COAL MINERS' WATER: As part of its continuing effort to take the Earth down with it, the Bush administration passed a rule Tuesday that will make it easier for coal companies to dump dirt and rocks from mountaintop removal into valleys and streams below. (Source: NYT)

GREAT LAKES -- OR JUST SO-SO? The Christian Science Monitor reports from a bulk steamer on Lake Superior about the declining health of North America's freshwater heartland. The recently passed Great Lakes Basin Compact has many conservationists cautiously optimistic, but pollution, overuse and invasive species are still bearing down on the ecosystem. (Source: CS Monitor)

TOTALED: The Big Three are tapping into their nest egg beg more each day. GM's the most desperate, but together the three are asking for up to $38 billion of taxpayer money. "There is no plan B," says GM's president and CEO. (Source: Washington Post)

AIR FORCE: The White House is expected to give its approval to the first U.S. offshore wind farm as early as Friday, clearing the way for the 130-turbine facility to be built in Nantucket Sound. The company, Cape Wind, hopes to have the $1 billion project operating by 2011. (Source: The Boston Globe)

SUPER ANTS: The Guardian reports on the westward-spreading Lasius neglectus, an invasive garden ant that's pestering Europe with its enormous, multiqueen supercolonies that devastate gardens. Experts predict they're Britain-bound. (Source: The Guardian)

WHITE LEMUROID POSSUM: The rare Australian animal may be the first mammal to go extinct due to man-made global warming, according to scientists. Some frogs and insects have succumbed to the recent climate change, but the white possum -- which lived in fragile montane cloud forests but hasn't been sighted since 2005 -- would be the first mammal. (Source: The Courier-Mail)

BEAR MARKET: Knut, the German celebrity polar bear, will have to leave the Berlin zoo. The 2-year-old bear is outgrowing his current pen and the zoo says it can't afford new accommodations in the current economy. (Source: The Guardian)

Russell McLendon ( @russmclendon ) writes about humans and other wildlife.

The Morning Briefing: 12/3
Awry on a mountaintop; Great Lakes in bad times; the Beg Three still at it; wind farm gets OK; super ants to invade U.K.; global warming claims first mammal; Kn