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Sierra Club Insider July 20, 2004

When No Means Yes
It's almost as if there'd been a sign saying "no roadbuilding or logging" and the Bush administration crossed out the word "no."

The Roadless Area Conservation Rule--signed by President Clinton after receiving more than 2 million public comments, 95 percent of which favored the strongest protections--would have protected 58 million acres of roadless wild forests from roadbuilding and logging. But the Bush administration has stood the rule on its head with a convoluted process that requires governors to petition the Forest Service not to build roads or log these roadless wild forests in their states. And even after preparing and submitting a petition, the Forests Service can reject the request out-of-hand. The administration has already said the national forests in Alaska will not be protected by the roadless rule. MORE

Fish Fries Without Fish and Backwards Walking
In Cleveland, Sierra Club organizer Jennifer Lenhart reports that the only fish at the fish fry was her husband in a fish costume. Hosted by the Club and the League of Conservation Voters, the fishless fish fry highlighted the danger posed by eating mercury-contaminated fish caught in Ohio's rivers and lakes and featured fishless fish sticks, mock tuna salad, and two games for kids--"Finding Clean Nemo" and "Pin the Mercury on the Human."

Click here to find out more about how mercury from coal-fired power plants gets into fish and how the Bush administration's mercury proposal comes up short.

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis' Minnehaha Park, more than a hundred members of the Club's North Star Chapter protested Interior Secretary Gale Norton's visit in June with the perfect metaphor for the Bush administration--walking backwards. Norton, on a tour to promote the health benefits of outdoor recreation, was greeted by an orderly line of Minnesotans marching backwards to draw attention to the Bush administration's reversal of 30 years of environmental progress.

Missing the Train
More Americans are riding public transit than ever before. New transit lines in Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City and elsewhere are exceeding projected ridership. New Starts, the federal program that helps promising transit projects get off the ground, has a record backlog of more than 200 projects.

But the Bush administration is driving in the wrong direction. The current funding ratio for new transportation projects is 80 percent federal dollars/20 percent state. But the administration wants to change that to 50/50--putting hundreds of proposed transit projects in jeopardy, along with the jobs and economic gains that come with them. Check out the Club's new report, "Missing the Train," to learn about transit projects in Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and elsewhere that would be hard hit if the administration gets its way.

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  Follow in the Footsteps of Lewis & Clark

Two hundred years ago, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark took the mother-of-all go-west-young-man road trips. This summer, thousands of Americans are honoring the Lewis and Clark bicentennial with adventures of their own, retracing the Corps of Discovery's path on foot, on bike, by car, or by boat. Here's how you can join them, or read about their adventures.

  Leave No Hummer Behind

In July, in a Rose Garden ceremony, President Bush signed into law the "Leave No Hummer Behind" bill.

True? Not exactly, but the Bush administration has increased the business tax deduction for SUVs to $100,000. That's a Hummer of a tax break, which could cost taxpayers $1.2 billion. We wish that were satire, but it's not. For more, go to

  Tell Forest Service to Strengthen Off-Road Rules

"At least the Forest Service's proposed new rules acknowledge the serious threat posed by off-road vehicles," says Karl Forsgaard, chair of the Club's Recreation Issues Committee. "But the proposal to manage them needs to be strengthened if it is to succeed."

Tell the Forest Service to include a two-year timeframe for putting the rules into place and an interim prohibition on the use of existing unauthorized routes by all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes.


photos/illustrations: logging truck (Sierra Club archives) fish fry (Sierra Club) trolley (Brian Vanneman) bison (David Danz) hummerdinger (Sierra Club/Shift 7 Studios) dirt bike (Artville/Ed Wargun)




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