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A cloud around the state's air chief

At the risk of oversimplifying, it is safe to say environmentalists always argue for higher standards. They are inherently positioned to oppose much of what goes on in the private sector. They assume that even the so-called clean companies have some environmental skeletons in their closets. Given the propensity of those on the green side to want things squeaky clean, it is more than a little troubling to find Mary Nichols, a veteran environmental lawyer and federal and state environmental leader, with financial ties that may raise more than a few eyebrows. She holds considerable stock in companies -- such as Chevron Corp. and coal giant Peabody Energy Corp. -- that historically have sat at...

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