Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes (D) is close to reaching a compromise with environmentalists who have sued state and federal agencies over air-quality concerns and kept metro Atlanta's $36 billion transportation plan on hold. To improve air quality, Barnes has proposed speeding up a $4.5 million study of the health effects of the city's air pollution, moving more quickly to construct high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, and creating stricter standards for diesel engines and utility equipment. An attorney from the Southern Environmental Law Center, representing several environmental groups, said the groups had agreed in principle to the settlement offer, but they were reluctant to walk away from previously filed suits over air quality, including a case now before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

straight to the source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kelly Simmons, 12 Dec 2000 THE SECRET LIFE OF BILL CLINTON In a blind rage provoked by last night's U.S. Supreme Court ruling favoring George W. Bush in the Florida election count, President Clinton signed off on more than a dozen controversial environmental proposals early this morning that had been relegated to the hinterland of his administration. Among other actions, Clinton provided national monument status to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, which Bush had promised to open up to oil development. He took action to declare SUVs illegal within U.S. borders and to raise the federal gasoline tax by $3.23 a gallon for the remaining 37 days of his administration. Clinton also went solo and ratified the Kyoto climate change treaty all by himself, declared environmental racism rampant in the country, and donned a hat with a solar-powered propeller on top. Aides say that they hadn't seen Mr. Clinton so angry "since that impeachment thing." we wish it were true: alas ... Who will be George W.'s top green officials? -- in our Muckracker column >