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The Planet

War on the Environment Roundup

The Planet, December 1995, Volume 2, number 9

  • House Rejects Stealth Attacks on Environment
  • Environmental Bill of Rights Delivered to Congress
  • Citizens Rally to Save Wild Minnesota
  • Washington State Voters Throw Out Takings Law
  • Blowing the Whistle Works!
  • Stand Up for Public Lands, Say Idaho and Montana Activists
  • Salvage Logging Strikes Again -- and Again
  • New "Fast Track" Legislation Excludes Green Trade
  • House Passes Magnuson Act; Threats to Dolphins Resurface

House Rejects Stealth Attacks on Environment

In what Club leaders called a turning point for the environment, the House in November rejected by a 227 to 194 vote 17 "riders" attached to an Environmental Protection Agency spending bill that would have rolled back clean air, clean water and hazardous waste standards.

Environmental Bill of Rights Delivered to Congress

In early November the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations delivered to congressional offices 1.2 million signatures on the Environmental Bill of Rights. Thousands of Club activists spent countless hours mobilizing citizens to sign the petition this year, drawing widespread attention to the 104th Congress' War on the Environment.

Citizens Rally to Save Wild Minnesota

More than 400 people -- many carrying canoes, snowshoes and skis -- gathered in October on the sprawling lawn below the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol to protest bills introduced in Congress that would open up the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Voyageurs National Park to expanded motorized recreation. A week later, more than 1,100 supporters of wilderness participated in a congressional field hearing in St. Paul, Minn. "Our level of passion should warn anti-environmentalists in Congress that we will not allow these attacks on our public lands to go unanswered," said Minnesota activist Ginny Yingling.

Washington State Voters Throw Out Takings Law

Washington state voters resoundingly rejected an extreme "takings" law passed by the state legislature earlier this year, which would have required taxpayers to compensate developers for any restrictions on their property. The Sierra Club was instrumental in mobilizing citizens to get the referendum on the fall ballot and educating voters to defeat this initiative at the polls.

Blowing the Whistle Works!

After Club activists helped elect Rep. Sue Kelly (R-N.Y.) last November, they watched in anger as she voted against the environment six times out of six in the first weeks of the 104th Congress. By taking Kelly to task in the local papers and picketing her local office, citizens convinced her to change her ways. Kelly has since voted with the environment on nine out of 10 votes.

Stand Up for Public Lands, Say Idaho and Montana Activists

Around 250 volunteers, including many Club activists, distributed nearly 40,000 doorhangers in Boise, Idaho and the Flathead Valley in Montana this fall. The doorhangers -- which included a tear-off postcard to Congress -- urged citizens: "Stand up for your public lands. Political deals are taking the public out of the public lands."

Salvage Logging Strikes Again -- and Again

The salvage logging rider signed into law by President Clinton earlier this year is confirming Club leaders' worst fears: The U.S. Forest Service has asked the timber industry to help it design and implement salvage timber sales. The Forest Service was also ordered by a federal judge this fall to release for sale about 250 million board feet of timber in Oregon and Washington, much of it from old-growth forests. Hundreds of ancient-forest advocates demonstrated in Oregon this fall against the old-growth logging.

New "Fast Track" Legislation Excludes Green Trade

The Republican majority on the House trade subcommittee this fall approved a fast-track bill that would prohibit the president from negotiating environmental protections in future trade agreements. [See Update in October 1995 Planet, page 3.] In response, the Sierra Club rallied support for congressional signatures on a letter from George Miller (D-Calif.) to U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor that opposes the fast-track bill.

House Passes Magnuson Act; Threats to Dolphins Resurface

By an overwhelming margin, the House this fall reauthorized the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act, enacted in 1976 to protect the nation's dwindling fisheries. As the Club's coastal and marine advocates celebrated the victory, they continued their fight against Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's (R-Calif.) bill, H.R. 2179, which would allow the tuna industry to once again kill thousands of dolphins each year. The bill would also repeal the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act of 1990.


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