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The Planet

Updates

The Planet, April 1997, Volume 4, number 3

  • Population Funding Release Approved
  • Canada Puts Parks Before Profits
  • Tongass Deal Cut

Population Funding Release Approved

In a benchmark victory, volunteers across the country worked overtime to persuade 44 Republicans to join 175 Democrats and one Independent in the House of Representatives to support President Clinton's request to release Fiscal Year 1997 population funds on March 1 (see December 1996 Planet). The FY 97 funds are currently scheduled to be released on July 1, even though international family planning programs depend on them from October 1996 to September 1997. On Feb. 13, the House voted 220 to 209 to release the funds in March. Two weeks later, 11 Republicans in the Senate broke ranks to pass the resolution. Now it only requires Clinton's promised signature to become law.

Club activists argued that this was a vote about basic, fundamental reproductive rights, not, as anti-abortion forces claimed, the first test of the 105th Congress on the issue of abortion. By law, no U.S. international population funds can be used to provide abortions.

"Without aid from the United States," said Karen Kalla, population program director for the Sierra Club, "millions of women who depend upon U.S. funds for reproductive health services would be denied the freedom to determine if and when to have children."

For more information: Contact International Programs Director Larry Williams at (202) 675-6690; e-mail: <larry.williams@sierraclub.org>

Canada Puts Parks Before Profits

A two-year fight by Sierra Club and other environmental groups in Canada to stop rampant commercial development in Banff National Park (see May 1996 Planet) paid off in October with the release of the Banff-Bow Valley report. Among the report's more than 500 recommendations is a call for ecosystem preservation as the primary goal of park management. Other recommendations include a moratorium on releasing land for commercial development within Banff, limiting the town that currently exists within the park to 10,000 residents, and removing an airstrip, a buffalo paddock, horse corrals and a camp to create a wildlife corridor.

Parks Canada, the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. National Park Service, is now required to complete a management plan by the end of March to carry out the study's recommendations. "The conflict between exploitation and protection in our premier national park must end," said Elizabeth May, executive director of Sierra Club of/du Canada. "The Canadian Government and Sheila Copps, Minister of Heritage, have taken a big step in the right direction."

To take action: Write in support of implementing the recommendations of the Banff-Bow Valley report. Send your letters to Sheila Copps, Minister of Heritage, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 0A6.

For more information: Contact Sierra Club of/du Canada at (613) 241-4611; e-mail: <sierra.club.canada@sierraclub.org>

Tongass Deal Cut

The Clinton Administration agreed in February to supply Louisiana Pacific's Ketchikan Pulp Company (see September 1996 Planet) with 300 million board feet of Tongass timber over the next three years and to pay $140 million to settle LP's lawsuits over changes in the 1990 Tongass Timber Reform Act.

"The payoff to this corporate polluter is just another drain on the federal treasury for a company that's been operating destructive timber operations for 40 years in the Tongass," said Richard Hellard, Alaska Chapter conservation chair. "Now that the Tongass will be released from the 50-year timber contract stranglehold, the Clinton administration and the U.S. Forest Service need to release a final Tongass land management plan that recognizes clean water, abundant wildlife and wild salmon as valuable and essential forest products."

For more information: Contact Sally Kabisch at the Alaska Rainforest Campaign office at (907) 235-2896; e-mail: <sally.kabisch@sierraclub.org>

http://www.sierraclub.org/planet/199704/updates.asp


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