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TWS Statement on Senate Interior Appropriations Bill
U.S. Newswire
29 Jun 19:23
The Wilderness Society Statement on the Senate Interior
Appropriations Bill
To: National Desk; Editorial, Political, and Environmental
reporters
Contact: Sabrina Williams of The Wilderness Society, 202-429-8441

WASHINGTON, June 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following was
released today by The Wilderness Society:

In what has become an annual ritual, Republicans are again
loading up appropriations bills with legislative " riders " that
would surrender our environment to special interests. These riders
not only threaten important environmental protections -- they also
subvert the democratic process by trying to force through
legislative changes without the benefit of hearings or public
scrutiny. Time and again, President Clinton has stood firm and
asked Congress to provide the American people with a bill that is
parasite free and focuses on budget priorities.

Despite overwhelming popular support for environmental
protection, efforts to weaken our landmark environmental
protections continue and are in fact increasing this year. The
proposed anti-environment riders attached to the Interior FY 2001
Appropriations bill would weaken environmental protections in such
fundamental areas as the protection of rivers, national forests,
and national parks and wildlife refuges; control of global warming
and other air pollution; protection of threatened wildlife; and
grazing on public lands. Furthermore, many of these damaging riders
represent an assault on the public treasury and American taxpayers.

The Wilderness Society is calling on the Senate to drop its
latest wave of proposed anti-environmental riders on the Interior
Appropriations bill.

-- Oregon Inlet (North Carolina): Setting a terrible precedent,
this rider would give up national seashore and wildlife refuge land
for construction of two jetties, simply for better ocean access for
as few as 215 commercial fishing boats. Opposed by the US
Department of Interior, taxpayer groups, and conservationists, the
project would cause severe damage to the barrier island ecosystem
and increase impacts on an already threatened fishery.

-- Roadless areas: Senator Larry Craig (R-Ind.) has promised to
add a floor amendment to limit spending on the Administration's
roadless policy until a report is issued by a to-be-created
advisory committee, a process that could take years and delay
implementation.

-- Snowmobiles: Another floor amendment promised by Senator
Craig is anticipated to effectively delay implementation of the
National Park Service action to ban or severely restrict
snowmobiles except where their presence is legislatively mandated.
These machines impair air and water quality, harm wildlife, and
interfere with other park users.

-- White River National Forest (Colorado): Senator Ben
Nighthorse Campbell's (R-Colo.) rider to delay a final decision on
the White River National Forest Plan would force the Forest Service
to spend months or years preparing a "regulatory flexibility
analysis" to analyze the Plan's impact on small business. This
rider is unnecessary and an obvious stalling tactic because the
Forest Service has already analyzed economic impacts, and has shown
significant economic growth under all the possible management
alternatives.

-- White Mountain National Forest (New Hampshire): Senator Judd
Gregg's (R-N.H.) rider would exempt the White Mountain National
Forest from the Administration's roadless policy. Roadless forest
wildlands provide habitat for threatened and endangered species
like the grizzly bear and gray wolf, and some of the cleanest water
in our nation, providing both drinking water for communities and
habitat for declining fish populations.

-- Grazing: This rider championed by Senator Pete Domenici
(R-N.M.) would allow grazing on public lands to continue without
environmental review, regardless of the environmental damage that
is occurring and notwithstanding the congressional commitment last
year not to enact this rider again..

-- Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and National
Monuments: "Report" language for the Interior bill includes a
$1 million windfall for the Montana Stockgrowers Association.
Masquerading under the name of Undaunted Stewardship, this grazing
industry group is campaigning actively against Administration
interest in designating a national monument on the upper Missouri
River. This funding is being diverted from the purchase of
conservation easements and land acquisition. In addition, LWCF, a
source of money to acquire lands to meet the needs of citizens for
outdoor recreation and open space, federal and stateside component
is once again inadequately funded.

These riders represent a serious assault on our country's
natural heritage. We hope you'll use your voice in the community to
let citizens know the last minute games that their elected
officials are playing, which could ensure a presidential veto of
legislation that is critical to protecting the health of our
wildlands.

If you have any questions or need further information contact
Sabrina Williams at 202-429-8441.

-0-
/U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/
06/29 19:23

Copyright 2000, U.S. Newswire

 
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