from green sources by 2025 also triggered a major advertising blitz by opponents, including the state’s large utilities, before being rejected by 64 percent of voters
. In San Francisco, voters overwhelmingly rejected an initiative that would have drained the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir
, a vast reservoir flooded in 1923 that provides water to 2.6 million people in the Bay Area. While advocates said the measure would be a key step toward restoring the Yosemite National Park’s Hetch Hetchy Valley, opponents said it would be impossible to replace the water source and that the billion-dollar restoration of the valley would have been too costly. In Longmont, Colo., voters approved a ballot question banning hydraulic fracturing within city limits.
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A three-part series Tainted Harvest
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The Warriors of Qiugang
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, winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, documents the work of African researchers monitoring wildlife in Uganda's remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Watch the video.