A tale of two countries...Canada wins.

What a juxtaposition. On the same day, two large, North American centrist democracies weighed environmental legislation...

In this corner, is Canada, with some of the Earth's most beautiful virgin forests. Long a haunt of commercial logging, Canada has finally stepped up to the plate to protect its wetlands, open range and forests. Per the BBC:

Timber companies and environment groups have unveiled an agreement aimed at protecting two-thirds of Canada's vast forests from unsustainable logging.
Over 72 million hectares are included in what will become the world's largest commercial forest conservation deal.
Logging will be totally banned on some of the land, in the hope of sustaining endangered caribou populations.
Timber companies hope the deal will bring commercial gains, as timber buyers seek higher ethical standards.
The total protected area is about twice the size of Germany, and equals the area of forest lost globally between 1990 and 2005.
"The importance of this agreement cannot be overstated," said Avrim Lazar, president and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC).

  Tar balls coming ashore my native Alabama.

In this corner, is the United States. For some ridiculous reason having solely to do with protecting some of the largest corporations on Earth, the U.S. has a cap of a paltry $75 million dollars for oil spill liability. To put it mildly, the clean up of the spill in the Gulf could easily cost $10 billion. That limits BPs liability to less than 1/100th of a percent. The rest is to be shouldered by the taxpayers.
Naturally, this absurd limitation needs to be removed, or the cap raised, a matter Congress was to take up yesterday. But, per NBC News:

WASHINGTON - As an Obama administration official acknowledged lax regulation prior to the Gulf oil spill, Senate Democrats on Tuesday were foiled in their bid to dramatically lift a cap on oil companies' economic liability for spills.
President Barack Obama said he was disappointed that the proposal had stalled in the U.S. Senate, and blasted Republicans he said had stopped it.
"I am disappointed that an effort to ensure that oil companies pay fully for disasters they cause has stalled in the United States Senate on a partisan basis," Obama said in a statement.

So, there you have it. As Canada is trying to create sustainable forestry and ethical business practices to prevent an ecological collapse, American Republicans are shielding the 5th largest corporation on the planet; a company whose profits in four days could pay for the entire clean-up and mediation of the mess that itself created. Winner: Canada. Loser, the Gulf ecosystem, the Gulf economy, and the taxpayers.

What the fuck are you people doing down there, anyway?


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