Who would you nominate as Eco-Thug of the Year, and Why?
The oil companies who, in order to continue feeding a century-old technology, undermine all
environmental efforts and technological advances that threaten their greed.
Chris Jarecki, Marina del Rey, California
Kudos to Virginia Governor George Allen for his oh-so-subtle ways of deep-sixing the Federal Tier
III program on our Virginia rivers. The program, which was designed to end further degradation to
treasured rivers throughout our nation, was studied for two years. Just before the public hearing, it was
sent back to the drawing board for more study. It has not been seen or heard from since!
Thomas Y. Savage, Fredericksburg, Virginia
Steven Spielberg. Are you shocked? So was I when this "socially conscious" media titan decided to
become co-owner of the largest development in the history of Los Angeles in the Ballona Wetlands
ecosystem. With more than 91 percent of California's historical wetlands gone, only an eco-thug would
decide that this was the sole place in all of the L.A. region that the Dreamworks SKG studio could be
built. The tag really applies when you find out how the Hollywood community, usually a strong supporter
of environmental causes, has been hushed.
Marcia Hanscom, Malibu, California
Me. I love the wilderness, and yet I have written only one letter on its behalf to my senators and
representatives this year. Before pointing the finger at large-scale culprits, I need to wag it at myself. Sure,
I'm very busy with my career and hobbies. But so are the special-interest lobbyists, new-home, strip-mall,
and theme-park developers, highway planners, clearcutters, and mega-consumers. I walk the trails of our
beautiful lands; now I need to walk the talk.
John F. Pleimann, St. Louis, Missouri
I believe the average American's voracious appetite for natural resources makes him or her the single
greatest threat to environmental protection and conservation. Our unwillingness to face the long-term
negative consequences of our day-to-day behavior does more damage than the most polluting corporation
or the least enlightened elected official.
David T. Cush, Auburn, Alabama
Who is the eco-thug of the year? Newt Gingrich.
Why? Two words: Freshman Class.
Kevin A. Fletcher, Albany, New York
The person who has done so much to earn the dubious honor would probably appreciate it the mostůMr.
Rush Limbaugh. "Ditto Heads" in all walks of life, including many freshmen in Congress, applaud such
statements as "There is no way we can harm this planet" and "The only good tree is a dead tree." Mr.
Limbaugh's recording of the chainsaw ode to joy is the anthem of those, who, like him, would sacrifice
our great and noble natural heritage to profit and "progress." And to add insult to the injury of our home,
this gentleman labels those of us who deeply care "environmental wackos."
Jerry W. Burns, Dallas, Texas
It's reprehensible that the Sierra Club revels in name-calling against those who disagree with its policies.
You have reached the same low level as those who spew out nonsense about "long-haired, maggot-
infested, environmental wackos."
Robert Keller, Bellingham, Washington
I nominate my friend's neighbor, Fred. Fred fertilized the bejesus out of his lawn but couldn't understand
why he was always mowing. Rain flushed the fertilizer into his trout pond and he couldn't figure out why
the trout went belly-up. Fred dumped a load of copper sulfate in his pond to "wipe the slate clean," and
was flabbergasted when his downstream neighbors objected. Fred's not enjoying his retirement, but he
doesn't understand why.
Mike Kernahan, Ocean Grove, New Jersey
Eco-Thug of the Year? That's easy. The Pope by a landslide. Few of us have the opportunity to help
humankind and the environment that he does. His avoidance of the topic of overpopulation is
Wendel Johnson, Marinette, Wisconsin
The whole Alaska congressional delegation. They have turned their backs on the Alaskans who love the
wilderness in favor of those who went up there for oil and lumber money.
Kay Delanoy, Keene, New Hampshire
I nominate Robert A. Kuras, president of the Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor, Michigan, who's using his
political connections to effect a swap of his river property for a big piece of Sleeping Bear Dunes National
Lakeshore. This developer would like to build condos and a championship golf course on this magnificent
piece of wooded uplands contiguous to his resort. In spite of documented "prudent and feasible
alternatives" he persists in pursuing a national-park parcel.
Sally MacFarlane-Neal, Glen Arbor, Michigan
A local "Christian" radio station, KBRT, is my nominee because they scoff at recycling as "left-wing
idiocy," firmly believe that private-property "rights" take precedence over all else, and consider leases of
federal lands to be private-property titles. They seem to care little about "using up" the world's resources
because it is "God's plan."
Carole Shanahan, Vista, California
Bill Clinton. Without the challenge of a viable alternative candidate, he is making "minor" concessions
that are the ecological equivalent of the "death of a thousand cuts."