PLF WINS LANDOWNERS THE RIGHT TO CHALLENGE FEDERAL "WETLANDS" JURISDICTION
M. Reed Hopper, Principal Attorney http://www.pacificlegal.org
SACRAMENTO, CA; April 10, 2015: In a historic Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) victory for the rights of property owners — and for the principle of accountability in government — a federal appellate court today ruled that landowners have a right to judicial review when federal regulators label their land as “wetlands” subject to federal control.
The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals issued its ruling in favor of three property owners represented by PLF:
The Hawkes Co., Inc., Pierce Investment Company, and LPF Properties.
These parties own property in New Maine Township, Marshall County, Minnesota, which was designated as “wetlands” over which the Army Corps of Engineers has regulatory authority. The designation took the form of a “Jurisdictional Determination” by the Corps, holding that the property is subject to the federal Clean Water Act.
Overturning a lower court ruling, the Eighth Circuit agreed with PLF that property owners have the legal right to bring a court challenge to such a regulatory determination.
“This historic ruling is great news for everyone who values accountability in government and Americans’ access to justice,” said PLF Principal Attorney M. Reed Hopper. “When Clean Water Act officials assert control over someone’s private property, they should be prepared to defend, in court, their claim that the property is, in fact, jurisdictional wetlands. Their decisions should not be insulated from scrutiny and examination, as if the regulators were a law unto themselves.”
In litigating to hold Clean Water Act regulators accountable to the courts for their decisions about whether private property is subject to strict federal regulation, this case follows up on PLF’s landmark victory in Sackett v. EPA. In that precedent-setting 2012 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that property owners may appeal directly to the judiciary from a federal wetlands “compliance order.”
The case decided today is Hawkes Co., et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. More information, including PLF’s briefs and an explanatory blog post, is available at: www.pacificlegal.org.
About Pacific Legal Foundation: Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation is the leading legal watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, free enterprise, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations, in courts across the country. PLF represents all clients free of charge.
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HOW TO REPLACE THE EPA
By Thomas Lifson, August 12, 2014
Of all the regulatory deadweight on the economy, the Environmental Protection
Agency is almost certainly the heaviest of the federal government’s intrusions.
If voters should hand control of the White House and Congress to the GOP in
2016, structural reform ought to be the heart of the program to rescue America
from the disasters Obama and the Democrats have wrought. Part of that structural
reform should be replacement of the EPA with a more effective and economical
The Heartland Institute has put forth a plan to do exactly that:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a rogue agency that has long outlived its effectiveness and should be dismantled and replaced.
In “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency,” a new Policy Brief from The Heartland Institute, Science Director Jay Lehr writes,
It made sense for there to be a single national agency given authority to enforce the nation’s new environmental protection laws in the first decade of the 1970s. But by the end of that decade, the lion’s share of benefits from that noble experiment were already achieved and the states could have been, and should have been, allowed to play their intended role in implementing the new programs.
The study explains why EPA should be replaced and describes the steps needed to replace the agency with a better system.
Instead of attempting to reform EPA, Lehr calls for a “Committee of the Whole” of the 50 state environmental protection agencies to replace EPA over a five-year period. Lehr writes, “The Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental agencies would meet the needs of the nation more effectively and more efficiently than the national EPA. Fifty state environmental protection agencies with more than 30 years of experience have the talent to do the job without the oversight of 15,000 federal employees.” He notes, “It is, after all, well-known that government close to the location of the governed is best for all.”
Lehr concludes, “Authority [for environmental protection] should have remained in the hands of the states, where innovation would be rewarded and accountability to local voters and taxpayers was more likely to be preserved.”
Page reprinted with permission from the American Thinker: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/08/how_to_replace_the_epa.html
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FEDS DECLARE MOUSE
ENDANGERED, FAMILY MIGHT LOSE EVERYTHING
By Jonah Bennett, 07/03/2014
A family’s livestock
enterprise in New Mexico is in danger of being completely shut down now that the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared the meadow jumping mouse to be an
endangered species, Watchdog reports.
The new regulations came into effect from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last month, and as a result, the U.S. Forest Service is considering installing 8-foot high fences to protect the mouse, which would permanently prevent the Lucero family’s livestock from grazing.
The family is already in possession of grazing permits from the federal government, but the permits become irrelevant in the event that a new species is declared endangered.
The Lucero family has had their livestock graze on the land in the Santa Fe National Forest for more than a century, starting first with sheep, but then switching to cattle in the 1920s.
“We’re not insensitive to protecting the mouse,” Orlando Lucero said. “But let’s work on something that keeps everyone’s interests in mind.”
No decision has been made by the Forest Service officials, but they have stated that they are required by law to protect the meadow jumping mouse through the Endangered Species Act, and grazing has been listed as one of the primary threats to the mouse’s habitat.
At the moment, the Forest Service is engaging in a preliminary scoping process, in order to determine what action needs to be taken to secure the longevity of the jumping mouse.
It may take anywhere from 30 days to eight months for a decision to be reached.
“It’s been our experience that a fence like that to protect that occupied habitat seems to be the best way we can do our affirmative duty and protect that habitat,” said Robert Trujillo, the acting director of Wildlife, Fish and Rare Plants for the Southwest Region of the US Forest Service.
“Why would we give it up after four generations?” Orlando Lucero argued. “We were here before the (Forest Service), back during land grants. We’re not going to go nowhere.”
Article reprinted with permission from The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com
URL to article: http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/03/feds-declare-mouse-endangered-family-might-lose-everything/
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GREEN-APPROVED BUILDINGS USING MORE ENERGY
By Sarah Hurtubise, 03/02/2014
D.C. may have the highest number of certified green buildings in the country,
but research by Environmental Policy Alliance suggests it might not be doing
The free-market group analyzed the first round of energy usage data released by city officials Friday and found that large, privately-owned buildings that received the green energy certification Leadership in Energy Design (LEED) actually use more energy than buildings that didn’t receive this green stamp of approval.
LEED is the brainchild of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a private environmental group.
Washington, D.C.’s Department of Environment made the capital the first city in the nation to mandate LEED certifications in the construction of public buildings. The standards are now being phased in.
The results are measured in EUI’s, a unit that relates a building’s energy consumption to its size; the higher the number, the more energy is expended by a smaller building.
Take the Green Building Council’s Washington headquarters. Replete with the group’s top green-energy accolade, the platinum LEED certification, the USGBC’s main base comes in at 236 EUI. The average EUI for uncertified buildings in the capital? Just 199.
Certified buildings’ average comes in at 205 EUI, still less efficient than that didn’t take home the ultimate green trophy.
“LEED certification is little more than a fancy plaque displayed by these ‘green’ buildings,” charged Anastasia Swearingen, LEED Exposed’s lead researcher on the project. “Previous analyses of energy use by LEED-certified buildings have consistently shown that LEED ratings have no bearing on actual energy efficiency.”
Swearingen told The Daily Caller News Foundation the system doesn’t take into account any proof of energy efficiency. The LEED model grades buildings on ideal conditions — the certification is based on “if everyone shuts their blinds, turns off their computers at the end of the day, makes sure the lights are off — but it doesn’t factor in how much energy is really used after it’s actually occupied,” Swearingen contended.
In its own report released with the data, even the city’s Department of Environment acknowledged the concerns raised by the “dependence on a third-party organization, over which the government has no oversight, to set the District’s green building standards.” But while it understands the risks, the D.C. government continues to mandate the ratings for public buildings — and get cash from the program.
The city has collected $5.2 million in permit fees from the program since 2010.
Article reprinted with permission from The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com
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MASSIVE SEIZURE OF POWER:
Climate scientists, economists challenge EPA
By Michael Bastasch, 12/18/2013
A group of climate
scientists and economists are challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s
authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other
These critics see a “massive seizure of power” by the agency.
The scientists and economists, including the former chair of the EPA’s Science Advisory Committee, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, arguing that the agency does not have the authority to permit greenhouse gases from stationary sources. According to the group, such a permitting scheme is a “naked power grab of the most cynical sort.”
“There is no avoiding that this rule is a massive seizure of power, indeed likely far and away the largest seizure of power by any government agency ever,” reads the amicus brief.
“Under the guise of a technical statutory interpretation, the EPA now asserts it has a central role for itself to control and dictate all aspects of our lives under an over 30-year-old statutory provision never previously thought remotely to cover this subject matter,” the brief continues.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments from the EPA and some states and energy companies in February regarding the agency’s greenhouse gas permitting system. The central question of the case is, whether or not the EPA’s authority to regulate emissions from cars and trucks gives the agency the authority to set standards for stationary facilities, like power plants and refineries.
The EPA argues that it has the authority to permit stationary sources, but petitioners say that such a permitting scheme would be unworkable since greenhouse gases stem from global emissions and can’t be controlled by limiting U.S. emissions alone.
The high court’s decision will have huge implications for the energy sector and for the economies of coal states. Given that, several Republican lawmakers have injected themselves into this case, arguing that the court should rule against the EPA.
“The EPA continually attempts to sidestep Congress and expand its role in advancing a partisan political agenda,” said Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith. “The Obama administration continues to overstep its constitutional authority as it attempts to enact job-killing regulations.”
Smith was joined by Kentucky’s Republican congressional delegation in filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on Monday. This includes Kentucky Republican Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, as well as Republican Reps. Andy Barr, Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie, Hal Rogers and Ed Whitfield.
The lawmakers argue that the EPA has effectively usurped Congress’s authority to write the laws by moving to regulate greenhouse gases — which was done under the Obama administration.
“Our Constitution reserves the power to enact, amend, or repeal statutes to Congress alone,” reads the lawmakers’ brief.
“The power asserted by the EPA here infringes on the constitutional prerogatives of Congress, undermines government accountability, and threatens liberty,” the brief says.
The greenhouse gas permitting scheme is a key component of President Obama’s plan to tackle global warming. It would allow the administration to force more coal plants offline to reduce U.S. carbon emissions, which some scientists say cause global warming.
Article reprinted with permission from The Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com
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PACIFIC LEGAL FOUNDATION SINKS FEDS' SCHEME TO
GRAB DRY PRIVATE LAND BY CALLING IT "WET"
Attorneys Damien M. Schiff & Jennifer M. Fry
Santa Fe, New Mexico; March 8, 2013: Responding to a federal lawsuit filed late last year by attorneys with Pacific Legal Foundation, federal officials have now officially withdrawn their illegal classification of a Santa Fe area couple’s dry property as a “water of the United States.”
Because the federal government has agreed to rescind the inaccurate and illegal designation, PLF moved today to withdraw its lawsuit, Smith v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
PLF’s lawsuit was filed on December 11, 2012, on behalf of Peter and Frankie Smith, who live on 20 acres off State Road 14 outside of Santa Fe. The suit was filed against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for labeling a dry creek bed — or arroyo — on the Smiths’ property a “water of the United States” covered by the federal Clean Water Act. The classification allowed federal regulators to assert control, and they ordered the Smiths to halt any clean-up of dead trees and trash that had accumulated under a prior owner. The government asserted that material from the Smiths’ arroyo could eventually wash down to the Rio Grande.
“The federal government was engaged in an illegal land grab by mislabeling the Smiths’ property and misusing the Clean Water Act,” said PLF attorney Jennifer M. Fry. “The Smiths’ desert property is bone dry, and it is 25 miles away from the nearest navigable water, the Rio Grande. On the rare occasion when there is rain at the Smiths’ property, water must pass through a second dry arroyo and then through an intermittent flowing creek and two dams before reaching the Rio Grande. So the federal government’s justification for claiming Clean Water Act jurisdiction over the Smiths’ property was nonsensical.
“We are glad that federal officials have agreed to back off and stop classifying the Smiths’ dry land as ‘wet.’ But it’s unfortunate that it took a lawsuit to force the feds to pull the plug on their plans and leave the Smiths alone.
“This episode should put the federal government on notice,” Fry continued. “If they try this ploy again — if they try, in effect, to seize private property by conjuring up a mirage of water where there isn’t any — PLF is ready to fight them in court, anywhere in the country.”
“We’re very grateful for PLF’s defense of our rights,” said Peter Smith. “We hope our victory will give confidence and inspiration to property owners all across the country. They, too, can fight back if the federal government tramples on their rights by misusing the Clean Water Act and failing to abide by the rule of law.”
About Pacific Legal Foundation -- Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation (www.pacificlegal.org) is a nonprofit legal watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations, in courts across the country.
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GROUP RALLIES AGAINST PUSH
FOR UNPROVEN ALTERNATIVE ENERGY
Wind energy is 'a scam of Olympic proportions'
By Jack Spencer, June 23, 2012
guests are visiting this year's Energy Fair in Ludington.
Opponents of government mandated renewable energy are coming to the event to protest the blind push for renewable energy and hand out information showing that most wind energy is a farce.
Spearheading the effort to present this politically incorrect point of view at the fair, is a group called Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition.
"Wind energy is a scam of Olympic proportions," coalition director Kevon
Martis said. "It has no meaningful capacity value because the wind stops blowing
whenever it feels like it. Far from liberating us from fossil fuel, it actually
binds us to fossil fuel at one-to-three ratio of wind-to-fossil forever. It is
simple economic lunacy slathered with a shiny 'green' paint job."
The Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs proposal — also known as the 25 by 25 plan —has formed the backdrop for what's happening in Ludington. It appears that this proposal is headed to the statewide ballot in November. If passed, the proposal would increase Michigan renewable energy mandate to 25 percent of the state's energy sources by 2025.
Those behind the proposal are making the familiar claims people heard for years from former Gov. Jennifer Granholm — that government-forced mandates for so-called renewable energy will create thousands of jobs and attract billions in investments.
While the 25/25 proposal is theoretically about all renewable sources, in reality it's primarily about wind energy.
"Wind energy is just the latest incarnation of big industry and big government working hand-in-taxpayers-pocket to fatten their own wallets while the common person picks up their tab," Martis said. "Michigan is losing its economic competitiveness regionally and globally. We pay the highest utility rates in the region and wind is guaranteed to make that worse in the U.S. just as it has done in Europe."
Protests against wind energy are a relatively new development in the United States and are new to Michigan. But in Europe, where wind energy has been around a few years longer — and largely failed — such protests are not uncommon.
Under current law, Michigan is mandated to reach a 10 percent renewable level by 2015. At that point the mandate is supposed to be re-evaluated. However, there are signs that forcing Michigan's utilities to hit the 10 percent level has already become problematic.
Recently, voters of Huron County's Lake Township rejected efforts to allow wind turbines to be located there. In that situation, voters had to face an effort by some government officials to ignore election results.
The attempt by some government officials to circumvent the election result failed. Other areas of Michigan have rejected efforts to establish wind farms as well.
Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the Mackinac Center are properly cited. http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com
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ANIMAL RIGHTS LEGISLATION
WOULD MAKE EGGS A LUXURY FOOD
By Mindy Patterson, June 1, 2012
One day soon, America could wake up to a dozen eggs costing $8 or
more. And unless you are involved in some aspect of farming or agriculture, you
would never know that egg prices are about to skyrocket or the reason why. With
food prices already increasing due to high grain and fuel costs, extraneous
so-called animal welfare regulations are being imposed on U.S. food producers,
large and small, by the animal rights powerhouse known as the Humane Society of
the United States (HSUS).
With HSUS' vegan animal rights platform as the motivations behind crafting a controversial egg bill, S. 3239 was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Friday, May 25, 2012, inching U.S. egg producers closer to a mandate which would require them to phase out conventional cages for egg-laying hens and transition to a system called "enriched colony cages" by 2029, at a cost to U.S. egg producers ranging between $4 billion to $10 billion.
And while most Americans shrug their shoulders and live their lives, they are completely unaware of how this regulation will affect the cost of food and its availability in the future. The current egg shortage in the U.K. should be a jolting wake-up call for Americans, illustrating that the onerous animal welfare regulations which have phased out conventional cages there have caused egg prices to quadruple, while diminishing egg supply to a "crisis" level. This is a glimpse of what's coming to America if HSUS' egg bill becomes law.
Instead of improving productivity for the American egg industry and supporting our farmers and ranchers, these imposed regulations will incrementally squeeze egg producers out of business. Fewer egg farmers means fewer eggs. Fewer eggs mean higher prices for the consumer, and importing more of our food from other countries where neither animal welfare nor food safety is top priority.
While these regulations may seem reasonable on the surface, the agenda behind them lies within the organization pushing these cleverly crafted laws, cloaked in a disguise of emotional propaganda used to advance these proposed regulations into law. HSUS is an organization that makes no bones about its mission to push anti-animal agriculture regulations, or any stiff regulatory reform on American farmers and ranchers. Just consider the goal of HSUS' lead policy director and vegan activist, J.P. Goodwin, who has gone on record by saying, "My goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture."
HSUS' goal is to provide relief to chickens, not provide food for humans. Will enriched cage systems truly satisfy the vegan animal rights organization which has repeatedly wielded its bully tactics to gain a hold on animal agriculture? My prediction is no. After all, the ultimate goal of HSUS is about empty cages, not bigger cages.
At a time when jobs are scarce, and the looming possibility that affordable food may become more difficult to come by, now is not the time to stand by and allow an anti-egg-consuming animal rights organization to righteously dictate the future of U.S. egg producers and the future of our domestic food supply. Years ago, as an observation of foreign oppression, Henry Kissenger once said, "If you control the food supply, you control the people." Today, Americans are facing food tyranny on our own shores, which must be stopped. I implore everyone to contact his or her U.S. representative and senator and urge them to vote no on this rotten egg bill, S. 3239, and its identical counterpart in the House, H.R. 3798.
Mindy Patterson is president and co-founder of The Cavalry Group, an organization working to fight against the radical animal rights movement which threatens American farming and ranching cultures, animal ownership, and private property rights. www.thecavalrygroup.com
Page reprinted from: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/../2012/06/animal_rights_legislation_would_make_eggs_a_luxury_food.html
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CRONY CAPITALISM SINKS THE
December 12, 2011 by Don Surber, See http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/
Move over Solyndra. You are not the only politically connected alternative-energy company to slop at the public trough thanks to the election of Barack Obama as president. Over at Hot Air, J.E. Dyer reported that the Navy is forced to pay $16 a gallon for buckets of biofuel from a company named Solazyme — So Lazy Me — I kid you not.
From J.E. Dyer:
Teaming up with the Department of Agriculture (which has a cheery Rotary Club ring to it), the Navy has purchased 450,000 gallons of biofuel for about $16 a gallon, or about 4 times the price of its standard marine fuel, JP-5, which has been going for under $4 a gallon.
You won’t be surprised to learn that a member of Obama’s presidential transition team, T. J. Glauthier, is a “strategic advisor” at Solazyme, the California company that is selling a portion of the biofuel to the Navy. Glauthier worked – shock, shock – on the energy-sector portion of the 2009 stimulus bill.
The Navy sale isn’t Solazyme’s first trip to the public trough, of course. The company got a $21.8 million grant from the 2009 stimulus package.
Solazyme’s partner in the biofuel sale is Dynamic Fuels, a Louisiana company owned jointly by Tyson Foods and Tulsa-based Syntroleum. Tyson and Syntroleum are distinguished by having profitable lines of business that do not rely on government grants to unprofitable “green” projects. This does not make their biofuel product price-competitive with fossil fuels, however. (They were induced to develop biofuel manufacturing processes by a combination of subsidies and tax breaks.)
This is crazy. Here is an idea, zero out the alternative energy side of the Department of Energy and hire prosecutors, investigators and forensic accountants to bust these crooks.
Green jobs and alternative energy are excuses to rip off taxpayers. Anyone who opposes doling out billions is portrayed as being in the pocket of Big Pollution (whatever that is) which wants to destroy the planet (just why is never explained).
In the old days, crooks set up charities. They still do. But the real money is in the Department of Energy, which is run by a man with no management skills whatsoever, but who has a Nobel Prize so he is unassailable. If you criticize Steven Chu, why you must be an anti-intellectual Cro Magnon.
I’ll tell you, the Chicago Way is smoother than velvet.
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CHEVY VOLT RECALL?
November 26, 2011 by Don Surber --See http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/
Chevy Volt recall? Sure, why not. This electric Edsel (Motor
Trend Car of the Year — awarded before even one was sold) is a bad idea (even
Thomas Edison could not make a practical electric car) being promoted to fix a
non-existent problem (global warming is a farce and a lie) the wrong way (half
the electricity in the USA comes from fossil fuels) by taking from the taxpayer
and giving to the rich ($7,500 tax credits are given for cars whose average
driver earns $175,000 annually).
And to top it all off, these nonsensical automotive products are potential fire hazards — weeks after they are in a collision.
The Associated Press reported: “WASHINGTON (AP) — New fires involving the lithium-ion batteries in General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Volt have prompted an investigation to assess the risk of fire in the electric car after a serious crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday. One Volt battery pack that was being closely monitored following a government crash test caught fire Thursday, the safety administration said in a statement. Another recently crash-tested battery emitted smoke and sparks, the statement said. GM, which was informed of the investigation on Friday, said in a statement that the Volt ‘is safe and does not present undue risk as part of normal operation or immediately after a severe crash’. The latest fires are in addition to a battery fire in a crash-tested Volt six months ago. NHTSA learned of a possible fire risk involving damaged Volt batteries when a fire erupted in a Volt that was being stored in a parking lot of a test facility in Burlington, Wis. The fire was severe enough to cause several other vehicles parked nearby to catch fire as well.”
Gee, you think after the Bush and Obama administrations bailed out GM for $53 billion we can trust the federal government to be upfront and honest about the potential or probable dangers these machines may pose?
Thank God that in the first 11 months these moving money pits have been on the market, only 5,329 of these unintentional moving IEDs were sold. That will make the recall easier.
As a conservative, I am not opposed to change. I am opposed to change for change’s sake, especially when the government is dictating it for imaginary reasons.
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WHAT'S MISSING FROM THIS STORY?
Posted by Steven Hayward, June 24, 2011
Nature magazine--not exactly on the top of the sales rack even at Barnes & Noble (I subscribe)--last week reported a bizarre story that is receiving no attention in the U.S. media that I've seen: The Eurocrats in Brussels have uncovered a massive organized crime effort that secured $72 million in fraudulent scientific research grants. An excerpt:
The fraud has been conducted in a "highly sophisticated manner, resembling money laundering", by means of a cross-border network of fictitious companies and subcontractors, says Pavel Bořkovec, a spokesman for OLAF. Several project coordinators stand accused of having claimed inflated costs, or expenses for non-existent research activities and services, he says.
"The projects were apparently organized with the sole intention to deceive the commission and its control mechanisms," says Boublil. To make them seem legitimate, grant applications included the names of real scientists, established research institutes and existing companies, he says. But in most cases the alleged project partners were included without their knowing.
The strange part of this story is that it offers no details about what specific areas of government research funding were pilfered, or what "results" may have come of the fraudulent research projects they supported. Could it have been in the climate science domain, where the most government research money seems to be sloshing around? We know that there has been organized fraud in the European carbon trading market. Trading had to be halted back in January when it was discovered that millions of dollars of carbon allowances had been stolen and cashed on the spot market, so this wouldn't be the first time that organized crime had fixed on the climate circus as an easy mark. And one of the overlooked e-mails in the "Climategate" scandal involving the East Anglia University Climate Research Unit two years ago was a message from one of the scientists suggesting that a particular grant be routed through a Russian organization as a means of tax evasion.
Seems like this story needs some follow up.
Reprinted by permission from Power Line Blog: John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, Paul Mirengoff http://www.powerlineblog.com
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GOOD HOT SHOWER
By Jeffrey Folks, May 13, 2011
Not much compares with the joy of lolling in a hot shower with water streaming full force down one's body, massaging one's back and shoulders, and easing the wrinkles on one's face. In an age of near universal regulation, censorship, and media conformity, an old-fashioned hot shower is one of the few pleasures of life that remain. Or so it would seem. In fact, the long arm of environmental extremism now extends even into your shower.
Along with legislation to phase out incandescent bulbs and force nearly everyone to drive a snub-nosed hybrid, liberals in the Obama administration have been attempting to outlaw luxury shower heads. Yes, at a moment in our history when the federal debt is climbing to ruinous levels, ever closer to the $20 trillion mark, the Department of Energy has nothing better to do than to issue new guidelines banning the use of luxury showerheads. Maybe that helps to explain why CBO projections for future deficits are running above $1.5 trillion annually as far as the eye can see. The Obama administration is too busy with the really important stuff.
The DOE regulation at issue is a radical departure from established practice, whereby a single shower nozzle may not exceed 2.5 gallons of water per minute at 80 pounds pressure per inch. Multi-nozzle showerheads, delivering far more than 2.5 gallons per minute, are a routine feature of many homes today. Now a government bureaucracy under the guidance of a remote, radicalized academic presumes to instruct everyone in America how to bathe.
As an article in "The Foundry" pointed out, showerhead regulation -- seemingly an insignificant matter affecting some 4% of American homes -- nonetheless represents a slippery slope that could well lead to unlimited regulation of home water and energy usage. How, when, and if certain appliances are used will almost certainly be further restricted by federal law, just as showerheads and incandescent bulbs are today. If the government can mandate how you can bathe, they can also impose controls on an entire spectrum of domestic life, from food consumption to home heating and cooling to the conception of children. It won't be long before we are instructed to shut the water off when we brush our teeth, and DOE will install a webcam and timer on the faucet just to make sure.
It's true that the energy-ratings police have not yet knocked on my door and attempted to search the premises for multi-head shower devices or outdated appliances, but I suspect it will come to that. Maybe not routinely, but certainly at the point when I wish to sell my house. That "right" was, in fact, included in the comprehensive climate change legislation passed by the Pelosi House in 2009 and only averted by the thinnest of margins in the Senate. Make no mistake: they will try again if they get the chance.
For now, the left's m.o. is to legislate what I am permitted to buy. Unfortunately, radical environmentalists are working up new regulations faster than reasonable folks can come up with reasons for defeating them. By the time the left's folly is exposed, as it has been with global warming, environmental regulations have been institutionalized and are difficult to rescind. The m.o. is always the same: drum up a crisis based on speculative pseudo-science, rush through legislation before the false science has been exposed, and then sit tight and fight attempts to repeal the harmful restrictions. So it is with CFBs, and so it is with luxury showerheads.
Having passed legislation raising taxes, imposing costly CAFE standards, driving the price of top-loading washing machines through the roof, forcing taxpayers to shell out subsidies and again at the supermarket line to support an ethanol industry that makes no sense, and outlawing incandescent bulbs, you'd think the left could keep its hands off my shower. But, no. Like Norman Bates on steroids, leftists think they have the right to enter our private bathrooms and rip the shower heads right off the wall.
What seems to motivate the environmental movement is a neurotic anxiety concerning the possibility that somewhere, somehow, someone is wasting resources that, for some reason, need to be conserved. It does not seem to have occurred to them that the earth contains an unexplored abundance of resources or that human beings, with their remarkable capacity for invention and entrepreneurial activity, possess the ability to adapt to whatever challenges may present themselves. Even as the Mississippi River overflows its banks and floods millions of acres, there are eco-types calling for national standards on water usage, reuse, and pricing, an approach that is generally referred to as water sustainability. Doesn't it occur to water regulators that it might be a good thing if a few million gallons were removed from some of the nation's river basins?
With regard to water usage, as with all else, what the environmental movement has in mind is an inhuman standard of absolute efficiency that would legislate every detail of daily life. Determined to bring about zero carbon emissions and a "sustainable" level of energy usage, the left is willing to resort to any means, including the undemocratic one of having the EPA legislate via unintended application of existing statutes. Inconvenience, cost, discomfort, or economic ruin don't seem to matter.
Radicals in Congress and the White House have spent the last four years enacting regulations in the name of sustainability. Yet the very word "sustainability" needs to be understood for what it is: not an objective standard but a mad attempt to bring innovation and entrepreneurial activity to a screeching halt. It is, in other words, an expression of an age-old anxiety concerning development that arose with the Industrial Revolution and that has continued up to today.
For anyone familiar with this paranoid history, the ravings of contemporary environmental fear-mongers (from Al Gore to spokesmen for the Environmental Defense Fund) are too familiar to be taken seriously. Influenced by the radicalism of his father-in-law, William Godwin, and by the dire warnings of Thomas Malthus, Percy Bysshe Shelley captured the defeatist mood of the times in "Ozymandias," his famous poem inspired by the ruins of a statue of Ramses II. Aside from scattered fragments and a brief inscription, nothing remained of the image of this great king. Shelley's portrait of a ruined civilization swallowed up by shifting sands could be right out of Silent Spring or An Inconvenient Truth, and for good reason: the doleful literature of the romantics was the intellectual basis for the environmental vision of global catastrophe. Blake and Shelley did not employ the word "sustainability" in its modern sense, but they certainly understood its meaning and employed it in their writings.
In essentials, the message remains unchanged. To the liberal mind, growth and development -- even that which leads to obvious advances in human well-being and happiness -- must be resisted because they suggest impermanence. But by its very nature, improvement in human existence, such as that which leaves us driving comfortable, gas-powered vehicles on interstate highways instead of horse-drawn carriages on country lanes, implies impermanence and risk. The reactionary instinct to which all liberals appeal is the fear of change, but without entrepreneurial innovation, including the development of luxury showerheads, society will revert to the misery of the past.
Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture.
Page reprinted with permission from the American Thinker: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/05/a_good_hot_shower.html
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A GREENIE FESSES UP
Jim Gammon, May 06, 2011
An interesting article [Let's face
it: none of our environmental fixes break the planet-wrecking project, by
George Monbiot, from
guardian.co.uk, Monday, May 2, 2011]
in which the author, a noted "Greenie,"
illustrates the "problems he sees for the green movement.
First, that they don't really have an understanding of reality, for example, for their proposals to work, progress has to come to a halt and society stagnate, but industry has to reverse direction, not just halt. In human society, that can't happen.
Second, that they have no basis in reality. Their "belief system" was based upon the near-religious belief that when energy supplies weakened, society would collapse, but society simply adapted and found more energy, a bad thing in his opinion.
It is hard to understand what he does see as an actual future that would meet his dreams, but at least he is thinking, not just feeling.
Surely we need to control the #1 issue that no one seems to have the courage to even admit exists, the dramatic population growth in those nations least able to handle a larger population.
Is the result of all the efforts to feed the hungry - just to create more hungry people?
If we do advance their societies, will the result only be more people consuming more energy?
More importantly, if a cure is worse than the problem, isn't it time to consider other options?
From the article:
"You think you're discussing technologies, and you quickly discover that you're discussing belief systems.
"Cut the electricity supply and we're stuck with oil and gas. If we close down nuclear plants, we must accept an even greater expansion of renewables than currently proposed. Given the tremendous public resistance to even a modest increase in windfarms and new power lines, that's going to be tough.
"Most of those who advocate an off-grid, land-based economy have made no provision for manufactures..... I'm talking about the energy required to make bricks, glass, metal tools and utensils, textiles (except the hand-loomed tweed Fairlie suggests we wear), ceramics and soap: commodities that almost everyone sees as the barest possible requirements.
""We think that the crude oil production has already peaked, in 2006." If this is true, we should be extremely angry with the IEA [International Energy Agency]. In 2005 its executive director mocked those who predicted peak oil as "doomsayers". Until 2008 (two years after the IEA now says it happened) the agency continued to dismiss the possibility that peak oil would occur.
"But this also raises an awkward question for us greens: why hasn't the global economy collapsed as we predicted?
"The problem we face is not that we have too little fossil fuel, but too much. As oil declines, economies will switch to tar sands, shale gas and coal; as accessible coal declines, they'll switch to ultra-deep reserves (using underground gasification to exploit them) and methane clathrates.
"All of us in the environment movement, in other words - whether we propose accommodation, radical downsizing or collapse - are lost. None of us yet has a convincing account of how humanity can get out of this mess."
Page reprinted with permission from the American Thinker: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/05/a_greenie_fesses_up.html
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GREEN V. GREEN
Thomas Lifson, December 15, 2010
I love it when holier-than-thou greenies attack one another. When the global warming scam was in its regnant phase, we saw former China Syndrome hysterics start embracing nuclear power. (Now that the con is falling apart, will nukes become evil again?) But yesterday, driving the streets of Berkeley, I came across a new variant in the Green v Green struggle:
First of all, "old growth desert" is a new phrase to me. I suppose some of those big cacti they have in Arizona get pretty old, so they qualify as old growth. But in my mind, desert connotes a place where very little grows, a wasteland. But that would apply the to Arctic, and look at how greenies have blocked development of massive oil reserves in ANWR, based on theoretical problems with wildlife.
(Questions for Michelle Obama: are there old growth food deserts? Can we get protection for aging McDonalds, Taco Bells, and Pizza Huts? Can we acknowledge that an organic grocery store could damage the old growth food desert ecosystem?)
What I love best about this picture though, is that the greenie van in question must get 12-13 miles per gallon. And the peeling paint adds a nice touch. I wonder if there is any lead in it?
Page Reprinted by permission from the American Thinker: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/12/green_v_green.html
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By Jarrett Skorup, Dec. 5, 2010
In the waning days of the lame-duck Congress, a bipartisan fight is brewing over federal handouts to encourage production of corn ethanol, with competing letters urging the continuation or end of these subsidies.
The 16 senators calling for the end of ethanol subsidies come from across the political spectrum: From senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on the left to Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jim Webb (D-Va.) in the middle to Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on the right.
But a group of bipartisan Midwestern senators have responded with a letter of their own. The signees include Sen. Debbie Stabenow teaming up with likely presidential hopeful John Thune (R-S.D.).
The overwhelming evidence from scholars all across the spectrum shows that ethanol subsidies benefit a well-protected industry at the expense of everyone else. Even green guru Al Gore wants the subsidies to end. As a Capitol Confidential story quotes from one expert:
Contrary to popular belief, ethanol fuel does little or nothing to increase our energy security or stabilize fuel prices. Instead, it will increase greenhouse gas emissions, local air pollutant emissions, fresh water scarcity, water pollution (both riparian and oceanic), land and ecosystem consumption, and food prices.
Milton Friedman once said that nothing is as permanent as a temporary government program. But if our newly elected Congress is serious about cutting spending and removing unnecessary government programs and subsidies, one can hardly think of a better place to start than corn ethanol subsidies.
Reprinted by permission from Michigan Capitol Confidential, a publication of the Mackinaw Center. http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com
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EPA SAYS NEW REGULATIONS WILL SLOW CONSTRUCTION FOR YEARS
On October 6, 2010, CNSNews.com reported that the tough new rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restricting greenhouse gas emissions might reduce global temperatures only 0.0015 of a degree Celsius in the next century, but as a side effect, those rules will "slow construction nationwide for years," said the EPA in a June 3 statement.
In the Federal Register, on June 3, the EPA wrote: "It is clear throughout the country, PSD (Prevention of Significant Deterioration) permit issuance would be unable to keep up with the flood of incoming applications, resulting in delays, at the outset, that would be at least a decade or longer, and that would only grow worse over time as each year, the number of new permit applications would exceed permitting authority resources for that year."
The EPA permits, under the PSD program are already in place, but would be significantly expanded to include greenhouse gases.
"(D)uring this time, tens of thousands of sources each year would be prevented from constructing or modifying. In fact, it is reasonable to assume that many of those sources will be forced to abandon altogether plans to construct or modify. As a result, a literal application (of the permit requirement) to GHG (greenhouse gas) sources would slow construction nationwide for years, with all of the adverse effects that this would have on economic development."
Because of these effects, the EPA has decided to create a "tailoring rule" which will limit the immediate effect of these regulations. This rule violates the plain language of the Clean Air Act (CAA). If it were to be struck down by a court, the US Chamber of Commerce said the EPA would be forced to regulate about 260,000 office buildings, 150,000 warehouses, 92,000 health care facilities, 37,000 churches and 17,000 farms, among other things.
And, the benefit of all of this pain, according to the EPA: "Based on the reanalysis the results for the projected atmospheric CO2 concentrations are estimated to be reduced by an average of 2.9 ppm [parts per million](previously 3.0 ppm) global mean temperature is estimated to be reduced by 0.006 to 0.0015o C by 2100."
Even some Democrats think these regulations are nuts.
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SCIENTISTS: EPA 'DISTORTING' BIOFUELS REALITY
Capitol Confidential On April 22, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is facing renewed criticism this week with scientists charging that the government arm inaccurately labeled ethanol a “renewable fuel” last February.
According to reports, at the same time that it revised its renewable fuel standards, the EPA also re-ran numbers relating to corn-based ethanol’s lifecycle emissions, and determined that ethanol was responsible for substantially less greenhouse-gas emissions than gasoline, thus allowing it to be redesignated as “renewable.” But, scientists argue, the underlying data remained the same, and demonstrated that ethanol was not a “green” energy source. Nonetheless, they charge, the EPA presented the data in a way that allowed for ethanol to be categorized in a different manner. That, critics say, raises questions about the agency’s independence and pursuit of its mission, as opposed to execution of a political agenda.
According to Jeremy Martin, a senior analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Vehicles Program, EPA’s decision to focus on anticipated biofuel emissions as of 2022 “distorts the picture of today’s biofuels.” By 2022, the theory goes, corn crop yields will have increased and biorefining technology will be more efficient and green than it is today. But for now, according to Joe Fargione, a scientist with the Nature Conservancy, “in the near term, natural-gas-powered, dry-milled corn ethanol production results in an increase of greenhouse gas emissions of 12 to 33 percent compared to gasoline.” Worse yet, EPA’s analysis recognizes this. However, ethanol has been redesignated, despite such indicators that it does not meet the renewable fuels criteria.
That, critics charge, is indicative of EPA junking sound science in favor of a political agenda.
As Capitol Confidential has previously reported, President Obama has a history of strongly supporting ethanol (much of which is produced in his home state of Illinois). Furthermore, top administration officials such as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have been aggressively pursuing pro-biofuels policies such as mandating more flex-fuel vehicle production, and increasing U.S. Navy reliance on biofuels.
EPA, meanwhile, has been under sustained pressure from pro-ethanol groups such as Growth Energy to approve an increase in the fuel blend ceiling from 10 percent ethanol to 15 percent ethanol—a move that observers say would constitute a massive giveaway to the ethanol industry that could prove helpful in shoring up support for the President and endangered Democrats in ethanol-producing “swing” areas, such as some Midwestern districts and states.
Indeed, according to Martin, the issue may be less the EPA junking science, but rather it executing a pre-ordained political agenda, enshrined in existing legislation. “Clearly, there was support for continuing the conventional biofuel program: that’s the instruction the EPA got,” he says. “So I wouldn’t call that a problem with their analysis. They were just doing what they were ordered to do by law.”
Either way, however, observers say scrutiny of the EPA as it moves closer to
reaching a decision on issues such as raising the fuel blend ceiling will
doubtless increase. As one ethanol opponent told Capitol Confidential “in view
of this most recent criticism, if the EPA does it, it will undercut their green
bona fides, but worse, indicate the politicization of an agency intended to
implement sound environmental policy, not curry favor with political
A decision on the fuel blend ceiling is expected during the summer.
reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the Mackinac Center
and the author are properly cited.
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No one is for dirty air, polluted water, or rivers that catch on fire. But if we are going to spend money, it makes sense to spend it wisely.
On April 30, 2010, Bloomberg reported that Spain decided to attack a $24 billion investment bubble in solar energy that increased public liabilities. The Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian was negotiating reductions in subsidies for solar plants that would curb energy costs. Spain is battling on several fronts to revive its economy and convince government bondholders it can avoid getting dragged into a Greek-style debt spiral after Standard & Poor's cut its credit rating April 28.
Solar-plant owners, including General Electric Co. earn about 12 times what is paid for power from fossil fuels. Most of that is a subsidy charged to customers, the rest is charged to taxpayers.
Solar and wind powered projects are heavily subsidized and not economically feasible without the subsidy. Is this really the best way to spend tax dollars?
Millions are spent on recycling that is a total waste. The Washington Examiner reported on April 22, 2010, that much of that money is wasted. J. Winston Porter, president of the Waste Policy Center, and environmental consulting and policy organization was formerly a policy administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency who helped set the federal government's first nationwide recycling targets. He believes that until collection methods and the recycling process become cleaner and more efficient, recycling about 1/3 all waste was an ideal target. "The negative environmental impact comes from trying to haul too much too far" and that many materials end up in a landfill anyway.
While recycling aluminum and white office paper is almost always worthwhile, many other materials are often neither environmentally nor economically justifiable.
Rich Trzupek, on March 4, 2010, in Front Page Magazine, http://frontpagemag.com, explained that recycling glass is virtually always a waste of time and money. Being an inorganic substance that does not, and can not, harm the environment being inert and composed mostly of silica, i.e. sand, it doesn't matter if it never decomposes.
The problems with recycling glass are that sand is plentiful and cheap, the supply of recycled glass far exceeds the demand, and contains trace amounts of other chemicals which are specific to the final application. Because of this only a small amount of ground, recycled glass, called "cullet" in the industry can be used when producing end products. The other problem is color, which may throw off the color desired in the finished product. Green glass is especially problematic since there is almost no market for it.
Remember, if you have to pay someone to recycle it, it is not worth recycling.
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THE GREAT ETHANOL SCAM
In a somewhat long, but very informative article in the May 14, 2009 Business Week, Ed Wallace, who does a lot of reporting on business and automobiles, notes that the ethanol industry is going bankrupt despite government subsidies and mandates and that in response, legislators are considering increasing the mandated amount of ethanol in gasoline.
Ethanol's problems are real and substantiated.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is supposed to protect our environment. Yet the EPA's own attorneys admitted to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals that ethanol creates more smog than using regular gas.
Independent studies show ethanol is a net energy loser, although some studies claim a small net energy gain.
Fuel with ethanol reduces a vehicle's efficiency and E85 blends drops gas mileage between 30 and 40%.
The prices of foodstuffs have increased worldwide over the past 3 years from the use of biofuels, while the use of ethanol increased global warming emissions over the use of straight gasoline.
Mechanics all over the country are finding a bonanza in car repairs from damage to fuel pumps, dissolved fuel lines, pinpoint leaks in fuel systems caused by the moisture content with ethanol. As in all cases where vehicles are damages by ethanol, legally the factory warranty no long applies.
Ethanol breaks down resins in fiberglass gas tanks destroying marine engines. Small engines for lawnmowers, edgers, and weedeaters have been damaged when the ethanol blends attract moisture and form acids during storage.
The EPA is starting to go through the public comment phase on increasing the required level of ethanol in gasoline to 15%. Only the automobile mechanics should be pleased with this requirement (as long as they didn't have to use it in their own cars). It's time to take action.
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STOP THE CLEAN WATER RESTORATION ACT
H.R. 2421, The Clean Water Restoration Act, is on its way through the House. Rep. James Oberstar, (D-MN) said he introduced the bill to restore the Act to the original purpose intended by Congress. Sen. Russell Feingold, (D-WI), has introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S. 1870.
Oberstar and other big-government zealots are annoyed that the Supreme Court ruled the federal government does not have unlimited power to regulate every puddle and pool in the U.S. The cases, Solid Waste of Northern Cook County v U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, (2001) and Rapanos v U.S. (2006), forced the government to more narrowly interpret "navigable waters" of the U.S.
Oberstar misleadingly claims his bill will restore the Clean Water Act, when in reality it expands it beyond any reasonable interpretation. H.R. 2421 inflates "the limits of federal power to an extreme not matched by any other law, probably in the history of this country," according to one law expert. Quoting "The Coalition Letter on the Clean Water Restoration Act," sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) last week; "the bill would give federal agencies authority over 'all interstate and intrastate waters' including non-navigable waters.
Further, the bill's reference to 'activities affecting these waters' could give federal agencies the ability to assume expansive authority over not only water, but land and the air, too."
Contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives immediately
and tell them to vote NO on H.R. 2421 and S. 1870. Don't let big government get
any bigger. To contact your U.S. Congressman, go to: www.house.gov/writerep. For
your U.S. Senators, go to:
Reprinted by permission from Liberty Matters News Service, October 17, 2007. www.libertymatters.org.
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OUR LIES ARE PROTECTED BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT
The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is asking the Arizona Supreme Court to overturn a 2005 verdict that ordered the environmental pest to pay rancher James Chilton $600,000 as the penalty for libeling him.
The Center started the trouble in 2002 by protesting the Forest Service's 10-year renewal of Chilton's grazing permit on 21,500 acres of federal land. The group posted a link on its web site that pointed to pictures of the damage it claimed Chilton's cattle caused on the land in question. The photos were proven deliberately misleading, but CBD has tried to weasel out of the verdict ever since, even asking the Arizona Court of Appeals to overturn the jury's decision, to no avail.
Kieran Suckling, CBD's Policy Director, said the photos should not be judged by themselves, as they were part of the appeal challenging the Forest Service's decision to allow the Chilton cattle to continue grazing. That means the photos were protected by the First Amendment, Suckling insists. Appellate Judge William Brammer disagreed, saying the Center's attorneys did not raise that issue during the 2005 trial.
The Center also complained that the $500,000 punitive damage award is excessive, because it is a non-profit organization. Its 2005 annual report shows revenue of $3.5 million - mostly from grants (taxpayer dollars) and membership - and expenses of $2.4 million.
Judge Brammer reminded the Center that it had admitted that four of the 21 photos were not even taken on federal land. Suckling dismissed that fact as "irrelevant." The photos had been taken by a former employee of CBD, Andrew Schneller, in an area where a three-week long festival had been held. CBD claimed the pictures depicted damage caused by overgrazing when in fact the site had been overrun by people, cars, and all-terrain vehicles. Judge Brammer said that because Schneller had attended the festival, a jury could conclude he had "actual malice" in taking the pictures as proof of damage by Chilton's cattle.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to review the case September 25.
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HOUSE ENERGY BILL AND THE WILDLANDS CONNECTION
HR 2337, the Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007, contains a disturbing section dealing with wildlife and global warming.
Sec. 442, National Policy on Wildlife and Global Warming reads: "It is the policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State, tribal, and affected local governments, other concerned public and private organizations, landowners, and citizens to use all practicable means and measures (1) to assist wildlife populations in adapting to and surviving the effects of global warming; and (2) to ensure the persistence and resilience of the wildlife of the United States as an essential part of our Nations's culture, landscape, and natural resources."
Sec. 444, National Strategy states in part: "(C) assist species in adapting to the impacts of global warming; (D) protect, acquire, and restore wildlife habitat to build resilience to global warming; (E) provide habitat linkages and corridors to facilitate wildlife movements in response to global warming."
Dr. Michael Coffman, founder of Environmental Perspectives, Inc., is horrified at the bill's content. "[The bill] contains a provision for the government to do all it can to lock up land to 'protect' species from the ravages of global warming. This bill would legally implement the Wildlands Project. If this passes it opens the door to the government condemning land for the slightest reason if it can be shown it will provide habitat for a species to survive the perils of man-caused global warming," stated Coffman. He continued: "Of course, since no science currently exists to be able to identify whether a habitat will be conducive to protecting species, then any habitat must be considered as potentially valuable for such a purpose.
With Kelo on the books, Pandora's Box would be opened. It is the Wildlands Project and Endangered Species on steroids. Along with the intent to declare CO2 as a pollutant, all property rights and the entire economy of the United States would be under the control of our government agencies, and by default, any environmentalist willing to file a lawsuit. This bill has to be stopped." (Dr. Coffman, along with Henry Lamb and Tom McDonald, were the forces that stopped the U. S. Senate from ratifying the UN Treaty on Biological Diversity in 1994). Call your Congressman today, and tell them they must oppose the "Wildlands Provisions," Section 442 of HR 2337" of the Energy Bill.
Reprinted by permission from the June 21, 2007 Liberty Matters News Service. www.libertymatters.org
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ETHANOL FUEL CAUSES PROBLEMS FOR BOATS
In the April 11, 2007, edition of the Honolulu Advertiser, a boat mechanic explained that his business has been jumping ever since the state mandated 10% ethanol in fuel a year ago.
The problem affects boaters, owners of older cars and trucks, and even lawn mowers with carburetors.
Ethanol that has more than .5% moisture introduced into it suffers “phase separation.” The water pulls the ethanol and some hydrocarbons into a bottom layer that’s difficult for engines to burn – while the lighter fuels floats on top.
Because ethanol attracts water like a sponge and boats are surrounded by it, gas contamination is a particular problem for them.
Contaminated gas cannot be used and must be properly disposed, usually at some cost to the consumer.
While newer engines without carburetors seem to handle the ethanol without problems, additional difficulties can affect boaters. Ethanol eats away at fiberglass-based marine fuel tanks, which not only destroys the tanks, but also clogs the engines with the debris.
In Hawaii, some of the marine gas dealers are selling 89 octane fuel without ethanol to help solve the problem and there are, apparently, some additives that are designed to offset the harmful effects of ethanol.
All of you boat owners out there, be careful now.
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By Bill Cook
America losing its forests is a myth.
The same is true about Michigan and across the Lake States. In fact, dozens of countries around the world are experiencing increases in forest area. Some of this growth is due to plantations, which some folks would argue isn't really forest. However, most of the increase is due to natural forest recovery.
Granted, much of North America's forest was rolled back two hundred years ago, after rebounding from indigenous human deforestation of centuries before that. Europe lost much of its forest by the fourteenth century; with the Mediterranean, China, and much of Asia several centuries earlier. So, any increases might be better called recoveries.
This new-ish trend of increasing forest area in many countries has occurred in the past, but it's contrary to the norm. Globally, forest area has ebbed and flowed over time, but it's usually ebbed. Our planet continues to see overall declines in forest area, but recently at a much reduced rate. If it weren't for losses in Brazil and Indonesia, we'd actually be in the black.
What is deforestation?
Essentially, it's a change in land use from forest to something else. Historically, agriculture has been and still is, by far, the major cause of deforestation. We all need to eat, so that's probably an acceptable reason. Yet, here in the Lake States, agricultural acreage has declined. Like elsewhere across the continent, forests lie in wait for the opportunity to re-take acreage that was once taken away. Of course, growing crops for energy might reverse the reforestation trend, again.
Deforestation also occurs with urban sprawl and urban splatter, now the major cause in the Lake States. Each new home, business, road, golf course, and other development involves deforestation when the development is placed in a forest. Historically, ship-building, fuel wood, mining, railroads, and other activities contributed to deforestation. Over the centuries, humans have not been particularly kind to forests. We could do better. Today, land use issues are growing increasingly important. After all, it's the future that's at stake.
Harvesting timber, through forest management, does not cause deforestation. Many folks find this surprising. If you think about forests having economic value, which they do, it makes sense to maintain those timber resources. Without wood, we'd be in a world of hurt. Countries with better economies are also better with their forests. Naturally, there are many non-economic values. These also contribute to maintaining forest area.
Bill Cook is an MSU Extension forester providing educational programming for the entire Upper Peninsula. His office is located at the MSU Upper Peninsula Tree Improvement Center near Escanaba. The Center is the headquarters for three MSU Forestry properties in the U.P., with a combined area of about 8,000 acres. He can be reached at email@example.com or 906-786-1575.
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SPORTSMEN JOIN TRAPPING LAWSUIT
The U. S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation (USSAF) has asked permission to enter into a federal lawsuit opposing the Animal Protection Institute (API). API, an anti-hunting organization, sued the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to "expand endangered and threatened species protections to healthy and abundant wildlife populations" by seeking a ban on trapping to avoid the possibility of capturing Canada lynx, eagles and grey wolves.
"Our goal," said Rob Sexton of USSAF, "is to prevent the animal rights movement from manipulating the Endangered Species Act to ban hunting, fishing and trapping. If the anti's can stop all trapping in a place where there is a risk of catching a Canada lynx, they can just as easily try to stop fishing…where there is a risk of catching an endangered species of sturgeon," Sexton continued. USSAF has joined two similar lawsuits against the Minnesota Department Natural Resources.
Reprinted by permission from Liberty Matters News Service, Jan. 11, 2007. www.libertymatters.org
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ENVIRONMENTALISTS HELD TO ACCOUNT
On December 7, 2006, the Associated Press reported that an Arizona appeals court upheld a jury award of $600,000 to a rancher in a defamation lawsuit.
Jim Chilton of Pima County sued the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit group with offices in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington, DC for defamation for false postings the center made on its Web site. They claimed that Chilton and his business, Chilton Ranch and Cattle Co. were overgrazing on Chilton's grazing allotment for 21,500 acres in the Arivaca area northwest of Nogales and opposed the 10-year renewal of Chilton's grazing permit posting false statements in photo captions. They blamed Chilton's cattle for damage which was actually caused by hundreds of people who attended a May Day festival.
The Center tried to argue first amendment rights as protection, but the appeals court noted that not only had the center not raised the constitutional issue until too late in the case, but also that the jury had found "actual malice" that indicated that the center knew that some of the material was false.
The center said it would ask the Arizona Supreme Court to accept an appeal.
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ECO-TERRORISTS GET THEIR JUST DESSERTS
The last four eco-terrorists charged with arson and sabotage in six states have plea-bargained with federal prosecutors to avoid trial. All four pleaded guilty, with only two expressing remorse for their crimes.
Daniel Gerard McGowan, Nathan Fraser Block, Joyanna Zacher, face eight-year-prison terms. The fourth, Jonathan Paul, may only have to serve five years. Earlier, six others were sentenced to between three and sixteen years behind bars. The four admitted their parts in the 2001 fires at the Superior Lumber Co. in Glendale, Jefferson Poplar Farm in Clatskanie, destruction of 35 vehicles at the former Joe Romania Chevrolet Truck Center in Eugene, and the 1997 fire at the Cavel West Horse Meatpacking plant in Redmond.
U. S. Assistant Attorney Kirk Engdall said, "We believe we have basically disassembled the Northwest cell of (Animal Liberation Front) arsonists" and "[T]here may be other arrests." FBI special agent Robert Jordan said, "They spent year after year using violence to try and intimidate you and your government into their twisted way of thinking. Instead of using reason and logic, they used firebombs and destruction. Instead of using peaceful, lawful methods, they used fear and threats."
Reprinted by permission from Liberty Matters News Service, November 16, 2006 edition. www.libertymatters.org
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WASTE OF MONEY DELAYED
In the August 1, 2006 edition of National Review Online, Elizabeth M. Whelan, president of the American Council on Science and Health, reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will let General Electric (GE) delay the dredging of the Hudson River -- which the agency had ordered GE to undertake several years ago in order to further reduce levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The delay will allow GE to complete work on a "sediment processing facility" by 2007.
Until PCBs were banned by the government in 1997, GE legally disposed of the chemicals by releasing them into the Hudson during the manufacture and processing of insulation materials. The practice ended under pressure from environmental groups when PCBs were determined to cause cancer in laboratory rodents. Under this pressure the EPA stated they might pose a cancer risk to people and ordered GE to remove even trace levels of PCBs from the river.
The National Cancer Institute said that exposure to PCBs in the Hudson did not contribute to human cancer, but an EPA spokesman said that it was "concerned about the health of the river."
The EPA has spent untold millions of taxpayer funds over the 10-plus years it has been working on this project. GE will spend nearly a billion dollars to comply with the EPA mandates and pass those costs on to consumers.
The average consumer will get nothing for all of these enormous hidden costs in higher taxes and inflated purchase prices. No life will be saved. No illness will be prevented. Why? Because trace levels of PCBs do not pose a threat -- of cancer or any other disease -- to human health.
The Hudson River "PCB Project" is a sham -- the perfect example of a government mandate involving extraordinary costs but accomplishing nothing.
Whelan suggests that if you want to tell the EPA what you think of them terrorizing us with phantom threats while posing as a guardian of health, you can contact the EPA Administrator at: Johnson.Stephen@epa.gov.
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FED'S CONSERVATION "LISTENING" TOUR
U. S government officials are venturing into America's hinterlands for the first public hearing of the President's "cooperative conservation" plan. Attendees are being given two minutes to express their views on a variety of conservation issues all beginning with the question; "How can the federal government…?"
The first session was held in Spokane, Washington, August 9, with seven more events planned across the country. More than 180 people signed up to speak at the Spokane event, including private property advocates and representatives of environmental groups.
Washington State Rep. Joel Kretz spoke on behalf of private property owners when he said those rights must be protected from bureaucrats and special interests. "Only the private property owner has anything tangible on the table," Kretz said. Kretz pointed out that millions of dollars have been squandered in recent years on salmon recovery. "We have developed a salmon recovery industry," he said, fueled by electricity ratepayers and "the urban ignorant."
The Endangered Species Act came under fire from participants, as well as, other inefficient environmental regulations. Robin Meenach, vice president of the Washington Farm Bureau, noted that any cooperative ventures must be voluntary and that property owners must be compensated if their land is lost to environmental regulation. "Capitalism has served us well, not socialism," she said.
Reprinted by permission from Liberty Matters News Service, Aug. 11, 2006 edition. www.libertymatters.org
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ENVIRONMENTALISTS CLAIM ANIMAL MANURE HAZARDOUS
Environmental activists and some state attorneys general, along with opportunistic trial lawyers, are seeking to have animal manure labeled a hazardous substance subject to regulation under Superfund laws [Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) 1980 and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986].
The Superfund law was designed to address industrial waste sites like Love Canal and because it did not specifically exempt animal waste, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Union of Concerned Scientists, among others, are claiming farm waste must be regulated through that law.
"If animal manure is found to be a hazardous substance under Superfund, then virtually every farm or ranch in the United States could be written off as a toxic superfund site," said National Cattlemen's Beef Association president Mike John. Rep.
Ralph Hall (R-TX) and Rep. Roy Bunt (R-MO) have introduced HR 4341 that would exempt manure from regulation as a Superfund material. A companion bill, co-sponsored by Arkansas Senators Lincoln and Pryor will soon be released.
Reprinted by permission from the June 13, 2006, Liberty Matters News Service. www.libertymatters.org.
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WHO WE ARE FIGHTING
Environmentalism is not about saving the Earth for people, but from them. Environmentalists, the self-proclaimed variety, are merely using "saving the environment" as a stalking horse to destroy modern civilization … but you don't have to take our word for it …
"I think if we don't overthrow capitalism, we don't have a chance of saving the world ecologically. I think it is possible to have an ecologically sound society under socialism. I don't think it's possible under capitalism." Judi Bari, Earth First!
"No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits ... [C]limate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world." Christine Stewart, Canadian Environment Minister.
"We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists, and their projects…[W]e must reclaim the roads and plowed land, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of tens of millions of acres of presently settled land." Dave Foreman, "Confessions of an Eco Warrior," 1991.
Dave Foreman's 1991 vision of a world, known as The Wildlands Project, is reality today. Since 1991, millions of acres of the United States have been placed out of reach of ordinary Americans. If the pace continues unabated, where will our children and grandchildren live in 2056? Go to www.takingliberty.us to find out.
Reprinted by permission from the April 6, 2006 edition of Liberty Matters News Service. www.libertymatters.org
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ANOTHER FAMILY FALLS VICTIM TO THE ESA*
The Allestad family of Montana has been forced to give up its 74,000 acre grazing allotment in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness area to avoid "conflicts" with the government's wolves and grizzlies.
The National Wildlife Federation has agreed to pay the Allestads $130,000 to retire the allotment and move elsewhere. Chris Servheen, grizzly recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, praised the Allestads for their sacrifice. "That's the kind of applied positive conservation that really makes a difference for grizzly bears," he said. "It's a feather in their cap and I take my hat off to them."
Hank Fischer of the National Wildlife Federation denies they want to evict ranchers. "We aren't getting rid of grazing; we're redistributing where it occurs...away from core wildlife areas…and closer to low-conflict areas."
However, the Allestad family wrote in comments in the Billings Gazette: "We agreed to the buy out because we could not afford to take the losses of so many ewes and lambs to Grizzlies and Wolves. I really doubt that the conservation organization's members really care about our community or us. They only care that they have a feel good emotion that they are saving the grizzlies for the future and not even realize that grizzlies recovered with us trying to make a living on the same land."
Reprinted by permission from the March 28, 2006, edition of Liberty Matters News Service. www.libertymatters.org.
*Endangered Species Act
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MARCH 2006IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER: FAITH-BASED ORNITHOLOGY
Noted ornithologist, Jerome A. Jackson, is casting doubt on last year's highly publicized "rediscovery" of the Ivory-billed woodpecker deep in the Arkansas woods. The discovery was proved, said supporters, including Interior Secretary Gale Norton, by a grainy, four-second video that brought to mind the doctored photos of the legendary Sasquatch.
When the June 3, 2005 issue of Science published a full report of the discovery featuring a still picture of the bird, Jackson said he then seriously doubted the bird was an Ivory-billed woodpecker. "My opinion is that the bird in the [video] is a normal Pileated Woodpecker," he said. It is interesting to note that the hunt for the Ivory-billed woodpecker was "organized, supported and launched by the Nature Conservancy" which stands to reap the benefits from $10.2 million federal dollars and hundreds of thousands of acres of prime Arkansas bottomland.
Incidentally, the FY2007 budget lists $800,000 for recovery and management plans for the probably still-extinct woodpecker.
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Florida is going to have to increase its populations of panthers and bears, according to what environmentalists and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are prescribing. A recent U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service report says only 80 panthers remain in the wild in south Florida and advises moving some of the animals to other locations in the Southeast to insure their viability.
600,000 acres of private property were designated panther habitat in the early 1990s, although officials have allowed people to build in areas of Lee, Collier, and Hendry counties. The "endangered" Florida panther is hardly that since the government imported Texas cougars into the state and then claimed them to be rare subspecies.
Environmental groups are getting into the land control act too with a lawsuit aimed at placing the "Florida" black bear on the endangered species list. According to the state, the "Florida" black bear is a subspecies of the American black bear that once numbered in the thousands, but now is down to only 3,000 scattered throughout the South. "[A black bear] needs a lot of space and the way development is going in South Florida, the room it needs is being lost, degraded and fragmented," said Laurie MacDonald, Florida director for Defenders of Wildlife.
The whole exercise isn't about saving the bear or the panther, but yet another step in the Florida Forever scheme passed by the Florida legislature in the 1990's (see www.TakingLiberty.us). Florida Forever hopes to lock up as much as 80 percent of the state's landmass reducing the habitat of all humans and advancing the Wildlands Project to remove more than 50 percent of all land from human use. Florida wants 30% more.
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The Department of Interior announced plans Tuesday to de-list the grizzly bear. Populations of the huge carnivore have exploded to at least 1,200, up from and estimated 200 in 1975. The bears were never really endangered; many have thrived in Alaska and Canada for years, but environmentalists would not rest until the forests of the lower forty-eight were infested with them too.
"It is now time to give back regulatory authority of wildlife to the states, in this case; Wyoming, Idaho and Montana," said Tom France, director of National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Northern Rockies Natural Resource Center. Under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan, six million acres of land will be designated as "Primary Conservation Area" where the grizzly will be king and an additional six million acres outside the primary area will be designated as a "Recovery Zone" to allow for additional grizzly occupancy.
Let's see; six million for the "core" and six million for the "buffer zone." Looks like the Wildlands project is right on schedule. Louise Wilcox, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Wild Bears Project is against de-listing. "The grizzly habitat we're talking about is one highly vulnerable to development - particularly in the oil, drilling, and gas industries," she said. Leading, she warned, to increased "human-grizzly interaction," which will likely result in more human fatalities.
Reprinted by permission from the November 18, 2005 Liberty Matters News Service. www.libertymatters.org
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POMBO'S ESA BILL PASSES THE HOUSE
The last week of September, the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act (HR 3824), passed the House with a margin of 36 votes. The bill reauthorizes the current law, but makes controversial changes to the statute. The chairman of the committee in charge is Rep. Richard Pombo (R-California).
Floor debate focused largely on the property rights provision, which creates a program by which landowners could receive aid if their land is taken in order to protect species. Although many are not even certain how effective this provision will be at helping landowners, the mere inclusion of it was enough for green democrats to claim compensating people for taking their land was an "entitlement." In fact, the Congressional Budget Office anticipates this provision will cost less than 10 million over the 2006-2010 period, "because of likely delays in resolving conflicting interpretations of the law, implementing the necessary administrative mechanisms, and processing requests."
However, this debate would have never taken place if landowners across the country had not raised substantial objection to Pombo's original draft, which would have expanded the act's powers to include invasive species and had no property rights protections whatsoever. At the end of the day, Pombo rose to defend the property rights provisions, stating, "If the federal government steps in and takes someone's land for a highway, we pay for it. And I don't see people running down here saying 'it's an entitlement.' "
Now the debate is in the hands of the Senate, and it is unclear whether Pombo's bill will be the vehicle of choice or if an alternate version will be filed in the Senate.
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In the August 9, 2005, Associated Press article by David Ammons, he reported that the northern spotted owl, which won federal protection in the 15 years ago, is in serious peril despite logging restrictions that cost thousands of jobs.
The Washington Forest Practices Board took testimony that the barred owl, the "bigger and nastier" cousin of the spotted owl, which migrated to the West from the Great Plains, preys on the food of the smaller birds, pushes them out of nesting areas, mates with them and even kills them. The spotted owls numbers are in a deep decline.
A federal experiment, already approved but not yet under way, involves killing some of the barred owls in a small area in the southern Cascades to see if spotted owls reclaim some of their lost territory and grow in numbers. If it works, regulators could authorize shotgunning thousands of barred owls in Washington, Oregon and California.
US Fish and Wildlife Service first floated the idea last year. In an old-growth forest reserve in the Klamath National Forest with 8 to 11 barred owls and 32 spotted owls, the barred owls have already displaced two spotted owl pairs and are crowding a third. The Service hopes the modest experiment might result in killing off just enough barred owls to maintain spotted owl sanctuaries in the steeper, higher elevation sites where they have sought refuge. Scientists would give up on low-level flat forest where they are overrun.
The barred owls, which first migrated to Canada and were noticed in Washington in 1973, then spreading down through the forested mountains into California, have driven out virtually all spotted owls in some areas.
The invasion could complicate matters for timberland owners, who log under habitat protection plans to maintain the spotted owl. The designation of the spotted owls as a threatened species under the federal Environmental Protection Act in 1990 led to an 80% cutback on logging in national forests and restrictions on private timberlands.
A new report from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said, "The spotted owl population in Washington is experiencing a prolonged and accelerating decline."
Environmentalists said they will sue unless the US Fish and Wildlife Service puts together a workable plan to rebuild the spotted owl population.
That will surely help a lot.
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THE WORST CRIME OF THE 20th CENTURY
In his article entitled "Which kills more: ideology or religion?" author Andrew Kenney reveals some disturbing information. In a color-coded race to exterminate certain classes of the human race, Kenney says the green extremists were responsible for more human deaths in the 20th century than either the "reds" (communists) or the "browns" (fascists). Mr. Kenney writes that over 50 million people died because of the "gratuitous recklessness of eco-extremists."
But even that figure is over-shadowed by junkscience.com's claim that "over 80 million have dropped at the hands of the tree-huggers." DDT was recognized worldwide, as the single best weapon in the fight against malaria. That all changed when environmentalists and liberal politicians accepted Rachel Carson's 1962 hysterical tome "Silent Spring," as gospel, that claimed DDT caused cancer and would soon eliminate raptors by thinning their egg shells. The result was the banning of DDT and the beginning of forty years of environmental tyranny.
Charles Wurter, chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund recognized the importance in October 1969 of the "victory" to the environmental movement saying: "If the environmentalists win on DDT, they will achieve a level of authority they have never had before." The environmentalists continue to flex their "authority" with their rabid support of the Endangered Species Act, which typifies their anti-human bias. The "worst crime of the 20th century" should be a reminder to us all that the environmental movement is morally bankrupt and we should rise up and demand an end to the immoral movement that has held this nation and the world hostage for too long.
Reprinted with permission from the Aug. 18, 2005, Liberty Matters News Service. www.libertymatters.org
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NORTHEASTERNERS GET WOLVES
A federal judge has ordered the Bush administration to restore the gray wolf to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. Judge J. Garvan Murtha ruled that the Department of Interior violated federal law when it decided that since there were so many wolves in the upper Midwest states it was unnecessary to re-introduce them into the northeastern states.
Patrick Parenteau, director of the environmental law clinic at the Vermont Law School said; "The wolves are howling" [in celebration]. "They're predators. The question I have is, how would they interact with the deer herd, which is already under stress here?" said Stan Holz, a hunter and owner of a gun store.
Jasen Stock, executive director of New Hampshire Timberland Owners' Association, expressed concern that timber harvests could be curtailed on national forest lands and private lands that are burdened with conservation easements. Those easements generally have clauses mandating threatened or endangered species be given the highest priority in land management plans.
Anthony Tur, endangered species specialist with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is skeptical that wolves would be accepted by local residents. Tur said a 1992 federal study indicated northern Maine and the Adirondacks would be good habitats for wolf re-introduction, but "[T]hat would take tremendous support from states and residents for that to occur." Why would New Hampshire residents be allowed a say in the matter? Residents of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming didn't want them either, but that didn't matter to the tyrants in the federal government.
Reprinted with permission from the Aug. 25, 2005, Liberty Matters News Service. www.libertymatters.org
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IS ETHANOL A REAL ENERGY SAVER?
The San Francisco Chronicle, in a June 27, 2005 article reported on a University of California, Berkley, study which raises questions about the manufacture and use of ethanol as an alternative fuel.
In a recent issue of the journal Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, UC Berkley geoengineering professor Tad Patzek argued that up to six times more energy is used to make ethanol than the finished fuel actually contains.
The fossil energy expended during the production alone easily outweighs the consumable energy in the end product. As a result, Patzek believes that those who think using the "green" fuel will reduce fossil fuel consumption are deluding themselves -- and the federal government's practice of subsidizing ethanol by offering tax exemptions to oil refiners who buy it is a waste of money.
Two years ago, he had his students calculate the fuel's energy balance as a class exercise. Taking into consideration little-considered factors throughout the production cycle, the class determined that ethanol contains 65% less usable energy than is consumed in the process of making it. Most of the fuel consumed is fossil fuel.
Surprised at the results, Patzek began an analysis of his own that painted an even bleaker picture of the ethanol industry's long-term sustainability.
While there are many critics of Patzek's conclusions, he thinks lawmakers and environmental activists need to push ethanol aside and concentrate on more sustainable solutions like improving the efficiency of fuel cells and hybrid electric cars or harnessing solar energy for use in transport. He predicts that economics will eventually force the issue.
"If government funds become short, subsidies for fuels will be looked at very carefully," he said. When they are, there's no way ethanol production can survive."
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hounding cranberry farmer, Charles Johnson, for building bogs on fifty acres of his property without seeking permission. The agency claims the bogs jeopardize the Beaver Dam Brook, a foot and a half deep stream, that is, according to EPA, a "navigable water" because it eventually flows into the Weweantic River that empties into Buzzards Bay.
Mr. Johnson has spent over $700,000 fighting the agency that he says has no authority to regulate his business. EPA has fined Johnson $75,000 and has ordered him to spend $1.1 million to restore 25 acres of the wetlands.
"[T]here's nothing "navigable" about a cranberry bog," said Greg Broderick with the Pacific Legal Foundation, who is helping Johnson carry on his fight. Johnson is infuriated with the government's assertion saying; "You throw a leaf in it…[I]f it moves, it's navigable." Furthermore, he considers the EPA to be nothing but "bullying bureaucrats" with no real knowledge of his land or farming.
Johnson vows to keep fighting, even if he winds up destitute and the government surely won't relinquish the fight until it has extracted its pound of flesh. Ann Williams, EPA's regional attorney says Johnson has chosen to defy the law and therefore must pay. "What he's really saying is he doesn't like what the law says and he doesn't feel like complying."
Reprinted by permission from the May 11, 2005 edition of Liberty Matters News Service. www.libertymatters.org
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Farmers who were left high and dry in 2001 are seeking compensation for the losses they incurred when the government took their irrigation water to benefit coho salmon and a couple of sucker fish.
A government attorney argued, during the hearing before U. S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Francis M. Allegra, that irrigation districts don't have property rights that allow compensation if they don't get as much water as they're supposed to. "There is simply no state law-based water right that has attributes of property rights," said Justice Department lawyer, Kristine Tardiff. Roger Marzulla, who represents the water districts, disagreed, saying legal precedent "has squarely held that the plaintiffs hold a property right." "There is as of today no water right for fish," under Oregon law, he said.
The hearing is a first step in deciding if the two dozen Klamath Basin irrigators and property owners will get the $100 million they say they are owed for the water diversion that forced some farmers off their land when they couldn't make enough money to pay their mortgages. A similar case was settled in December when the government agreed to pay four California water districts $16.7 million when their water was taken to help fish. If damage payments must be made to those harmed when their water is taken to protect species, environmentalists fear it could undermine the Endangered Species Act by making it too expensive to uphold.
Reprinted by permission from the April 28 edition of Liberty Matters News Service. www.libertymatters.org
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COHO LISTING ILLEGAL
On January 11, 2005, the Associated Press writer, Jeff Barnard, reported that US District Court Judge Michael Hogan ruled that the Coho salmon in the Klamath River should not have been listed as a threatened species without taking into account hatchery fishery along with the wild.
He had struck down protection for Oregon coastal Coho over the lack of genetic distinction between hatchery and wild salmon in 2001.
He did, however, let stand the threatened species listing until the NOAA Fisheries completes a comprehensive review of 26 West Coast salmon listings prompted by the Oregon coastal Coho ruling, which is expected to be finished this June.
If the plaintiffs, the California State Grange and Oregon State Grange are harmed by any actions based on the listing, such as a repeat of the 2001 irrigation water cutbacks, they will be allowed to return to court. Their attorney, Russell Brooks of the Pacific Legal Foundation said the ruling left the plaintiffs well situated to resume their challenges of Endangered Species Act protections for salmon after the new listings are issued this June.
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IT'S NOT ABOUT THE BIRDS
In case there was any question about the motivation of the Endangered Species Act fans, the Associated Press let the cat out of the bag in a Feb. 14, 2005 article.
It seems that the US Fish and Wildlife Service wants to reintroduce the northern aplomado falcon to southern New Mexico at the rate of up to 150 birds a year for the next decade. This is the fastest way to get the falcon back to New Mexico.
However, "environmentalists" object because that will change the bird's status from endangered to only threatened. They have used the argument that they are protecting the falcon's habitat on Otero Mesa to oppose oil and gas development. Making it clear that the recovery of the falcon is a cover for opposing development, the president of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Oscar Simpson said: "By not having to designate critical habitat for the aplomado falcon, it gives them (oil and gas developers) the green light to drill wherever they want to."
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A Tucson jury handed fifth generation Arizona rancher, Jim Chilton, a big victory when it agreed that the Center for Biological Diversity made "false, unfair, libelous and defamatory statements," regarding management of Chilton's 21,500 acre grazing allotment northwest of Nogales.
The Center opposed renewal of Chilton's Forest Service grazing permit and published a two page press release in July 2002, containing false statements and posted photos on its website reportedly showing damage caused by Chilton's cattle.
The jury awarded Chilton $100,000 in actual damages and $500,000 in punitive damages. Chilton described the Center as unscrupulous stating; "[t]hey don't use science, they use scare tactics." The suit also named the Center's executive director, Kiernan Suckling, for setting the tone for the false statements. Suckling whined that the verdict may have a "chilling effect" on other environmental groups, adding; "We really feel victimized by a wealthy banker who can afford to hire a large legal team to nitpick you to death." Suckling said the Center will probably appeal.
Reprinted by permission from Liberty Matters News Service, Feb. 1, 2005 edition. www.libertymatters.org
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The Associated Press reported on February 4, 2005 on a bill introduced by a Maryland State Delegate, George C. Edwards of Garrett County in Western Maryland.
It seems that a number of lawmakers in Eastern Maryland delegates, including Barbara Frush, from Prince George's County object to bear hunting, and have introduced a bill to ban black bear hunting -- a second attempt.
Mr. Edwards, who lives in an area where black bears are prolific and create conflicts with humans, thinks he sees a solution. His bill would save the black bears by trapping them and releasing them into every county of the state.
If animal-loving lawmakers treasure the bears so much, Mr. Edwards reason, let them have their own. "Maybe, it'll make a point," he said, which is: "If you don't want the state to use a limited hunt as a management tool, you should be willing to accept bears. And here's your opportunity to do it."
Do you think he's beary serious?
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Dr. Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace had some not-so-kind words for his former colleagues during an interview with Roger Bate of Techcentralstation.com. Moore told Bate the organization he helped found in 1971 strayed from its mission of a science-based organization to one that now promotes a plainly left-wing philosophy.
He left the organization in 1986 because "it [Greenpeace] lost its science and logic and became driven by something else: an anti-corporate, anti-globalist agenda." Moore says the shift started in the 1980's and culminated with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 when "an influx of peace activists and Marxist ideologues into the green movement destroyed the remnants of a science-based agenda."
They are consumed with "maintaining problems" so their "solutions" can further a "leftist political agenda." Bate writes that "Dr. Moore's allegation that the greens have run away from science is reinforced in nearly every single green campaign today."
Reprinted by permission from the Dec. 6, 2004 edition of Liberty Matters News Service. www.libertymatters.org
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An Associated Press article published in the San Francisco Examiner on November 16, 2004, reported that the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation notified the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service that it would file suit in 60 days challenging the government's plans to protect four dozen endangered species in California.
The Foundation claims the agencies failed to meet requirements of the Endangered Species Act by underestimating the economic impact of protection and didn't properly follow the rules to protect habitat. "They speculated instead of determining what areas are essential to the conservation of the species," said attorney Reed Hopper.
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COURT RULING AFFECTS ESA
It may not be business as usual for radical environmental activists now that a Court of Appeals judge has decided the government must pay for what it takes.
Judge John Paul Wiese ruled that the federal government owes California farmers a lot of money for taking their water to protect Chinook salmon and delta smelt back in 1992 and 1994. Judge Wiese awarded the farmers $13.9 million in damages, agreeing that denial of their water rights did indeed constitute a "taking" of their property rights. That figure could balloon to $26 million when interest over the three years is added.
Environmental groups view the decision with alarm, fearing it could lead to similar awards that might adversely impact the government's willingness to take property rights to "benefit" fish and wildlife. "The purpose of these suits is simply a backdoor attack on environmental laws," complained Barry Nelson of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "And frankly, it's to bust the federal budget as the price tag for complying with environmental protection laws," he continued. The environmentalists have used taxpayers' money to finance their schemes for way too long and the day of reckoning is long overdue.
Former regional director of the Bureau of
Reclamation, Lester Snow, seemed to recognize the ESA may have to be
handled differently. "It makes the decision [to enforce the ESA]
harder because there's direct financial consequences up front. It's a
sea change in the way they manage the Endangered Species Act," he
Water Wars: Fighting to Recover Water
Reproduced with permission from the 10/28/2004 Liberty Matters News Service. www.libertymatters.org
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ESA CHALLENGED IN CONGRESS AND SUPREME COURT
The House Resource Committee approved two bills to reform the Endangered Species Act, reform that has languished since 1993. The committee voted 28-14 in favor of Rep. Dennis Cardoza's (D-CA) bill, H. R. 2933, to improve the method by which critical habitat is determined. The bill would require critical habitat designation confined to areas where the subject species actually resides. "It is only logical to look at occupied areas first. The way to determine is with a field survey, not some wild-ass guess," observed Chairman Richard Pombo, (R-CA).
The second bill, H.R. 1662, introduced by Rep. Greg Walden (R-WA), requires "sound science as the basis for determining the threatened or endangered status of a species as well as requiring field-tested and peer-reviewed data before any listing can be considered. Rep. Nick Rahall, a Republican from Virginia, argued the current requirement of "best available data" should be retained. Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) shot back, "I love the acronym of the current law, best available data, BAD."
Recognizing the difficulty of any legislative fix of the ESA, the American Land Foundation is funding a lawsuit directed at the "Take" provision of the ESA and challenging it's constitutionality to regulate non-commercial species on private property. The suit is now pending in the U.S. Supreme Court with national support from dozens of foundations and organizations.
Reprinted by permission from Liberty Matters News Service, July 29, 2004. www.libertymatters.org
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The northern spotted owls are disappearing from northwest forests in spite of the environmentalists' successful campaign to use the birds to rid the forests of loggers. U. S Forest Service owl experts believe the growing presence of the barred owl is the reason. The situation has sent the ecologist camp into a tail-spin.
"What do you do when one species invades the range of another, especially when the other is on the endangered species list," asked Rocky Gutierrez, professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Minnesota. The Audubon Society of Portland, a chief protagonist in the original spotted owl lawsuit, is trying to justify the removal of the barred owls. "It's been the source of a lot of tension within the organization," said Susan Ash, acting conservation director. "Any time you talk about killing one species, it's difficult."
There is even argument over how the barred owls arrived on the scene. Gutierrez thinks humans did it by "stomping out fires on the Great Plains" and letting trees grow along rivers creating an "avian highway." The timber industry wants to know if they can harvest trees now that the spotted owls are gone and have requested a review of the situation. The study results could determine if the Bush administration will decide whether the bird deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Reprinted with permission from June 9, 2004 Liberty Matters News Service. www.libertymatters.org
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A recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals should send up red flags for landowners before they enter into any type of conservation easement agreement.
The government paid $1.9 million to Big Meadows Grazing Association for a permanent conservation easement on 1,812 acres in Flathead County, Montana to "restore, manage, maintain, and enhance" wetlands. Before the agreement was finalized, the government informed Big Meadows that it would cost them $80,000 to implement the conservation plan, but after the deal was done, the government projected the plan would cost Big Meadows $486,000 to implement. Big Meadows objected to the new plan saying it was "radically different" and refused to agree to the changes. The government informed Big Meadows it didn't need their approval and went ahead with the project.
Big Meadows took their complaint to District Court and lost. The Association appealed the decision and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently ruled for the government. In South Dakota, legislators have recognized the problems attached to perpetual conservation easements and have filed HB 1194, which limits conservation easements to 30 years. It has been approved by the House Agriculture Committee and is headed for the full House. State representative Jim Lintz said; "[M]any people who give away those future property rights may not fully understand what they're doing." In real estate law, you cannot prevent someone from conveying their land if they desire to sometime in the future, except where a conservation easement is attached. Environmentalists have done their homework. Landowners need to do theirs
From the February 12, 2004 edition of Liberty Matters News Service. On line at www.libertymatters.org.
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ECO-VICTIMS ARE SEEING DAYLIGHT
Liberty Matters, in its February 20, 2004 Newsletter, sheds a little more light on the latest developments in the environmental arena. For more information, see their website: http://www.libertymatters.org.
Maybe the old disappearing owl trick was a red herring after all. U.S. District Judge Owen Panner recently ruled that logging can proceed in national forests in southwestern Oregon, siding with the opinion of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) biologists that no harm would come to the overall population of the owls. The decision was a blow to the Oregon Natural Resources Council and other environmental groups who sued to deny legitimate logging operations within areas designated for harvest on federal lands. Joan Jewett, speaking for FWS, praised the decision saying; "We're confident our scientists always do the highest quality work and are glad the judge agrees." (Now that's a switch for a bureaucrat.) A lawyer for Earthjustice (Sierra Club) groused that the FWS was just going along with the Bush administration's policy of giving short shrift to environmental protection. Lawsuits protesting endangered species designations are popping up all over California, too. Public officials and private citizens in Santa Barbara and Sonoma counties are fed up with regulations that impede development and interfere with farming and want the tiger salamander removed from the endangered species list. They claim the critical habitat designations are based on "junk science." The Santa Maria Public Airport is considering climbing onto the lawsuit bandwagon, too. Habitat protection for the salamander has delayed construction of a light industry complex and a golf course on the airport's property. Lompoc Valley has its own critical habitat flap and has filed a federal lawsuit aimed at removing protection for the western snowy plover.
Seven environmental groups have filed a lawsuit to prevent oil and gas drilling in an area set aside in 1923 for the purpose of oil and gas drilling. The greeniacs say they will work to block the drilling plan in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska if the Bush administration does not agree to set aside more land for wildlife protection. The National Audubon Society says its study concludes that two million acres, or 23 percent of the 8.8 million acres the government wants to lease for drilling should be reserved for wolves, bears and migrating birds. House Resource Chairman Richard Pombo ridiculed the organizations saying; "These groups say they are pro-environment, but it is clear that they are just anti-energy, anti-American jobs, and anti-economic growth." He termed their lawsuit "absurd," and said, "Their focus is on fundraising, politics and obstruction." Where's that message in the main stream media?
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A land-use organization called Scenic America doesn't think property owners ought to be allowed to build on their land or rearrange the landscape if it interferes with the activists' selfish notions of scenic views. They, along with other "thought-police" environmentalists believe that the view belongs to everyone and no one should be allowed to spoil it for future generations.
The U.S. government even reaches beyond the boundaries of its national parks to control development that it deems harmful to the precious "viewscape," as experienced by developer Steve Musslewhite, who had plans to build 150 homes on his 40 acre parcel next to the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. After two years of negotiations he finally understood the government's message that it would be better to only build 100 homes and hide them from view if he wanted to run a sewer line under the NPS property.
Scenic America listed the Gaviota Coast in California, along with the Blue Ridge Parkway, as places in "danger of disappearing" on their "Last Chance Landscapes" list and demanded the government protect them. Longtime Gaviota area residents opposed the government's plan to protect the Gaviota as a National Shoreline believing it would only invite destruction from recreationists and besides, as Bernice Stableford said; "It is very well protected (by local residents). The viewshed is not going anywhere."
Reprinted with permission from Liberty Matters, October 8, 2003 edition. ( www.libertymatters.org )
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A SALMON IS A SALMON
In September of 2001, United States District Judge Michael R. Hogan issued a decision finding that an "Evolutionary Significant Unit" (ESU) is the smallest unit that can be treated under the Endangered Species Act. The National Marine Fisheries Service tried to subdivide an ESU by declaring coho salmon with unclipped fins to be one species and those with clipped fins another creature.
The Judge found that the fish occupied the same waters at the same time, and inter-breed and therefore, is but one species. If the "natural fish" only are counted, there aren't lots of them. If the hatchery fish are also counted, there are oodles of fish, too many to make a case for their extinction.
Jim Brunner in eco-logic Powerhouse, reported on September 1, 2003, that the Administration will not appeal the ruling.
A petition for delisting the salmonids has now been filed. Coupled with the huge returns of salmonids, the highest counts since 1938, when counting was invented, the decision is likely to extend to all other salmonid runs that are part hatchery and partly unclipped finned.
This action may affect not only the listing of salmonids in the Pacific Northwest, but also in the Southern Oregon and Northern California area where the coho was listed as threatened. In these areas as well, if the hatchery fish were included, it would have made impossible a finding that they "threatened" with extinction.
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In a recent memo to Sierra Club staff and volunteers, Executive Director Carl Pope outlines a concentrated effort to defeat George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election. The campaign is in response to what the Sierra Club's leadership terms "environmental assaults from the Bush administration and the Congress unlike anything we have witnessed." The memo also states; "The Board of Directors and Conservation Governance Committee have resolved that this campaign should be the highest priority in the months ahead. To carry these programs out we have adopted three primary strategies: raising people's sights by promoting visionary solution to environmental problems; building community by establishing one-on-one, personal relationships with our friends and neighbors; and using guerilla warfare to stop attacks on the environment."
While the memo explains the get-out-the-environment-vote effort, no further mention of the guerilla warfare is made. Top staff members are being pulled off regular duties to oversee what is called the "Stop Bush/ Beat Bush Campaign." "We do not believe we will be able to defend the environment from Bush's policies or ultimately beat Bush unless we do coordinate and align our various programs in a completely unprecedented way. Each of our activities must be designed and coordinated to the maximum extent possible to work together to stop Bush." Efforts to verify this information have gone unanswered.
These efforts bear a striking resemblance to the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) campaign "Push Bush Out the Door in 2004." The Report to the CPUSA National Committee June 28, detailed how the Communist Party must align with a wide-range of special interest groups to accomplish its goals. The Party condemns the administration for "[U]ndermining laws providing clean air, clean water, and toxic waste cleanups under the banner of 'healthy forests' and "clear skies" and advocates capturing the 'environmental vote' to help defeat the "Bush right-wing agenda in 2004."
That rhetoric is similar to the Sierra Club memo that says the environment is under siege from the Bush administration and: "[T]o stop the Bush administration assault on the environment we have designed . . . . a huge public education and public mobilization effort." CPUSA says: "The argument must be made that the greatest vote for peace and the environment is to defeat George Bush." The Party plans to unite with "independent voters and Greens. . . .to defeat George Bush."
The Sierra Club memo continues: "We do not believe we will be able to defend the environment. . . .unless. . .[we] work together to stop Bush."
The CPUSA website links to a number of environmental organizations, which not only includes the Sierra Club, but eco-terrorists organizations like Greenpeace as well.
Reprinted by permission from the September 15 and 25, 2003 editions of Liberty Matters News Service. See www.libertymatters.org
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CORAL REEF DECLINE -- AN OLD PROBLEM
A new study conducted by the University of Florida and discussed in ScienceDaily Magazine on August 8, 2003, shows that the decline of coral reefs actually may have begun centuries ago, despite the attribution of their decline to global warming and pollution.
According to the study, the downward spiral started when people first began killing off reef-frequenting large fish, turtles, seals and other top predators or herbivores -- a process that started thousands of years ago in some parts of the world and just a century or so ago in others.
The project is an outgrowth of research published in 2001 that tied overfishing to worldwide declines of coastal ecosystems. The claim is that overfishing disturbs the ecological balance of marine environments, with the killing of green sea turtles, for example, ultimately contributing to the die-off of sea grasses. The authors of the paper zeroed in on coral reefs, long seen as seriously threatened by modern pollution, global warming and diseases that cause the coral organism to die and "bleach," with the goal of reconstructing the ecological history of the reefs from before the first people appeared to fish them some 40,000 years ago to the present era.
The scientists pored over historical and archaeological records surrounding major reef systems in 14 regions in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Red Sea, the Caribbean and the Great Barrier Reef. The research showed, among other things, that the indigenous Bahamians hunted green turtles to such an extent they seriously depleted the herbivore long before Columbus arrived.
They discovered that all the reefs experienced declines as a result of human activity, although the declines occurred over different periods of time and were more advanced in some places than others. Regardless of geography, the declines follow the same pattern. First, people deplete large predators such as sharks and large herbivores, which tend to be both easy to kill or capture and slow to rebuild their populations. Next to go are smaller animals, such as fishes, followed last by sea grasses, corals and other so-called "architectural" parts of coral reefs.
By 1900 -- decades before the first scuba divers experienced the splendor of coral reefs -- this slow death had already started in more than 80% of the reefs worldwide. It is hoped that the research will give managers of the world's coral reefs a yardstick to determine how the reefs have deteriorated. Most of the reef organisms have been depleted but are not yet extinct -- offering some hope for the future.
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GREEN PEACE FOUNDER TALKS
Dr. Patrick Moore told House Resource Committee members last week, that the President's Healthy Forests Restoration Act is a sensible plan to eliminate disease and insect infestation that have led to the deadly fires that ravaged our forests in recent years. Dr. Moore founded the radical environmental organization, Green Peace, but became disgusted with its confrontational attitude and reliance on shrill negative rhetoric to advance its causes at the expense of sound scientific data. He left the organization to start a new one, Greenspirit, that "espouses active, scientific management to sustain and conserve our national forests," which he likens to gardens that must be cultivated in order for them to thrive.
Chairman Richard Pombo, R-CA, praised Dr. Moore, calling his remarks a "breath of fresh air. When a founding member of Greenpeace tells you that today's so-called environmental organizations have abandoned science and logic for zero-tolerance extremism, it carries a lot of weight." Moore said it is very important to focus on the causes of forest fires and to work to prevent the conditions that start them. "I see fighting wildfire as a last resort," he said. "Preventing them is useful work" in protecting the environment.
Reprinted by permission from June 18, 2003 newsletter of Liberty Matters News Service. Contact us at 1-800-847-0227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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LAND USE PLANNING PITFALLS
In view of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's recent effort to put together a group of people to develop a state-wide land use plan, it is interesting to read the following article from the February 12, 2003 of Liberty Matters News Service (www.libertymatters.org):
Builders, developers, landowners and investors filed more than 150 lawsuits last week, to overturn a far-reaching slow-growth law passed by Loudoun County, Virginia supervisors. Opponents of the restrictive land use law are also hoping to use the issue to oust the slow-growth supervisors from office. Landowner, big-game hunter and former federal investigator, Jack Shockey, head of the pro-development group, Citizens for Property Rights, said the lawsuits were an unfortunate consequence of elected officials' refusal to listen to constituents.
The new rules cut the number of homes that can be built in the 3---square-mile area between Dulles International Airport and the Blue Ridge Mountains by 80,000.
Apparently anticipating widespread opposition to the draconian law, county officials announced they will add $6 million to the legal defense fund they established when they came to power in 1999.
In Colorado, voters in several small towns have rejected anti-growth measures and are seeking new development. The light has finally dawned on many that if economic development is discouraged, the tax base shrivels. "This is very short-sighted," huffed Elise Jones, head of the Colorado Environmental Council, a coalition of 85 environmental groups. "In Colorado, the job market follows workers, and long-term economic vitality is tied to the protection of our quality of life. When you lose things that draw people to Colorado, you lose your economy."
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SWEDES RETHINK RECYCLING
In The Washington Times National Weekly Edition of March 10-16, 2003, an article appeared by David Harrison of the London Daily Telegraph, saying that leading environmentalists and waste campaigners finally conceded that recycling is a waste of time and money.
The Swedes who came to this conclusion include Valfrid Paulsson, a former director-general of the government's environmental protection agency; Soren Norrby, the former campaign manager for Keep Sweden Tidy, and the former managing directors of three waste-collection companies. Their views are shared by many British local authorities, who have drawn up plans to build up to 50 incinerators in an attempt to tackle a growing waste mountain and cut the amount of garbage going to landfills.
Technological improvements have made incineration cleaner and the process could be used to generate electricity, cutting dependency on oil. Collecting household cartons is very unprofitable. Recycled bottles cost glass companies twice as much as the raw materials, and recycling plastics is uneconomical.
The Swedes stressed that the collection of dangerous waste, such as batteries, electrical appliances, medicines, paint and chemicals "must be further improved." They added, "Protection of the environment can mean economic sacrifices, but to maintain the credibility of environmental politics, the environmental gains must be worth the sacrifice."
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A LITTLE GOOD SCIENCE ALWAYS HELPS
The Associated Press reported on January 8, 2002, on a study published by Maarten Krol, of the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht, Netherlands, on a natural chemical, hydroxyl, that scrubs pollution from the sky. It is more abundant than previously believed, leading scientists to wonder if they have been underestimating the atmosphere's ability to cleanse itself.
The report contradicts a US study published in 2001, suggesting hydroxyl levels have dropped dramatically since 1990. The author of that study Ronald Prinn of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was out of the country and unavailable for comment.
Hydroxyl, or OH is important because it chemically reacts with a range of polluting gases, including methane and carbon monoxide, and removes them from the atmosphere.
Krol and Prinn have debated the theory that the cleansing capacity of the atmosphere has been reduced for years.
Steve Montzka, a research chemist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado, said Krol's paper showed how the emissions assumption underpinning Prinn's work may be flawed.
The details of the study were released January 9, 2002 in the journal Nature. On the net: www.phys.uu.nl/krol/
Liberty Matters, in their January 8, 2002, news release suggest a little bit of good science might help the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
According to that agency, a pigmy owl (6 inches wing span and weighing a whopping 2 pounds) needs a lot of room to spread its wings. The Service is considering designating 1.2 million acres of public and private land in Arizona to accommodate 18 of the little fellows, each of which would have approximately 66,000 acres to call his own.
Fish and Wildlife estimates that the Pima county economy (Tucson area) will suffer a $108 million economic loss over 10 years because of the designation, which the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) says is a low ball figure. They say the designation will likely add $12,000 to the cost of new homes.
NAHB filed suit to learn where the birds are located, and the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, ordered the Service to reveal the information, but it has decided to appeal instead.
"I think they are holding back the data because it is not the best scientific data available and does not . . . justify putting aside 1.2 million acres of land," said Duane Desiderio, head of legal affairs for NAHB. A Fish and Wildlife spokesman said they don't want to reveal the locations to prevent bird-lovers from harassing the creatures and trespassing on private land. www.libertymatters.org
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ANOTHER LOOK AT SPRAWL
A recent analysis of global wilderness areas produced the surprising conclusion that 46% of the Earth is largely uninhabited, occupied by only 2.4% of the world's population. Liberty Matters, in its December newsletter, reported on a study conducted by over 200 scientists led by Conservation International. "Wilderness areas" encompass a "landmass equivalent to the six largest countries on Earth combined -- Russia, Canada, China, United States, Brazil and Australia, but have within them the population of only three large cities," said Russell Mittermeier, a primatologist and president of Conservation International.
The report was welcome news to Western Republican lawmakers. "Clearly this report debunks the sky is falling when it comes to protecting our environment . . . I am always pleased when sound science and research defeats liberal political science and hyperbole. . . " said Rep. Scott McInnis (R-CO), chairman of the House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health.
Calling it a 'sad day' for environmentalists, Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA), said: "I guess the world isn't coming to an end after all. Send Greenpeace and the Sierra Club my condolences."
CNSNews.com, on November 25, 2002, reported on another study, "Smart Growth and Its Effects on Housing Markets: The New Segregation." The report, issued by the National Center for Public Policy Research, was presented at a policy conference in Washington, DC.
"The impact of [smart growth] policies is undermining the progress of African Americans and other minorities," said Edmund Peterson, chairman of Project 21, a conservative African American advocacy group. "By and large [minorities] will not be able to pursue America's best and biggest asset, which is home ownership."
Peterson calls the new report "devastating" to the smart growth advocates because it shows how the movement "stops people moving up the social as well as economic ladder."
David Almasi, executive director of the National Center, wants to see safeguards in place to protect people with low incomes. "Smart growth regulations should be checked before they go into effect to make sure they don't inappropriately affect poor minority communities or the general population."
He added that because of the growth restrictions, "people are losing the opportunity to use their property."
"If governments want to save open space, they have the right to buy the land, but they don't have the right to come in and put regulations in place that tell people that own property or want to own property that they can't do something that is legal and legitimate," Almasi said.
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WISE WORDS FROM THE PAST
The following is excerpt from Imprimus, the the national speech digest of Hillsdale College, reprinted by permission. (www.hillsdale.edu)
It was made in August 1988 by Dixy Lee Ray (1914-1994). She was a scientist, Governor of the State of Washington (1977-1981), and author: Environmental Overkill: Whatever Happened to Common Sense?
While the respected scientific community judges very strictly those at the top of their profession, they simply ignore the incompetents and no-goods at the bottom. . . . Dr. Ernest Sternglass, much quoted by the media on radiation matters, has never published his claims about the effect of low-level radiation in a peer-reviewed journal. In an article in Esquire magazine published in 1969, Dr. Sternglass predicted that all children in the United States would die as a result of fall out from nuclear tests. Twenty years have passed and unfortunately for his credibility but fortunately for children, he was and is wrong. But his opinions, long since dismissed by knowledgeable scientists in his field, are still actively sought and quoted by the popular press. Until respected scientists, perhaps through their professional societies or through the National Academy of Sciences, identify the purveyors of misrepresentation, we have only ourselves to blame for fear, misunderstanding, and the rejection of technology.
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ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF HYPOCRISY
On November 16, 2002, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Nature Conservancy of Texas quietly settled a nasty lawsuit for $10 million.
In 1995, Mobil Oil Co. donated 2,200 acres to the Nature Conservancy. The property was home to the only remaining population of the endangered Attwater's prairie chickens. The Conservancy owned 100% of the royalty rights on the southern half of the property. On the northern half it shared those rights with the Russell Sage Foundation of New York and several smaller-interest holders.
After protecting the chickens, the Conservancy drilled a well on the southern half of the property in 1999. It hit pay dirt. The well was drilled on an angle with the bottom just a few hundred feet from the northern tract.
The other stakeholders argued in a Galveston court that because the reservoir was contiguous to both tracts, the Conservancy could not drain it and claim all the royalties, which is what they did -- to the tune of about $10 million.
The claim was also made that the Conservancy, in 2000, knowing the oil well could produce revenues in the tens of million of dollars, offered - through an agent - to buy the Sage Foundation's royalty interests in the property for $26,176, without disclosing the true information about the well. It was this attempt that prompted the lawsuit.
J.D. Page, representing the Sage Foundation, said: "They're not telling us the truth about the reason for the offer. The obvious truth of the reason for the offer was because they knew there was a well that was 592 feet from our property that was producing gangbusters. And again . . . they had the duty to tell us. They didn't tell us, but what they did was set out to cheat us."
The Conservancy claimed that it initially thought it was entitled to all of the royalties, but later learned otherwise. Steve McCormick, the Conservancy's president, acknowledged that its negotiating tactics "were not consistent with our values."
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DO AS I SAY. . .
The September, 2002, issue of Boat U.S. Magazine featured a story about a developer who wants to develop a wind farm in Nantucket Sound.
It notes that, at one time, hundreds of windmills harnessed Cape Cod's ocean breezes to grind grain. While the residents now cherish the few that remain as historic attractions, they want no part of the proposed wind farm.
The plan is to plant 170 wind turbines, 42 stories high, in Nantucket Sound. If built, it would be the first offshore wind-powered electrical generating facility in the U.S. and the largest in the world. Cape Wind Associated says its $600 million project would generate 420 megawatts of electricity, nearly enough to supply all of Cape Cod and the islands during peak demand periods.
While James F. Manwell, who heads the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, says: "The location in Nantucket Sound is about as good as you'll find in the U.S. in terms of the wind resource and the ocean depth," but the residents don't want it.
It seems that the liberal east coast, which doesn't want us to drill for fossil fuels, build nuclear plants or burn coal, wants electricity to appear out of the ether. They want Americans to use alternative fuels, but not in their back yard.
Complaints range from visual pollution of the oceanscape, potential harm to the food chain that supports the fishery, to concerns about noise and flocks of birds. They are working hard to make sure that the project dies.
Who says liberals have to make sense?
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OLD-GROWTH, SHAM ISSUE
Tony Blankley, writing in the August 28, 2002, edition of The Washington Times, exposed the issue of "old-growth logging" to be a phony issue of the enviros which is used to make noise and raise money. Old growth logging is no more.
The timber companies, in decades past, realized that, one way or the other, they would some day run out of old-growth timber. They advised their customers (home designers, construction companies, architects, building boards, etc.) to start designing around what could be manufactured out of small-diameter, short-rotation cycle timber. Those small-diameter logs are typically less than 20 inches at the butt end. Old-growth logs could be as large as 50 inches.
The building trades started substituting laminated veneer, chipboard, waferwood, engineered floor joists, plastic and cement. The demand for old-growth products shrank. Because of the shrinking market, log loaders, yarding towers and engines suitable for large old-growth have not been manufactured for decades. Most of the used equipment has been auctioned off and shipped to the tropics, where clear wood is logged and shipped back to America.
Because of big timber's ownership of its own forests, the enviros' passionate interest in blocking all commerce, the whole public lands logging process has decayed. The road system is in ruin and cannot support logging without expensive reconstruction. Because of the procedural delays, lawsuits and inability of the the public timber agencies to accurately appraise the value of the timber, the market for public timber has collapsed.
Despite the reality of the situation, when President Bush went to Oregon to talk about proper public forest management to avoid killer fires, the enviros accused him of endorsing fire protection as a "timber industry ploy to log old-growth forests."
While the timber industry doesn't want old-growth to affect their markets, the large organizations which exploit old-growth trees for profit are those like the Sierra Club, which harvest a handsome crop of dollars from nincompoop contributors who can still be separated from their money by old tales from the Western woods.
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MORE ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS
The Washington Times reported on March 14, 2002, that Forest Service officials knowingly used faulty data of spotted owl habitat to block logging in a California forest.
In a previously undisclosed ruling by Federal Claims Court Judge Lawrence S. Margolis, court documents disclosed that the Forest Service did not have a "rational basis" for halting the timber sale to Wetsel-Oviatt Lumber Company. Compensating lumber companies for this and 30 other California timber sales canceled in the 1990s because of the spotted owl already has cost the government $15 million, according to the Forest Service document.
Judge Margolis ruled the Forest Service action was "arbitrary, capricious and without rational basis." He also found the officials knew their findings were faulty when they ordered the sale canceled.
On March 11, 2002, the National Marine Fisheries Service agreed to rescind critical-habitat designations for 19 West Coast salmon and steelhead populations in a case brought in the US District Court for the District of Columbia by the National Association of Home Builders. A "smoking gun" memo was produced that said no analysis of habitat was ever performed "because we lack information" The 1998 memo written by a high-level government official said: "When we make critical habitat designations, we just designate everything as critical, without an analysis of how much habitat" is needed for salmon population.
The Associated Press reported on an article in the March 22, 2002, issue of the journal Science discussing a study which analyzed ancient tree rings from 14 sites on three continents in the northern hemisphere. It concluded that temperatures in an era known as the Medieval Warm Period some 800 to 1000 years ago closely matched the warming trend of the 20th century.
Edward Cook of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, NY, co-author of the study with Jan Esper and Fritz Schweingruber of the Swiss Federal Research Institute, said the study shows the Earth to be "capable of rapid changes and long periods of above-average warmth on its own without greenhouse warming. . . . Greenhouse gases were not a factor back in the Medieval Warm Period."
Cook said data used in the calculations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the international group proposing systematic reductions in the burning of fossil fuels) are based on a model that did not include a Medieval Warm Period. Including data from that era could change the predictions on the increase in average temperatures.
On March 7, 2002, NYPOST.COM reported on information obtained in a congressional hearing in February which may give the feds some insight on the identity of the head of Earth Liberation Front (ELF), the group (along with its sister organization, Animal Liberation Front [ALF]) which uses arson to make its point. According to James Jarboe, domestic-terrorism chief of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division, ELF has caused more than $43 million in damage since 1996.
It turns out that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) disclosed in its tax returns that it donated $1500 to ELF to "support their program activities" and $70,200 to the defense of Rodney Coronado, an ALF member convicted of a fire-bombing at Michigan State University. He pleaded guilty to similar crimes at Oregon and Washington State Universities.
In 1999, PETA gave $2000 to David Wilson, an ALF activist who once bragged about the movement's expansion into "wildfire actions." In 2000, PETA gave $5000 to the "Josh Harper Support Committee." Harper is an ALF member arrested on numerous occasions.
PETA's spokesman, Bruce Friedrich, was censured by its Board of Directors after saying: "It would be great if all the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories and the banks who fund them exploded tomorrow."
Colorado Republican, Rep. Scott McInnis is trying to determine the names of the people who cashed the checks to see if the feds can identify the eco-terrorists. There are also questions about the tax-exempt status of PETA because of the evidence that strongly suggests that PETA induces or encourages the commission of unlawful acts.
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KLAMATH HEADGATES OPEN
The Associated Press reported that Interior Secretary Gale Norton personally cracked open the headgates of the federal irrigation project in the Klamath Basin on March 29, 2002. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman and Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon were to be on hand as well.
It was the first time since last summer that irrigation water flowed in the canals which were closed to farmers for the claimed purpose of saving "endangered sucker fish and threatened coho salmon."
The National Marine Fisheries Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service are reviewing biological assessments issued last year that led to the water cutoff.
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BAY COUNTY DEVELOPER BEATS EPA
A very interesting case went virtually unreported recently. In Human Events for the week of March 25, 2002, John Rapanos' saga was discussed.
In 1995, Rapanos decided to develop 175 acres of property in Bay County. He proposed filling a large area of this property with sand. He was told a federal permit was required. He balked at this since the property was more than 20 miles from the nearest navigable water. Although he protested that the feds had overreached, he was indicted, tried and convicted for violation of the Clean Water Act. The trial court sentenced him to three years' probation and a fine of $185,000.
While the case was pending on appeals and cross-appeals, the Supreme Court decided the Illinois case of the abandoned quarry which limited the Corps of Engineers' jurisdiction to wetlands adjacent to US navigable waters. Last June, when Rapanos appealed, the Supreme Court remanded his conviction to US District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff for reconsideration in light of the Chicago opinion. On February 21, 2002, the judge he that because the wetlands at issue were not "directly adjacent" to navigable waters, the Corps of Engineers could not regulate what Rapanos did with his property. Case dismissed.
The government has not appealed the dismissal of the case.
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TREE-HUGGERS DO IT AGAIN
On Dec. 20, 2001, the Associated Press reported on a lawsuit filed by The American Wildlands and The Wilderness Society seeking to stop the US Forest Service from allowing salvage logging on 46,000 acres in the fire-stricken Bitterroot National Forest.
The environmentalists complained to the federal judge in Montana that the Bush administration broke the law in making the decision without allowing for internal appeals. The judge temporarily blocked the sale and scolded the administration for mishandling the appeals process.
Forest Service officials say the internal appeals process is bypassed since they went straight to the top of the administrative chain of command for approval of the plan. They reasoned that the issue would end up in court anyway, regardless of whether they allowed a time-consuming administrative appeal.
Dan K. Thomasson wrote a scathing opinion piece for the Scripps Howard News Service On Dec. 24, 2001, commenting on the lawsuit.
He noted that more than 300,000 acres were charred in the fire. Under the plan, 181 million board feet of timber from 48,000 acres from dead or dying trees before the wood rots or splits. The clearing would take place at 30 sites and would be one of the biggest timber salvaging operations in the nation's history. The project would provide an estimated 4,000 jobs and pump $75 million into a sagging economy. Proceeds from the sale of the damaged ponderosa pines to timber interests would be used to restore the watershed by replanting, closing roads and safeguarding the streambeds.
The Agriculture Department, which manages the nation's forests, moved to shortcut the statutory appeal process in an effort to get some of the wood cleared to help prevent the possibility of further fires. Dale Bosworth, chief of the US Forest Service said that immediate implementation of the projects was necessary to reduce risks to public safety and private property and the national Forest Service resource.
Thomasson noted: "What sense does it make to permit this wood to rot at a time when overall unemployment in the timber industry is among the highest in the country on the chance that harvesting it might (not will, but might) cause damage to fish. That would be sheer waste of a magnitude that is almost unimaginable." Noting that environmentalists had played an enormously important role in protecting this nation's natural resources from the ravages of exploitation, he concluded: "There is a point, however, where the practical needs of citizens and the utopian desires and visions of zealots clash so dramatically that there seems to be no rational solution. This may have reached that point."
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FISH WARS CONTINUE
After a District Judge in Oregon took Oregon coho salmon off the threatened species list, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the order until a final ruling is made, the Associated Press reported on Dec. 16, 2001.
That, however, is not the end of the story. The Washington Post reported on February 4, 2002, that the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has concluded that federal biologists had no scientific justification for their effort to protect endangered fish by withholding water from farmers in the drought-ravaged Klamath Basin of the Pacific Northwest last year.
The NAS report directly contradicted the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, stating that there was "no substantial scientific foundation" for its April 2001 rulings that the basin's federal irrigation project was threatening the survival of rare suckerfish and salmon. It found that data "has not shown a clear connection between water level in Upper Klamath Lake and conditions that are adverse to the welfare of suckers." In fact, it noted that the best year ever recorded for sucker survival was a low-water year.
On Feb. 5, 2002, the Associated Press quoted Interior Secretary Gale Norton. "I am concerned by the weaknesses revealed by the National Academy of Sciences study," she said. "By challenging the analysis, the NAS study will affect our decision-making process for this year and future years."
On Feb.6, 2002, the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) issued a press release advising that it had filed a federal lawsuit to remove Klamath Basin coho salmon from the federal endangered species list. The case was filed before Judge Michael, who issued the ruling last year in favor of PLF' request to delist Oregon coastal salmon. The basis of the ruling was that the abundant hatchery-produced salmon are indistinguishable and genetically identical to those born in the wild.
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Kimberly A. Strassel, in Opinionjournal.com, the on-line Opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal, wrote on December 13, 2001, about the "activists" who are often called "grassroots" when discussed in the press.
She noted that in almost every domestic conflict -- whether it's drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, free trade, or tobacco -- one side is described as "grassroots organizations" and the other is a "powerful" corporate or political interest. She noted, however, that while the attempt is to make the battle seem like a "David vs. Goliath" scenario, in reality, most "grassroots" groups are far better moneyed, networked and operated than many corporations and political lobbies. They've also become for more ruthless in accomplishing their goals.
Now, due to a website called ActivistCash.com, run by Guest Choice Network, an organization of 30,000 restaurant and tavern operators, the average citizen can get the lowdown on the financial and organizational operations of many major activist groups. They particularly concentrate on the growing fraternity of food cops, health care enforcers, vegetarian activists and meddling bureaucrats who "know what's best for you."
The Network has used freedom of information laws to get the IRS documents of the country's leading activist groups. "What we uncovered is an intricate, organized, well-funded web of what you might call the 'new left'" says John Doyle, the group's communication director. "It allows a person to finally link the environmental activists with the animal rights activists with the anti-corporate activists, and see that they all operate together in the anti-choice arena."
Another major revelation of ActivistCash.com, is the link between established charitable foundations and controversial activist groups. From the Pew Charitable Trusts to the Packard Foundation, they give millions to the more extreme activist organizations.
Ms. Strassel suggests the next time you get a flyer or a phone call asking for a donation, check out ActivistCash.com.
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BIOLOGISTS CAUGHT IN HOAX
On December 17, 2001, The Washington Times reported that federal and state wildlife biologists planted false evidence of a rare cat species in two national forests. Had the deception not been discovered, the government likely would have banned many forms of recreation and use of natural resources in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Wenatchee National Forest in Washington state.
Three Forest Service, two US Fish and Wildlife and two Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife employees were caught planting three samples of Canadian lynx hair on rubbing posts used to identify existence of the creatures in the forests.
DNA testing of two of the samples matched that of a lynx living inside an animal preserve. The third matched that of an escaped pet lynx being held in a federal office until its owner retrieved it.
After being caught, by a Forest Service colleague, the employees said they were not trying to manipulate or expand the lynx habitat, but instead were testing the lab's ability to identify the cat species through DNA analysis. Officials doubted the claim.
The unidentified employees have been "counseled" and prohibited from participating in the three-year survey of the lynx, listed as a threatened animal under the Endangered Species Act.
The lynx listing and study began in 1999 and concludes this year. It was criticized by Westerners as a political move to impose restrictions on public lands. To protect the habitat of the felines, roads would have to be closed to vehicles, off-roads vehicles, snowmobiles, skis and snowshoes.
By December 19, The Washington Times reported that Western lawmakers, Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and Reps. Scott McInnis, R-Colorado and James Hansen, R-Utah, had called for an investigation to determine if the charges could be substantiated. If so, they called for the firing of the biologists involved.
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ANOTHER FISH STORY
In a press release of November 16, 2001, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that it had uncovered a document in which a high-ranking National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) official admits that NMFS's critical habitat designations for west coast salmonoids are baseless.
The Endangered Species Act limits critical habitat designations to only those areas that are "essential to the conservation of the species," and it requires NMFS to weigh the economic impacts of critical habitat protection before it is designated.
In an intra-agency memorandum, Donna Darm, who was NMFS acting Regional Administrator for the Northwest until October 1, said: "When we make critical habitat designations we just designate everything as critical, without an analysis of how much habitat an ESU [endangered species unit] needs. . . ." Darm added that no analysis of habitat need was performed "because we lack information."
These designations have enormous regulatory impacts on the use of land and water because the Endangered Species Act prohibits and federal project, permit or federally funded action from "adversely modifying" critical habitat. Federal critical habitat is also a key trigger for many state and local land use restrictions.
In summarizing the process of "consultation" in developing a habitat approach, Ms. Darm stated: "We just say we need it all."
The NAHB is involved in litigation in the state of Washington which is similar to that pending in Oregon by the Alsea Valley Alliance which invalidated NMFS's listing of Oregon coastal salmon as an endangered species. Similar litigation is pending in California.
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THOSE "ENDANGERED" COHO
The October 10, 2001 Liberty Matters News Service (www.libertymatters.org) reported that an Oregon federal judge ruled the National Marine Fishery Service (NMFS) claim that Alsea hatchery-raised coho salmon are genetically inferior to wild coho salmon is an "arbitrary and capricious" distinction. Judge Michael Hogan threw out the NMFS listing of the coho salmon under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and stripped away federal protections and the civil and criminal penalties for harming them.
The lawsuit was brought by the Alsea Valley Alliance who charged that the NMFS had directed the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Service to slaughter thousands of hatchery-spawned salmon and millions of their eggs in the Alsea River basin between 1997 and 1999, claiming they were a threat to the genetic purity of the "wild salmon."
"The judge's decision paves the way for a thorough re-examination of the Oregon coho listing. If the thousands of hatchery-spawned coho had been counted originally, their significant numbers would have called into question the need for listing Oregon coho as a 'threatened species' in the first place," said an attorney for the plaintiffs.
Despite the judge's ruling, Oregon's Fish and Wildlife plan to continue the practice of clubbing to death returning hatchery coho salmon. An attorney in Gov. Kitzhaber's office angrily responded to criticism of the practice; "What do they think, that we can just let the [hatchery-bred] fish swim free in the wild? No way!"
A spokesman for the environmentalists explained: "The Endangered Species Act protects the habitats on which fish and wildlife depend. This ruling could result in the absurd situation where wild salmon are allowed to go extinct due to habitat destruction while we protect hatchery stocks and their concrete pools."
And I thought it was supposed to be about the animals. . . .
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UPDATE ON KLAMATH
The Pacific Legal Foundation, www.pacificlegal.org, representing the Klamath Basin farmers, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, DC, claiming that the federal government owes them compensation for cutting off their irrigation water this year, www.oregonlive.com (the website of The Oregonian) reported on October 12, 2001.
The federal lawsuit came a day after the Klamath Water Users Association's board voted to drop a separate lawsuit demanding that the Bureau of Reclamation restore water deliveries. The association dropped that case because the irrigation season is over and additional water would now be of no use.
A mediation effort established after Judge Ann Aiken ruled against the farmers' contention that the Bureau of Reclamation had failed to follow environmental laws in shutting off the water may fall by the wayside. Participants, including tribes, the states of Oregon and California, fishermen, farmers and conservationists, have met several times under the direction of US District Judge Thomas Coffin in Eugene.
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Reported by Maureen Rudel
On our vacation out West, one of the places I had wanted
to go was Klamath Falls, Oregon, just north of the California State line.
This is the place where approximately 1500 farmers had their water cut
off, allegedly to save an endangered sucker fish and to provide sufficient water
Upper Klamath Basin is a reservoir with two outlets.
The normal outlet is a power dam with spill gates which can operate to
reduce the water level. Water released in this direction continues down the river to
wildlife sanctuaries and other normal uses.
The other outlet is the “head gates” which open to an irrigation
canal serving the farms down river. It
is these gates which have been closed. This
has led to an enormous protest which has been carried on for months.
The head gates were closed by a Court Order obtained by environmentalists
in a suit against the Department of Interior.
Early on, the head gates were stormed by a group of protesters and water was let out from Upper Klamath to the irrigation canal. They were then closed and the gates protected by a series of federal officers from the Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal officers. The local constabulary has basically maintained hands off, only acting when necessary to preserve the peace.
I have been following this matter for months on the internet, so I had to see it with my own eyes when we were this close.
The protestors have set up a tent next to the head gates. In the past, the encampment was much larger, but it was downsized after September 11th on the theory that this was not a good time to be protesting the government.
We arrived at shortly after 8:00 a.m. (their time – 11:00 a.m. our time). The tent was there, a camper, another small trailer, a couple of porta johns, and two inhabitants, a man named Jim Earl and his wife. He informed us they were the only two who stayed overnight the night before. They were just getting up and making the coffee. Inside the tent was a large screen television, rows of benches set up in theater seating, tables with munchies, ash trays, chairs, some long cushions set up on some of the benches, 3 refrigerators and a cooking area. Since we always stay on our time when we travel, we were long done with the coffee and not quite ready for lunch.
Jim told us that he expected a group of people in later in the day to install a larger by-pass tube which would let water pass from the Upper Basin to the irrigation canal. It seems that anyone can take as much water as he wants from the Upper Basin. A couple of months ago, the farmers installed a 6-inch tube, which runs from the Upper Basin to the canal and delivers some water. It is basically a siphon operation. The plan was to install a larger pipe with a pump to increase the delivery. He showed us a gated fence, which separates the federals from the locals. From a little building on the federal side pictures are taken of everyone who shows up, including us.
A fellow came over and introduced himself. We asked if he was one of the bad guys and he laughed and said yes. His name was Rick. He is from Missoula, Montana, and spent some time in Escanaba. He is with the Fish & Wildlife Service. He saw no need to cut the farmers off and indicated that a Wildlife Biologist had been there the day before and indicated that the siphon was actually helping the suckers, which were doing quite well. Rick indicated that much of the problem was that there were so many agendas being played out, it was difficult to get a solution to the problem. He and other F&WS employees have been talking with the farmers, but that the farmers were a disorganized group with no legal representation arguing against a well-financed bunch of greenies from Portland who had no real stake in the outcome but wanted the canal closed. Rick told us that the depth gauge, which was supposed to be monitoring the depth of the Upper Basin to determine whether water could be released, is broken. No one knows how long it hasn’t worked and that all of this information is available to the farmers through a freedom of information request, which he strongly advised they pursue. To date, no one has.
Rick seemed a nice enough guy who could not understand why this hasn’t been resolved. He believes there is enough water for everyone, but hopes the drought ends. He told us that if it goes on next year, he thinks there will be real problems. He was told by the farmers that if the matter isn’t resolved by next year, he should not come back – send a stranger. He told us he did not take it as a threat, but a promise – they did not want him to be hurt in the mess.
It was a very interesting stop and a real lesson on the importance of getting organized when these eco-nuts come up with their next great idea.Return to Index
NON-PROFITS COME UNDER SCRUTINY
There have been a number of articles recently which have shed some very interesting light on the practices of non-profits.
On June 25, 2001, The Pittsburgh Tribune Review commented on a series of articles which ran in the Sacramento Bee which examined the records of some of America's 8000 environmentalist groups. They found a $3.5 billion growth industry powered by batteries of lobbyists, lawyers and fund-raising consultants. The Bee found that some famous tree-hugging organizations have grown fat, rich and morally sloppy: CEOs at the top-10 groups - brand names like the Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Foundation make at least $200,000 a year.
Embarrassingly high percentages of money raised by some groups goes not to save endangered sea turtles but to bureaucratic overhead. Greenpeace and the Sierra Club spend so much on overhead that they don't meet standards set by philanthropic watchdogs. Meanwhile, groups fill their direct-mail pitches with phony crisis warnings and junk science and file scores of nuisance lawsuits.
On August 27, 2001, the Oregonian editorialized on the fact that it is legal for charities to accept money and squander most of it on themselves. Groups get into legal trouble only if they misrepresent themselves and promise more than they actually deliver. Giving money over the phone is one of the least cost-effective ways to donate money. Most of the typical donation goes to pay the telemarketing company, not to help the orphans or veterans who inspired the generosity. The editorial spoke of two charities recently fined by the Department of Justice. They were spending most of their donations on telemarketers and other expenses, which was legal. The illegal part was assuring prospective donors that 90% of their money would go straight to the people in need.
They looked at the Oregon Paralyzed Veterans of America which said that 80% of its money went to worthy causes like individual financial help and medical research. The problem was that the telemarketers took 70% off the top before the OPVA got a dime. Under that setup the vets saw only a quarter of every dollar given.
All charities are required by law to provide accurate information about their finances when asked. They are required to disclose these on Form 990 for the IRS. Donors with internet access can look up these records at www.guidestar.org.
Queena Sook Kim reported in the Wall Street Journal in July, 2001 that the Nature Conservancy received approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission to set up Forest Bank, LLC, a company that will allow timber owners to "deposit" their logging rights in exchange for an annual dividend on the appraised value of their trees. To come up with the dividend, the conservancy will harvest the timber using ecologically sound practices. This plan is being used in Clinch River Valley, Virginia, where much of the valley is owned by small timber owners. Forest Bank members essentially give up the rights to their property and will have "little or no" rights to manage the company. They can't leave the company by buying back their rights. Their sole power is to fire the management team if it fails to deliver payments for two consecutive years.
When dealing with these non-profits, vigilance is key. As Walter Williams noted in an August 29, 2001 column on townhall.com, the environmentalists are lying and deliberately frightening people. He quoted environmental activist Stephen Schneider from a 1989 issue of Discover magazine: "We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of the doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."
Here's what for Sen. Timothy Wirth, D-Colo., was quoted as saying in Michael Fumento's "Science Under Siege:" "We've got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we'll be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy."
Before you fall for a pitch for money or the latest scare, take the time to do a little research.
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Federal authorities were forced to cut off water to 1,500 farms in Oregon's and California's Klamath Basin in April because of litigation brought by the Oregon Natural Resources Council (ONRC) -- the pit bull of Oregon's environmental groups, according to Kimberley A. Strassel of the Wall Street Journal on July 26, 2001. The alleged reason is an "endangered" sucker fish.
The goal of many environmental groups -- from the Sierra Club to the Oregon Natural Resources Council -- is no longer to protect nature. It is to expunge humans from the countryside.
The strategy of these groups is nearly always the same: to sue or lobby the government into declaring rural areas off-limits to people who live and work there. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a major tool in this effort. While the battle over the Klamath Basin began in 1988, it wasn't until this spring that the ONRC found a judge who was willing to deny the farmers rights to water guaranteed since 1907.
Since that decision, the average value of an acre of farm property in Klamath has dropped from $2500 to about $35. Since the farmers have no other way to make a living, they are desperate. In June, the ONRC suggested the federal government pay the farmers $4000 an acre (with taxpayer dollars) to remove them. This will in turn kill the communities in which they live.
Recently Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior, ordered the release of some water from the Klamath Basin which will allow the farmers to try to keep the topsoil from blowing away, but not enough to allow successful farming.
Rob Gordon, a conservative environmentalist, decided to demonstrate to Washington, DC, that the ESA has some flexibility problems. He learned, through Freedom of Information requests, that the Army Corps of Engineers has for years been dumping hundreds and thousands of tons of wastes generated in purifying the District of Columbia's drinking water directly in the Potomac River. David A. Keene, writing in The Hill on July 25, 2001, noted that the District's water treatment facilities, run by the Corps, have been allowed to operate without an EPA permit since 1994; something no other jurisdiction could do.
Gordon learned that short-nosed sturgeon, endangered in some watersheds and thought to be extinct in the Potomac until commercial fishermen caught some, breed just about where the Corps dumps its waste. He decided to go to court to save the sturgeon, demonstrate the selective way in which the ESA is enforced, and show that the folks who are supposedly so interested in the environment really only want to enforce environmental laws against others.
His legal action, which a federal judge refused to throw out of court, could halt the building of the new Wilson Bridge on the DC beltway because the dredging, blasting and construction already underway could hurt the fish.
The congressional supporters of ESA (who don't want trucks hauling waste going through the city) can try to get the case dismissed if they can convince a Cabinet-level council that saving the sturgeon would compromise the national security of the US since the White House, Defense Department and several security agencies rely on DC water for their toilets and drinking fountains.
Keene concludes: "After all, what's one fish as compared to the smooth functioning of the government's toilets."
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There is much concern about "Sprawl" these days with governments at all levels trying to figure out restrictive solutions to force people to live in concentrated areas (cities) to save our land from development. Rush Limbaugh has produced some facts in The Limbaugh Letter which refutes these concerns.
Out of 1,944 million acres in the US,
only 5.2% of it is developed. The rest falls into the following
categories: cropland, 20%; pastureland, 6.3%; rangeland, 21.4%; forest land, 21.5%; federal land, 21.2%; and other rural land, 4.4%. These are 1997 government figures.
While Wyoming (only 1% developed) and South Dakota (only 2% developed) are sparsely populated, East Coast states are surprising. Delaware is only 15% developed and the most heavily concentrated state, New Jersey, is only 34% developed.
Keep these facts in mind as the eco-extremists call for ever more restrictive legislation.
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AUDUBON ATTACKS SHIPWRECK MUSEUM
When the lighthouse at Whitefish Point in the Upper Peninsula was first deactivated by the US Coast Guard a license was granted to the Michigan Audubon Society (MAS) which required it to maintain the property. Because the MAS did not apparently have the will, ability or wherewithal to maintain them, the light and rescue station complex buildings deteriorated and suffered vandalism.
When that license expired in 1982, MAS and the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory (WPBO) expressed an interest in land on the east side of the access road and a garage only. Therefore, the Coast Guard ultimately issued a license to the MAS for the property they wanted and a license to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society to use the historic light and Coast Guard rescue station complex for a museum. Since that time a museum has been established and expanded which honors and documents the maritime history of Whitefish Point. This work has been done by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society. See www.shipwreckmuseum.com. Address: 111 Ashmun St., Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783, 1-877-SHIPWRECK.
The cooperation between the parties which has allowed visitors a unique experience broke down recently, according to the Fall 2000 Shipwreck Journal -- The Journal of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society.
The Shipwreck Society and US Fish and Wildlife Service have been sued in federal court by MAS and WPBO claiming that they and associated federal agency actions permit development and historic restoration of buildings and infrastructure at the historic Whitefish Point Light Station in a manner detrimental to wildlife and the environment.
It appears that the MAS has decided that rather than engaging in negotiations with all of the stakeholders to develop a plan which can integrate the environmental, cultural and recreational aspects inherent in all activities at Whitefish Point, it will tie everything up in litigation. It would make one think that the original failure to maintain the light an rescue station complex buildings in accordance with their agreement was not an oversight, but a deliberate action.
While the MAS may think that only the birds should be considered, many visitors appreciate the museum and Edmund Fitzgerald exhibits (among others) as well. There is no need to exclude either activity and the litigation is simply a waste of funds which could be used by both organizations to better ends.
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SIERRA CLUB EVEN IRKS MUCC
In the November, 2000 issue of Michigan Out-of-Doors, the magazine of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the editors appear to have finally lost patience with the Sierra Club. It appears that the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), in an alleged effort to deal with a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club are proposing significant changes in how they apply the National Environmental Policy Act to state wildlife management projects that receive federal funding. (It must be remembered that many of these agencies have been in the habit of entering into friendly lawsuits so they can consent to court orders which accomplish actions they cannot get through the legislature.)
The object of the Sierra Club is to require the agency to conduct separate environmental assessments for routine maintenance, such as improving timber stands, controlling water levels, planting food plots and carrying out prescribed burns. The action was brought by the Mackinaw Chapter of the Sierra Club, but would affect the entire country in the use of Pittman-Robinson funds. These are generated by an excise tax on guns and ammunition and have been the subject of much abuse and misuse under the Clinton-Gore administration. At least $45 million has been misused for trips to the Caribbean Sea, other administerial abuse and anti-hunting programs.
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MICHIGAN DODGES A BULLET
The US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service has released its Final Environmental Impact Statement on Roadless Area Conservation. The 3 volume set, released November 9, 2000 is available by contacting Scott Conroy, Project Director, USDA Forest Service, National Forest System Roadless Project, PO Box 9690, Washington, DC 20090-6090, (703) 605-5299.
The National Forest System contains 2,343,144,000 acres of land. Of that, the total area of Inventoried Roadless Areas is 58,518,000 acres. The proposal would preclude road construction and reconstruction in 24,182,000 of those acres. Fortunately for Michigan, most of the areas are in the West and none are in Michigan.
The Forest Service received over a million and a half comments on the proposal which the present Chief of the Forest Service plans to implement no sooner than 30 days after release of the study. This is an appointed position and the Chief serves at the pleasure of the President.
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MORE JUNK SCIENCE
Environmentalists have been attacking the nation's highest-use herbicide and attempting to have it declared a "likely carcinogen." The evidence used was that it caused mammary tumors in females of a single type of rat. Massive dosing of other rats failed to produce results. The rats in which the tumors did occur have a specific deficiency in their hormone systems causing them to have a high background incidence of mammary tumors.
While Carol Browner of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was seeking to have atrazine declared a "likely" carcinogen, even her own Scientific Advisory Panel, not known for its scientific standards, voted unanimously against the recommendation, The Washington Times reported on July 18, 2000.
The review of atrazine started six years and the evidence started pouring in -- with more than 100 new studies submitted on the safety and benefits of atrazine and triazine cousins. Michael Fumento noted, in the article, that at the EPA you don't show off your power and "courage" by clobbering a chemical nobody ever heard of or, conversely, something for which there truly is strong evidence of harmfulness.
He closes by stating: "Forget chemicals that might actually be dangerous, it's the safe, highly used ones you pursue. This would have been a tremendous coup for the Gore team in an election year. Instead, it just left a bad taste in their mouths. And it should in ours."
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THEY ARE AFTER YOUR WASHER NOW
Remember the geniuses who decided how much water could come out of your shower head and how many gallons of water your toilet could use? They are after your washer now.
According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute in a July 1, 2000 release, the federal bureaucrats and government-funded environmental activists have spent millions of tax dollars critiquing washing machines. They have determined the popular top-loading design uses too much water and too much energy to heat that water.
The feds prefer front-loading washing machines which remain unpopular with consumers. They cost several hundred dollars more than top-loaders and longer cycle times. Today, they comprise less than 10% of the market.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is, therefore, going to mandate the top-loaders out of existence. (Remember, this is the group that can't seem to keep our nuclear secrets under control.) Under authority delegated to the DOE in the 1987 National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, DOE can set energy efficiency requirements for clothes washers and most other household appliances. On May 23, the department announced new standards that will effectively regulate top-loaders out of existence over the next few years.
Rules such as these are supported by a coalition of DOE bureaucrats and federally-funded advocacy groups who make their living from the energy efficiency game. Ironically, the process of creating an appliance efficiency standard is a marvel of inefficiency, requiring 34 discrete bureaucratic steps unfolding over the span of several years. This exercise keeps a lot of Washington paper-pushers permanently employed.
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Michael Fumento, on June 18, 2000, wrote in Junkscience.com about a recent announcement of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that crayon ingredients are safe, but manufacturers should stop using them because we're talking about kids. . .
The crayon craze started when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer sent crayons from 3 manufacturers to a lab for tests. All use talc as stiffeners and talc is mined with other minerals, including asbestos, so might have trace amounts of those elements.
The lab reports were reported mistakenly high and created a panic when the reports were picked up by other news outlets. When the CPSC had the crayons tested, the two labs they used found trace elements of asbestos in only 3 of 25 crayons along with other fibers that look like asbestos, but aren't. The original labs are believed to have mistakenly labeled these as asbestos.
While asbestos as a fiber can be very dangerous when inhaled, no one testing the crayons was able to find a single fiber released from using crayons with asbestos in them.
Toxicologist James Lamb of BDL Sciences in Reston, Virginia says "I don't think you could force a fiber from a crayon into the air if you wanted to." Even then, there is no evidence that any amount of ingested asbestos is harmful.
Fumento criticizes the CPSC as a "Safety Commission" which really isn't. Instead of using sound science to determine real risks, the agency is practicing "political" science. In doing so, it is complicit in scaring the wits out of America and making a recommendation that makes no real sense.
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LET'S GET RID OF THE PEOPLE
While GOP Senators were extremely critical of the US Forest Service (USFS) in a hearing held on February 22, 2000 (as reported by the Associated Press the following day) the Clinton administration showed no sign of backing off its plan to permanently rope off some 50 million acres of roadless federal forest land.
"You have fatally tainted this rule-making," said subcommittee chair, Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, pointing out that the effort violates at least four laws.
Other comments by Senators:
Sen. Pete Domenici, R-Arizona, said the administration should "declare this process is invalid and start over," and the administration "did wrong" in favoring environmentalists in crafting the ininiative.
"We do have an agency that's run amok," said Sen. Frank Murkowski, R-Alaska, who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which includes the subcommittee.
Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colorado, in criticizing the administration for sidestepping Congress, said, "Administrative decree may work great in a monarchy, but it's a lousy form of policy in a democracy."
Not deterred by the wholesale attacks by these senators, the USFS has come up with a new plan, according to the Associated Press on March 3, 2000.
This plan would make it more difficult to build new roads in areas that already have roads in them.
After the proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on March 3, The Washington Times (on March 7) quoted from it -- "Unwanted or nonnative plant species can be transported on vehicles and clothing by users of [forest] roads, ultimately displacing native species." Another passage: "Roads allow people to travel into previously difficult or impossible to access area, resulting in indirect impacts such as ground and habitat disturbance, increased pressure on wildlife species, increased litter, sanitation needs and vandalism, and increased frequency of human-caused fires."
The Senators respond:
"These people want to return the forest to the conditions existing before Europeans landed on the continent," -- Sen. Frank Murkowski. "It's not surprising they look at the invention of the wheel as the greatest threat to the national forests. . . They're doing everything possible to save the forests, except to take a science class."
"I, for one, am reluctant to spend my next visit to a national forest sleeping in a cave, merely to assure that we are replicating pre-settlement conditions," -- Sen. Larry Craig. "The Clinton administration has already managed to antagonize and convince many, if not the majority, of public land users in the rural West that all they are about is throwing people off the public lands."
Comments are due by May 2.
Let's see if the Senators can put some action behind their outrage.
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ANOTHER GREAT ENGLISH IDEA
The BBC reported on Nov. 24, 1999, that measures to end fur farming in Britain have been published by the government. These are opposed by the fur farmers who produce about 100,000 mink each year.
Stopping fur farming is a Labor Party manifesto commitment, but importation of fur would still be allowed.
Len Kelsall, one of the few remaining fur farmers and chairman of the Fur Breeders' Association, accepted that the fight to keep the industry alive was over but was able to get a reasonable compensation clause in the bill. He stated: "We knew that we could not continue fighting the government and with a reasonable compensation deal we can at least retire gracefully."
Isn't it nice to see that Socialists all over the world (not just in the US) are hounding legal, but politically incorrect businesses out of existence. Watch out McDonald's, those hamburgers are next.
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EPA MISUSES FUNDS
Is there any part of this administration which is honest and forthright?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has doled out more than $6 million in taxpayers' money to various environmental non-profit organizations to lobby for the anti-automobile, anti-suburb agenda of this administration.
CNSNews.com reported on Dec. 6, 1999 about a study conducted by the Cato Institute, a Washington based think tank. The study entitled "Smart Growth at the Federal Trough" claims the EPA hopes to use its authority over federal spending and pollution regulation to transform suburbs. The report suggests that from a legal standpoint, the EPA grants for smart growth may go beyond the department's authority, which is to enforce emissions standards and to oversee state implementation plans designed to achieve federal air quality goals.
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GLOBAL WARMING -- NOT!!
The Associated Press reported on October 7, 1999 on an article from the October 8 journal Science.
It seems that a group of scientists at the University of Washington led by Howard Conway have been studying the massive West Antarctic ice sheet and believe it may be headed for a complete meltdown which was triggered thousands of years ago, not as a result of global warming.
Conway said the future of the West Antarctic ice sheet "may have been predetermined when the grounding line retreat was triggered in early Holocene time" about 10,000 years ago. The grounding line is the boundary between floating ice and ice thick enough to reach the sea floor. It has receded about 800 miles since the last ice age, withdrawing at an average of about 400 feet per year for the last 7,600 years.
Conway estimates that at the current rate of melting the sea rises about 1 millimeter (1/25th of an inch) per year and could raise 15 to 20 feet in 7,000 years.
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THE ECO-NUTS ARE AT IT AGAIN
The October 1999 issue of Michigan Out-of-Doors reported that the Mackinaw Chapter of the Sierra Club has filed a notice of intent to sue under the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws to challenge Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration grants to the state of Michigan.
The primary concern of the Sierra Club are policies which require clear-cutting of some species of trees. The primary source of funds for the program is Wildlife Restoration grants under the Pittman-Robertson Act. The money under that act comes from federal excise taxes that hunters pay on guns and ammunition to restore and enhance habitat for wildlife.
Clearcutting aspen is essential for its regeneration and is beneficial for many game species, especially white-tailed deer and ruffed grouse. Clearcutting of jack pine assists in regeneration efforts and is critical for maintaining populations of the endangered Kirtland's warbler.
Exactly what part of the Endangered Species Act says you shouldn't try to save endangered species?
It is interesting that in the Sep. 1999 issue of Safari Times (magazine of Safari Club International) reported about misuse of Pittman-Robertson funds by the Clinton administration which was directing their use to support anti-hunting organizations and popular animal protectionist causes.
Jim Beers, a 31 year US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) veteran, was forced out when he balked at approving grant money for The Fund for Animals. Beers took action against the agency, resulting in a $150,000 settlement, payment of certain benefits and attorney fees and a letter of apology for the agency's actions against him.
Beers stated: "I am appalled at the way I see conservation funds being looted and used to fund government and private efforts to undercut hunting, fishing, trapping and the state agencies that manage them. Today's US Fish and Wildlife Service is fostering an agency-wide climate that promotes these diversions and abuses."
A recent Government Accounting Office (GAO) audit of administrative funds stated: "in each area where administrative funds are used, there are problems." The GAO believes the USFWS federal aid office is not properly managing the grant or administrative funds and, consequently, is unable to properly account for millions of dollars in program funds -- all contributed by sportsmen and women.
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Chelsea J. Carter reported on August 25, 1999 for the Associated Press that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has struck Southern California to hold up construction projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The federal government has all but halted development across the Delhi Sands dunes which stretch from San Bernadino to Riverside to Ontario, about 60 miles from Los Angeles.
The reason for this action is to protect the tiny Delhi Sands flower-loving fly -- the only fly ever to make the Endangered Species List.
In Fontana, hopes for a $500 million project of single-family homes, shopping centers and strip malls have been dashed. Rancho Cucamongo, Ontario, Rialto and Hemet have had to delay housing projects, critical in a region absorbing residential overflow from Los Angeles. Colton had hoped to build a manufacturing plant.
About $42 million in bonds will go into default in October because Fontana owners unable to develop their land are unable to pay taxes. Colton has $11 million in debt tied up in an idle electrical station built to supply power to proposed projects worth $300 to $500 million which are in danger of being moved elsewhere.
In 1995 San Bernadino had to move a Medical Center several hundred feet at the cost of $4 million when eight of the flies were discovered.
The government and the communities involved are attempting to negotiate a solution, but wildlife officials say the process could take up to two years.
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MORE ON BEARS
At Brooks Camp in Katmai National Park, visitors and Rangers congregate on a platform overlooking the Brooks River falls to watch grizzly bears wait for migrating red salmon to leap into their jaws.
One of the most notorious of these is an 800-pound male called "BB." The Anchorage Daily News reported on July 20, 1999 that the 23 tourists and photographers who had gathered on the preceding Friday night got quite a surprise.
BB first charged in and paw-swatted Snorkler. Then he attacked a bear known as "16" and stole his salmon. For the piece de resistance he pounced on a cub and devoured him. He carried the carcass to the edge of the hiking trail leading to the viewing platform, fed on the dead cub and blocked the trail. After he finished, park employees tried to escort the visitors off the platform and past the cub's remains, but they had to turn back when they met the cub's agitated mother.
The humans finally got out of the area around 10:30 p.m.
There was no indication in the article that BB checked with PETA to determine the rights of all involved.
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THE TRUTH ABOUT FLIPPER
On August 18, 1999 Reuters reported the filing of a suit by marine mammal activists against the US Dept. of Commerce over recent labeling changes for tuna fish which they claim are arbitrary and capricious. The number of fishing methods have been expanded to allow more tuna cans to carry the "dolphin safe" label. Defenders of Wildlife, one of the lead groups, claims that the Commerce Dept. caved to Mexican tuna interests in relaxing a ban on a technique known as "encirclement." Commerce Secretary William Daley claimed that a preliminary finding showed encirclement had no significant adverse impact on dolphin stocks.
While Defenders of Wildlife are in a tizzy about this label change, William J. Broad reported in the New York Times of July 6, 1999 on new studies about those playful models of animal wisdom.
Growing evidence shows that the big animals, up to 12 feet long are killing fellow mammals in droves, wielding their beaks as clubs and slashing away with rows of sharp teeth. Dolphins have been found to bludgeon porpoises to death by the hundreds. Unlike most animal killers, which eat their prey, dolphins seem to have murderous urges unrelated to the need for food.
Dolphins have been observed picking up calves in their mouths and smacking them against the water, over and over, until they sink. Dead baby dolphins have been found with their ribs broken and skulls and vertebrae smashed, and with puncture marks matching the pattern of adult dolphin teeth.
Experts worry about dolphins injuring or even killing humans, especially given the rise in watching, feeding and swimming programs.
Officials at the Commerce Department's National Marine Fisheries Service have begun an educational campaign that sends out brochures to marinas, schools and fairs in coastal areas where people and dolphins interact, urging caution and warning of peril.
"Dozens of bites have been reported," says one flier. And people have been pulled under water. A woman who fed a pair of dolphins and then jumped into the water to swim with them was bitten. "I literally ripped my left leg out of its mouth," she said during her one-week stay in the hospital.
These studies have been conducted by scientists from the National Marine Fisheries Service, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Duke University Marine Laboratory, University of Aberdeen in Scotland, the Scottish Agricultural College, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and the Virginia Marine Science Museum in Virginia Beach, Va.
The emerging consensus is that wild dolphins can be cold-blooded killers.
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COURT SLAPS DOWN EPA
In recent opinions, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend implementation of a rule requiring 22 states from Michigan to Maine to take measures to control ozone and particulate matter of microscopic size -- 28 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
In Associated Press stories on May 14 and May 26, the decisions were discussed.
When the regulations were issued in July 1997, Al Gore called the tougher requirements "the most significant steps in a generation to protect the American people."
The Court of Appeals, however, disagreed. It nullified the particulate matter standard and directed the EPA to develop a new one. The ozone standard cannot be enforced until the underlying cases have been resolved.
In describing the Court's action, Robin Conrad, senior vice president for litigation at the US Chamber of Commerce, said the ruling put into question the EPA's methods of selecting the new standards. She asserted the agency was "picking numbers out of thin air." She said the agency will now have to start the process over and justify its numbers.
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KISSING FROGS DOESN'T ALWAYS WORK
Not all frogs will turn into handsome princes if you kiss them. For several years, environmentalists have been complaining that frogs all over the world are showing up with deformed limbs, extra legs, or missing limbs. The blame has been placed on carbon dioxide, pesticides, ultraviolet radiation, fungi, viruses or other nefarious causes. This was said to be a signal that we are next unless drastic action is taken to lower our standard of living to a third world level.
On April 29, 1999, Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent for Reuters reported on some studies which have been conducted and published in the recent Science.
Stanley Sessions, a developmental biologist at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, said that he and others have shown that tiny parasitic flatworms, called trematodes, and not chemicals or other forms of pollution, could be causing the problem. Sessions was involved in one of two studies on trematodes published in the Science magazine for the last week of April.
The flatworms are parasites that get transferred from birds and snakes into amphibians. Sessions said they can interfere with limb development as they burrow into the sprouting limbs of a tadpole.
In s second report in Science, Pieter Johnson of Stanford University in California and colleagues, including Euan Ritchie of James Cook University in North Queensland, Australia, found they could cause the deformities in frogs by exposing them to trematodes.
The scientists said more studies should be conducted to determine just what causes these trematode infestations.
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SUPREME COURT BOUNCES
THE SIERRA CLUB
In a recent decision given no notice by the mainstream media, the Sierra Club was sent packing. The case arose in Ohio, but since it was a federal case, the decision would have affected all of the 6th Circuit, which includes Michigan.
The U. S. Forest Service (USFS) was planning a timber sale under the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA). Under the plan developed, logging goals, areas involved and probable appropriate methods of harvest are determined. Before logging can actually begin, the USFS must comply with regulations which specify all of the details of the proposed cut, make sure it complies with the Plan, allow an opportunity for interested parties to be heard, conduct an environmental analysis of the project, and make a final decision -- which itself can be challenged admiinistratively and in court.
It has been the practice of the Sierra Club to attempt to tie up any potential lumber sales in court on the theory that the USFS is biased toward timbering. The Sierra Club challenged the regional director's Plan administratively and then in Court. The Ohio District Court found against the Sierra Club which then appealed to the 6th Circuit. In a remarkably biased opinion filled with undocumented allegations against the USFS, the 6th Circuit reversed and found in favor of the Sierra Club.
On May18, the Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion reversed the 6th Circuit and sent the Sierra Club back to square one by deciding that the case was "not ripe for review" because the plan had not been implemented and there was no imminent harm which would occur if the USFS was allowed to finish the process.
This decision is a major boon to the timber industry because the Sierra Club will not be able to tie up management plans for the federal forests for years before they even get off the ground. Instead, the objectors to a plan must contest the plan for each site and show that the proposed project violates the terms of the NFMA, rather than just generally stating that the plan is somehow bad.
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