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Saturday, April 20, 2002

Earth Weekend is Here!

Earth Day Founder Calls for Higher Fuel Economy Standards

WASHINGTON, DC, April 19, 2002 (ENS) - Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson wants Congress to reexamine the issue of fuel economy standards in publicly televised hearings.

Last month, the U.S. Senate forfeited a key opportunity to improve air quality and lessen the nation's dependence on foreign oil by defeating an amendment to raise corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards, Nelson said.

Charging that the amendment was defeated through misinformation spread by auto industry lobbyists, Nelson said the facts regarding the importance of updating the nation's fuel efficiency standards must be aired in televised congressional hearings.

The defeated amendment sought to update the nation's 27 year old CAFE standards, requiring automakers to use improved technology to produce vehicles that achieve better gas mileage. Instead, senators voted 62-38 in favor of a watered down amendment that leaves it up to the Department of Transportation to develop new standards, a move that environmentalists say will bring about little improvement.

The former U.S. senator, who was the first to introduce legislation for national fuel efficiency standards more than 30 years ago, criticized the Senate and President George W. Bush for failing to show leadership on the issue. Nelson noted that, rather than work to decrease America's dependence on foreign oil by lobbying for vehicles that get better gas mileage, Bush has pushed to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil drilling as a means of increasing the nation's oil supply.

"They can achieve the CAFE standards in less time than they can get oil out of the Arctic Refuge, and improving fuel economy, even modestly, would save more oil than is likely to be pumped out of the refuge," said Nelson, who is now counselor to The Wilderness Society. "They're dreaming. They ought to quit ruining wilderness areas and other public lands all over the country when they have a solution here. You don't have to tear up the Earth."

Nelson also proposed that Bush institute an annual presidential State of the Environment address, and hold congressional hearings on a series of major environmental issues - starting with CAFE standards.

* * *
Conservation Groups Counter Bush Administration Messages

WASHINGTON, DC, April 19, 2002 (ENS) - On Monday, the 32nd annual Earth Day, conservation groups will hold rallies and press conferences to spotlight the anti-environmental policies of the Bush administration, and call for public support for environmental issues.

Singer and activist Bonnie Raitt will join the leaders of some of the nation's top environmental groups at a press conference Monday to call on the Bush administration to halt what they call its systematic campaign to undermine environmental regulations.

The groups, which include the Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Friends of the Earth, National Environmental Trust, Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, Physicians for Social Responsibility, The Wilderness Society, and the League of Conservation Voters, will release an updated report titled, "Rewriting the Rules: The Bush Administration's Unseen Assault on the Environment."

A coalition of these national environmental groups has undertaken an intensive month long public education campaign around Earth Day to alert the public about efforts by the Bush administration to weaken environmental protections. The coalition has sponsored a series of print ads and a television ad campaign that will air in nine major markets across the country.

The ad campaign argues that "the Bush administration is allowing big corporations to weaken our nation's environmental laws, so they can put more pollution in our air, put more poison in our water, cut down our national forests, damage our public lands, and make taxpayers, rather than polluters, foot the bill for cleaning up toxic wastes."

The Sierra Club plans rallies at every Bush administration Earth Day event to offer the conservation community's perspective on Bush's environmental proposals. Critics say the president's proposals will do little to protect America's clean air and public health and almost nothing to curb global warming.

President George W. Bush will be at Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, New York to tout his proposals for voluntary emissions reductions and pollution trading schemes. Vice President Richard Cheney and Interior Secretary Gale Norton will travel to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to promote the administration's national energy policy.

"The Administration's Earth Day events amount to little more than smoke and mirrors," said Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. "Instead of pushing for more oil drilling and pollution trading schemes, Americans need the President to reduce our dependence on polluting energy through greater fuel economy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy sources."

For a list of some of the issues that conservation groups are concerned about, visit: http://www.wilderness.org/earthday2002/

* * *
California Hosts Dozens of Earth Day Events

SACRAMENTO, California, April 19, 2002 (ENS) - The state of California will be leading the nation this year in Earth Day events.

California is planning more than 40 Earth Day projects in 36 state parks and 20 counties from Saturday, April 20 through Monday, April 22.

Activities include beach and creek clean up and restoration, tree planting and trail improvement.

"Earth Day offers an opportunity to bring together neighbors and neighborhoods in the spirit of goodwill and service," said Governor Gray Davis. "These celebrations in our state parks and beaches allow all Californians to personally be involved in Earth Day 2002."

Thousands of volunteers will participate in special events and cleanup projects, including the installation of recycling containers. A list of all the parks projects is available at: http://resources.ca.gov/earthday2002.html

In San Diego, site of one of the world's largest Earth Day celebrations, the 13th annual EarthFair will offer more than 250 environmental exhibits, showcasing environmental organizations, businesses, services and products. There will be six stages of entertainment, Health and Technology Pavilions, and a children's area filled with hands on activities. More information about the fair is available at: http://www.earthdayweb.org

The Los Angeles region's air quality agency is helping to commemorate Earth Day by sponsoring several events across the region this weekend.

"Earth Day originally was conceived as a way to focus public attention on the need to clean up our environment," said Barry Wallerstein, executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD). "AQMD is sponsoring Earth Day events to help the public understand that air pollution levels have been dramatically reduced, but that we still have more work to do to achieve healthful air quality."

AQMD is sponsoring the Whole Earth Festival in Van Nuys, the 16th Annual Environmental Expo at California State University in San Bernardino, Earth Day at the Los Angeles Zoo and a number of other events. More information is available at:

In San Francisco, a convoy of trucks, buses, streetsweepers and more ķ all powered by low emission fuels ķ will gather with Mayor Willie Brown to promote alternative fuels.


Posted by Richard
4/20/2002 08:05:03 AM | PermaLink

 
Friday, April 19, 2002

Dozens of Wolves Killed for Preying on Livestock

As you read about the cost of killing the 5 wolves and the numerous preventative measures used to drive the wolves away from preying on livestock (we can only imagine the cost which is left unstated), I would ask you to consider how these costs would relate to the cost of simply providing cattle-ranchers retribution for their lost calves? Michael Pollan, no vegetarian himself, on March 31st published his My Life as a Cow which documented the raising of a calf to slaughter in South Dakota -- his profit from his steer: $27 and a box of steaks! Is this really worth killing a wolf at a cost of many thousands of dollars per wolf?

Also, the article mentions that this is the 3rd kill in one week, but this is misleading b/c seasonal kill ratios for wolves vary and right now, as wolves prepare to raise pups after a winter of lost body weight, it would be higher than the average. Even so, if you do the numbers you will realize that only a bureaucratic policy that would rather spend 10x more in infrastructure and technique than plain simple retributive costs, could possibly justify the killing of this pack based on this number of cattle kill.
-----------------------------------------------------------

BOISE, Idaho, April 18, 2002 (ENS) - The federal government spent about $15,000 to hunt down and kill five gray wolves after they were confirmed to have killed a calf on private land.

The wolves, the surviving members of the Whitehawk Pack, killed the calf along the East Fork of the Salmon River near Clayton, Idaho on April 5. It was the third livestock kill by members of the pack within one week.

The gray wolves, three yearlings and the alpha pair, were killed after the livestock death was confirmed as a wolf kill by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) said the Whitehawk Pack has been involved in chronic livestock depredations in the East Fork.

Wildlife sharpshooters had already killed four members of the radio collared pack in recent weeks. Gray wolf recovery managers from the USFWS and the Nez Perce Tribe do not believe any members of the pack remain in the East Fork.

"We attempted to use many preventive measures with the Whitehawk Pack, including radio activated guard units, helicopter hazing, electric fencing, ground pursuit and harassment," said Carter Niemeyer, Idaho wolf recovery coordinator for the USFWS. "These non-lethal means of control did not deter the wolves' persistent livestock depredation. We will continue to use various non-lethal measures to control problem wolves, but the reality is that chronic depredation incidents may result in the lethal control of some gray wolves in Idaho."

The destruction of the Whitehawk pack is the latest in a recent series of lethal control measures taken against gray wolf packs. Last week, for example, four members of the Sheep Mountain pack in Montana, near Yellowstone National Park, were killed after they ran across a horse pasture. The wolves were suspected of eating a cow, but biologists could not confirm that the pack had killed the cow.

Also in Montana, several members of the Ninemile pack were killed after biologists confirmed that they had been killing llamas.

Wildlife managers have spent thousands of dollars to track and kill the wolves, despite the low monetary value of the wildlife they have killed. All ranchers who have lost livestock have been reimbursed by a fund managed by the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife

The Wolf Recovery Foundation, which has donated radio collars to aid government biologists in tracking wolves, now says it will not donate collars for wolf packs located outside of Yellowstone National Park, because they are used so often to track down and kill the wolves.

The annual gray wolf count conducted in December of 2001 revealed 261 wolves in 17 known wolf packs in Idaho. Sixteen wolf packs produced pups in 2001, and fourteen of those packs met the recovery requirement for a breeding pair - an adult male and female wolf that have raised at least two pups to survive until December 31 in the year of their birth.

The USFWS believes that 30 breeding pairs of wolves for three successive years throughout the three state Northern Rocky Mountain area - Idaho, Montana and Wyoming - will constitute a viable and recovered wolf population. If current trends continue, those recovery goals will be met by the end of 2002, the USFWS said.

Posted by Richard
4/19/2002 08:56:05 AM | PermaLink

Jury Labels MTBE Gasoline as Defective Product

This article doesn't go into the half of the story. In fact, far from being just polluting as "foul smelling and bad tasting," MTBE is a carcinogenic toxic agent -- next time at the pump take a moment to read the corresponding sticker about "this product contains MTBE." It is true that MTBE is highly water soluble and both because of holding tank leeching and sewer drainage runoff, it is literally poisoning ground water supplies. The article mentions South Tahoe as being poisoned, but less publicized is that Santa Monica, CA's water supply has been largely contaminated due to MTBE runoff and so must be imported at great cost...therefore, this ruling will be successful in recouping those losses.

The issue is tricky, however, b/c the whole reason MTBE is added to gas (as the article mentions) is because it helps with emissions and air pollution. Thus, Gov. Davis has supported MTBE and been dogmatic in his refusals to call for its removal, even though prior to this ruling, environmental groups have for some time proven its many dubious failures. Of course, there are solutions that would avoid both forms of pollution from mass-transit to electro-powered vehicles to ethanol-burning cars...
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

SAN FRANCISCO, California, April 18, 2002 (ENS) - A jury in San Francisco has decided that gasoline containing the additive MTBE is a "defective product," and that two major oil companies knew about the problem when they began marketing fuels containing MTBE.

The verdict, issued Monday, came in a product liability case filed by the South Tahoe Public Utility District over contamination of the district's groundwater. MTBE pollution had forced the South Tahoe District to close one third of its drinking water wells by 1998, when the utility filed suit.

The jury found that Lyondell Chemical Company, formerly Atlantic Richfield Chemical Company, Shell Oil Company, and Tosco Corporation, now part of Phillips Petroleum, knew their product was defective but withheld that information from the public when they started selling gasoline boosted with methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).

MTBE is an oxygenate added to gasoline to make it burn more completely, reducing vehicle tailpipe emissions. The addition of the chemical is added by law in urban areas that fail to attain the clean air standard set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

But the water soluble chemical has made its way into drinking water supplies around the nation, contaminating the water with a foul smell and taste.

The verdict is the first of its kind, reports the "San Francisco Chronicle." However, dozens of similar cases have been filed by other utilities, communities and individuals across the country.

The next phase of the trial will determine whether MTBE from the three oil companies caused the groundwater pollution in South Lake Tahoe, and set the amount of damages the companies must pay.

Posted by Richard
4/19/2002 08:19:54 AM | PermaLink

New Order of Insects Discovered in Namibia

WASHINGTON, DC, April 17, 2002 (ENS) - A new order of insects has been identified in a discovery that researchers say is equivalent to finding a live saber-tooth tiger. This first discovery of a new insect order since 1915 brings the total number of insect orders to 31.

The insect is known by scientists as Mantophasmatodea, a predatory animal which resembles a mix between a stick insect and a preying mantis. It was originally found in a 45 million year old piece of Baltic amber by Oliver Zompro, a doctoral student at the Max-Planck Institute for Limnology in Ploen, Germany.

Subsequently, the existence of a living population of these insects was discovered on the Brandberg Mountain in western Namibia by a team of scientists from the National Museum of Namibia in Windhoek.

Living individuals were confirmed on a recently completed rediscovery expedition, funded by Conservation International, an organization based in Washington, DC that works in 30 countries on four continents to protect the Earth's richest regions of plant and animal diversity.

These insects are some of the last witnesses of the time when Africa and America were part of the same landmass, scientists said.

This discovery is comparable to finding a living mastodon or saber-tooth tiger, said Piotr Naskrecki, director of Conservation International's new Invertebrate Diversity Initiative, who attended the rediscovery mission and photographed the new order.

"It tells us that there are places on Earth that act as protective pockets, preserving tiny glimpses of what life was like millions of years ago," said Naskrecki.

The new insect order may have lived in Brandberg's unique habitat for millions of years with no interaction with other species. Brandberg is a 120 million year old massif, isolated from other mountains by hundreds of miles of barren sand.

Invertebrates are not seen as charismatic as tigers, pandas or dolphins, so they are often overlooked as conservation priorities. But insects, with more than 1.2 million known species, represent more than 80 percent of all living creatures on Earth.

Harvard University professor Edward O. Wilson, a two time Pulitzer Prize winning author and Conservation International board member, has made the study of insects his life work and the foundation of the science of evolutionary biology. "If human beings were to disappear tomorrow, the world would go on," Dr. Wilson said, "but if invertebrates were to disappear, I doubt that the human species could last more than a few months."

The new Invertebrate Diversity Initiative, part of The Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International, recognizes invertebrates as an important conservation priority. Inspired by this latest discovery in Namibia, scientists intend to nominate the Brandberg region as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Posted by Richard
4/19/2002 08:02:58 AM | PermaLink

 
Thursday, April 18, 2002

Feeling Cranky? Ticket a Random SUV...

This from the Earth on Empty people in Cambridge, MA. Download their SUV Ticket (.pdf).

Dear Guerrilla Ticketers and Friends,

Many thanks to those of you who have disseminated Earth on Empty's "SUV Driver Violation Tickets," our protest to those nasty bloatmobiles. We are writing you to announce our:

* National SUV Ticketing effort from May 19-25, 2002
* Web site update at: http://www.earthonempty.com/index.html
------------------------------
Guilty as charged: '92 Nissan Pathfinder, 12 miles to the gallon. Will somebody please ticket me? Richard

Posted by Richard
4/18/2002 10:20:46 PM | PermaLink

No Arctic Drilling

So the Senate has mercifully sent the Arctic Drilling Amendment packing yet again. However, before environmentalists and left-leaners of any type begin celebrating too loudly, we should remember that while blocking this amendment was a gain, it was only ONE PART of a larger energy bill which is outright non-sustainable and pro-big corporate energy.

In fact, let me suggest that this present administration tends to work by the principle of mis-direction. It pushes in one direction very hard, so hard in fact that even those who are generally adminstration policy supporters start to balk, and then suddenly pulls back to move equally as hard in another direction. Behind all the hoopla, however, a lot of smaller policy decisions are advanced and passed that thereby evade large-scale media coverage.

This energy bill is a joke and now that the Dems have their moral victory, they'll no doubt wheel and deal a good portion of this Enron policy right through the Senate floor and into our backyards. The word should go out just as strongly to friends and neighbors alike: Any Friend of Cheney's is not a Friend of Ours...Say NO to the Bush Energy Plan.

Posted by Richard
4/18/2002 11:15:12 AM | PermaLink

Marine Reserves Provide Rapid Rewards

SANTA BARBARA, California, April 16, 2002 (ENS) - Marine animals show a rapid and prolonged positive response to protection inside marine reserves, say scientists at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Reserves are defined as no take zones where it is illegal to remove fish and other species in any way.

"The exciting result is that once you put a reserve into place, in one to three years there is a dramatic response by the species in the reserve to that protection," said Ben Halpern, a graduate student in biology at UC Santa Barbara and one of the authors of a report that will appear in the May issue of the journal "Ecology Letters." Halpern wrote the paper with Robert Warner, professor of biology at UCSB.

"People who are contemplating establishing a reserve can know they will see results in a short time," said Halpern. "From a political and social perspective, this is very good news."

The researchers reviewed 112 independent measurements of 80 reserves to show that the measures of biodiversity, the size of the creatures living in the reserves, and the total number of creatures in the reserve, all become higher after a reserve is dedicated.

Posted by Richard
4/18/2002 10:40:19 AM | PermaLink

Scientists Ask Immediate End to Logging of National Forests

WASHINGTON, DC, April 16, 2002 (ENS) - Stop the destructive practice of commercial logging in America's national forests, 221 of the country's most eminent scientists urged President George W. Bush in a letter signed today. The scientists say that without protection from further logging, the country's precious biological diversity will be lost.

For full text and graphics visit: http://ens-news.com/ens/apr2002/2002L-04-16-02.html

Posted by Richard
4/18/2002 10:38:31 AM | PermaLink

McDonald's Issues Report on Social Responsibility

April 17, 2002

BY SANDRA GUY BUSINESS REPORTER

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Two years ago, McDonald's Corp. CEO Jack Greenberg criticized animal-rights activists who protested at the annual shareholders' meeting for failing to recognize McDonald's efforts to be socially and environmentally responsible.

At the time, Greenberg said the demonstrators from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) "will not be happy until we sell only beans and rice."

Now, the Oak Brook-based fast-food chain, still criticized by anti-globalization activists and suffering dramatic sales declines in countries that have had outbreaks of mad-cow disease, is taking a cue from its critics.

The company compiled and released its first report this week--a 45-page, politically correct manifesto--detailing its efforts to be socially, environmentally and animal-friendly. The report adheres to guidelines advocated by the Global Reporting Initiative, a Boston-based group that has set up a framework for companies to report their social performance. It's available at www. mcdonalds.com/corporate/social/ report/report.html

Some little-known McDonald's initiatives include employee seminars on topics such as Gender- Speak; a Ronald McDonald care mobile that brings dental care to needy children, and charitable grants to fund facial reconstructive surgery for children overseas.

It's doubtful the report will silence PETA. At McDonald's shareholders' meeting next month, PETA and Trillium Asset Management, a Boston-based investment firm that specializes in socially responsible investments, are sponsoring a resolution calling on McDonald's to expand the animal-welfare standards it enforces in the United States and Britain to all 121 countries where it operates.

Other initiatives in the report include a new partnership with the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business, a division of Conservation International, to ensure that McDonald's global food supply is grown using sustainable agriculture and conservation practices.

Usually, anti-globalization activists who decry the use of pesticides, genetically engineered ingredients and wasteful land-use practices by food corporations are the ones calling for such practices.

The company has tried to stem mad-cow fears, especially in Japan, where same-store sales plunged 15 percent in March, by explaining that it uses beef from safe sources. The report also points out that McDonald's buys no beef from rain-forest lands.

Another selling point is community ties. More than 70 percent of its restaurants worldwide are owned by local operators, who hire local people and buy goods from regional and national suppliers.

The company also has stepped up efforts to save water and to recycle its paper and cardboard. In the Chicago area, 500 McDonald's restaurants are putting Big Macs in biodegradable food containers.

McDonald's spokesman Walt Riker insisted the report is not meant to deflect specific criticisms.

"Shareholders, customers and communities want to know, 'Do you stand for more than economics and the bottom line?'" Riker said.

Not everyone is convinced.

Said Simon Harris, campaign director for the Organic Consumers Association, a grass-roots non-profit focused on promoting a sustainable food system, "McDonald's represents the face of global corporatization. The company looks at the environment and at communities as resources to be extracted."

Posted by Richard
4/18/2002 10:35:40 AM | PermaLink

U.S. utility pollution kills 5,900 a year, says study

I remind you of this present Enron Administration's commitment to sustainable energy practices...
-----------------------------------------

By Chris Baltimore, Reuters
Thursday, April 18, 2002

WASHINGTON ó Air pollution from eight utilities targeted in federal lawsuits during the Clinton administration causes an estimated 5,900 deaths a year, a former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcement chief said Wednesday.

Airborne pollution from the coal-fired plants also was blamed for about 140,000 asthma attacks and 14,000 cases of acute bronchitis annually, according to a report from a group headed by Eric Schaeffer.

Last month Schaeffer resigned from the EPA's Office of Regulatory Enforcement to protest what he said was the Bush administration's move to weaken pollution laws.

A utility group, the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, dismissed Schaeffer's study as wrongly attempting to link deaths to utility pollution and ignoring other factors.

Schaeffer's report centered on the utilities accused of violating the EPA's so-called "new source review" rule. The rule sets how far a utility can go to enlarge or upgrade an old coal-fired plant before investing in expensive devices to control smog, acid rain, and soot.

The Bush administration has ordered the EPA to reconsider the new source rule. Meanwhile, settlement talks in pending cases have screeched to a halt as utilities sense changing political winds.

Schaeffer and other critics say the administration has failed to weigh the health impact of relaxing pollution rules. "Many children and families suffer the misery of asthma, bronchitis, and even premature death because of the pollution coming from these eight utilities," Schaeffer said.

EIGHT UTILITIES ANALYZED

In November 1999, the Clinton administration sued nine Midwestern and Southern utilities to enforce the new source review portion of the 1970 Clean Air Act.

Schaeffer's study singled out eight utilities which have not yet settled the lawsuits filed by the Justice Department.

American Electric Power Co. was identified in the report as the company responsible for the most deaths at 1,400 annually. It was followed by Southern Co. at 1,200 and the Tennessee Valley Authority at 780. The study also had a state-by-state breakdown of deaths likely caused by emissions from the eight utilities. Pennsylvania topped the list with 550 annually, followed by Ohio with 480 and North Carolina with 400.

The study was done by Abt Associates Inc., a consulting firm used by the EPA for its own analyses, Schaeffer said. "This represents the low end of the range we could have used (on mortality)," Schaeffer said. "These companies would be a lot closer to cleaning up their acts if the White House could find the courage to say no to the energy lobbyists and enforce the law."

The utility industry attacked the report's methodology and called its intent "spiteful."

"There's no generally accepted model that can produce the kind of causation that is implied by this study," said Scott Segal, a spokesman for the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council. The council is a lobbying group that includes Southern, FirstEnergy Corp., and Duke Energy Corp., also named in the study.

Other companies named in the study were Vectren Corp.'s Southern Indiana Gas & Electric Co, Dynegy Inc.'s Illinois Power, and Cinergy Corp.

The federal government did settle a lawsuit last year with TECO Energy Inc. TECO agreed to pay a $3.5 million fine and invest $1 billion in new pollution controls over a decade.

After leaving the EPA last month, Schaeffer joined the Rockefeller Family Fund, a New York advocacy group active in environmental and women's issues.

Posted by Richard
4/18/2002 08:33:05 AM | PermaLink

 
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Justice Denied for Savannah the Elephant!

On Tuesday April 16th, the City Council voted 4 to 2 in favor of keeping Savannah at the El Paso Zoo and bringing in another elephant, Juno. Representatives Jan Sumrall (a self-professed žanimal loverÓ) and Luis Sarinana excused themselves from this controversial vote in a patently opportunistic way. Representatives Larry Medina and Anthony Cobos had the moral vision to see the wrong in keeping Savannah confined at the zoo when the doors of freedom are open for her at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Hundreds of concerned citizens were shut out of the deliberation process and their letters and calls of concern were never answered. The decision to bring in another elephant was virtually rubber-stamped. Yet El Paso animal rights group Voice For All Animals has a vision for vastly improving the zoo, and we deserve to be heard. This involves freeing Savannah, and bringing in other elephants from still worse condition than the El Paso zoo, and ideally finding sanctuaries for them. The zoo would be transformed from a prisonhouse to a halfway house for rescuing elephants. But we must begin by freeing Savannah. When there is an opportunity for a being to have a better life, the opportunity ought to be granted.

Please write/call/fax Jan Sumrall and Luis Sarinana and criticize them for missing this important vote. Please strongly criticize Reps. Cook, Power, Rodriquez, and Escobar for voting against Savannah. Please thank Reps. Medina and Cobos for their compassion and courage. Your letters truly can help us, thank you.

Dr. Steven Best
President, Voice For all Animals
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Mayor Caballero Mayor@ci.el-paso.tx.us
phone 915-541-4145; fax 915-541-4501

Jan Sumrall District#1@ci.el-paso.tx.us
541-4886; Fax 915-541-4380

Rose Rodriguez District#2@ci.el-paso.tx.us
541-4996; Fax 915-541-4348

Larry Medina (voted for Savannah) District#3@ci.el-paso.tx.us
541-4572; Fax 915-541-4258

John Cook District#4@ci.el-paso.tx.us
541-4140; Fax 915-541-4213

Dan Power District#5@ci.el-paso.tx.us
541-4701; Fax 915-541-4360

Paul Escobar District#6@ci.el-paso.tx.us
541-4182; Fax 915-541-4262

Luis Sarinana District#7@ci.el-paso.tx.us
541-4108; Fax 915-541-4134

Anthony Cobos (voted for Savannah) District#8@ci.el-paso.tx.us
541-4123; Fax 915-541-4300

Posted by Richard
4/17/2002 10:54:53 AM | PermaLink

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to go to Vote...

The moment of truth has arrived for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Senate is likely to vote as early as Thursday on an amendment to open America's greatest sanctuary for Arctic animals to oil development and sprawling industrialization. Even if you have sent a message to your senators about this issue before, new developments make it critical that you do so again right now by going to http://www.savebiogems.org/arctic/takeaction.asp?step=2&item=1190

Our defense of the Arctic Refuge is hanging by a slender thread -- a mere handful of senators who are likely but not certain to vote with us. As the critical vote nears, the pro-oil lobby is resorting to increasingly cynical schemes to lure these "swing" senators to their side. Drilling proponents have offered to guarantee healthcare benefits for unemployed steelworkers in return for opening the refuge to oil development. They have offered to guarantee a supply of oil to Israel. More eleventh-hour ploys are sure to follow today and tomorrow. It is an insult to the American people to tie such issues to the fate of the Arctic Refuge. Providing for steelworkers and promoting peace in the Middle East should not depend on destroying our greatest remaining wilderness.

These attempts to cut backroom deals that will sell out the refuge are especially repugnant because the Senate has already voted AGAINST an amendment that would have improved fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks. That single measure alone would have saved far more oil than the Arctic Refuge could ever produce. But pro-oil senators would rather sacrifice America's premier wildlife refuge so that oil giants can sell even more oil that can then be wasted in the world's most inefficient gas-guzzling vehicles. This is special-interest politics at its absolute, public-be-damned worst. It can only be countered by millions of pro-environment messages from people like you and me.

Please do your part by contacting your two senators immediately. If you want to have the greatest possible impact, then **pick up the phone right now** and call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. Speak to your senators' staff and ask them to tell your senators to oppose any amendment that would allow oil exploration or development in the Arctic Refuge. It will take you only about 3 minutes, but will make a big impression.

If you have less than 3 minutes or you're not within reach of a phone, then go to
http://www.savebiogems.org/arctic/takeaction.asp?step=2&item=1190 and send an electronic fax or email (and please take a few seconds to personalize the sample message by adding your own thoughts about why preserving the Arctic Refuge is important to you).

However you choose to contact your senators, *please do it instantly.* This may be our last, best chance to stop the oil giants from plundering America's irreplaceable sanctuary for polar bears, white wolves, and 130,000 caribou.

Posted by Richard
4/17/2002 10:46:29 AM | PermaLink

Mutant Frogs

This report is making the rounds in corporate media, I'm both sad and happy to say. Of course, activists have known this information for some time. They also know that frogs and other amphibians run the risk of being wiped-out completely in the near future if development practices don't change...amphibians are very sensitive markers of ecological change b/c they rely on a careful balance between both land and water habitats. Disturbing even one of these habitats can be enough to create genocides in amphibian populations. That we are more often than not severely transforming both has led to dramatic reductions and mutations within the amphibian kingdom.

http://www.abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/DailyNews/frogs020415.html
April 15 - Male frogs exposed to even very low doses of a common weed killer can develop multiple sex organs - sometimes both male and female - researchers in California have discovered.

Weedkiller makes male frogs into females - study - USA
http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/15506/story.htm

A widely used herbicide has been linked for the first time to developmental defects in a species of aquatic frog, scientists report today, raising the possibility of a hidden toxic hazard in the environment. Laboratory experiments at the University of California at Berkeley suggest that even at very low levels, exposure to the common farm chemical atrazine can disrupt hormones and alter the sexual development of male African clawed frogs. (04/16/02) San Francisco Chronicle http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2002/04/16/MN108265.DTL.

Weed killer blamed for frog mutations (04/16/02) Seattle Times
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/134437158_frogs16.html



Posted by Richard
4/17/2002 10:42:19 AM | PermaLink