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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

News Follow-Up

Air Date: Week of

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New developments in stories we’ve been following recently.


CURWOOD: Time now to follow up on some of the news stories we've been tracking lately.

(Music up and under: Allison Dean, "Update Theme and Stings")

CURWOOD: On the biotech front, officials at the highest levels of sports competition are concerned that athletes of the future may be genetically engineered. Research on animals already shows that performance-enhancing genes can be injected and made to work. Dr. Theodore Friedman will be a part of an upcoming meeting of the International Olympic Committee on this topic. He says mainstream scientists distinguish between using genetic techniques to correct a medical problem and using them to heighten athletic performance.

FRIEDMAN: Well, gene therapy is very promising. It's in its very earliest stages, and I think the extension to athletics is not ready, technically or societally.

CURWOOD: Participants at the meeting will discuss benefits and risks of genetic engineering in athletics, along with the enforcement and ethical questions raised by the techniques.

(Music up and under)

CURWOOD: In the latest hybrid vehicle news, Daimler Chrysler and the U.S. Army have teamed up to create a battle-ready hybrid electric truck. Based on a Dodge Ram, the hybrid pickup will help the Army save gas. Eric Emerton of the Army Tank Automotive and Armaments Command points out that the Army needs to haul a lot of fuel to power its fleet.

EMERTON: If we can improve fuel economy and enhance performance, we can reduce the fuel tonnage that we bring to the battlefield. And this would be a real leap in lowering the Army's logistics burden.

CURWOOD: The truck will also be used as an electrical generator in the field.

(Music up and under)

CURWOOD: The gas additive MTBE makes gasoline burn cleaner, but renders drinking water unusable when it leaks from storage tanks or spills. Republican Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire has introduced a bill which would allow governors to waive the oxygenated gas requirement in their states. Marty Hall is the communications director for the Environment and Public Works Committee. He says the bill would help states make a transition to other clean, safe fuels.

HALL: One of the things that we assure in this bill is that, regardless of the changes we make in the gas supply, there is no backsliding on the benefits to the air. So, we're not going to get the air dirty simply to clean up contamination. We don't want to trade one problem for another.

CURWOOD: The bill would also authorize $400 million for MBTE cleanup and storage inspections, as well as ban the chemical outright four years after enactment.

(Music up and under)

CURWOOD: And we've told you about various attempts to promote renewable energy sources, but this summer green power gains a whole new meaning in California. Every time Los Angeles Dodger Shawn Green hits a home run at Dodger Stadium, fans in the crowd will receive a prize pack that promotes energy generated from sun, wind, or water. They also get a free Dodger's cap in the most fashionable color: green, of course.

(Music up and under)

CURWOOD: And that's this week's follow-up on the news from Living on Earth. Just ahead: A word from you, our listeners. First, this environmental health note from Cynthia Graber.

(Music up and under: Allison Dean, "Health Note Theme")



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