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Gifford PInchot Task Force action alert

Help stop anti-ESA bills,Gotchen and Goose Egg hikes, Bush guts Roadless Rule
BILL TO GUT ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT HEADING THROUGH CONGRESS

The ESA Under Attack: Please Call Resources Committee Members and Urge Opposition to Anti-Endangered Species Bills



The House Resources Committee will vote on two bills that would significantly weaken Endangered Species Act protections tomorrow, Wednesday, July 21, 2004. We need your help to stop these bills in Committee. The two bills are Re p. Dennis Cardoza's (D-CA) "Critical Habitat Reform Act of 2003" (HR 2933) and Rep. Greg Walden's (R-OR) "Sound Science for Endangered Species Act Planning Act" (HR 1662). These bills would create holes in the designation of critical habitat and place additional burdens on the scientific process of listing species under the Endangered Species Act. Committee members need to hear from you today!



TAKE ACTION: Please call the following Representatives (see below) on the Resources Committee and let them know that you care about endangered species protection and don't want Congress to weaken the Act! Urge them to vote against both HR 2933-the Cardoza anti-critical habitat bill and HR 1662-the Walden unsound science bill on July 21, 2004.



Resources Committee Members to Call:

Representative & Phone
Jim Saxton, (R-NJ) 202/225-4765
Wayne T. Gilchrest, (R-MD) 202/225-5311
Rubén Hinojosa, (D-TX) 202/225-2531
Ciro D. Rodriguez, (D-TX) 202/225-1640
Solomon P. Ortiz (D- TX) 202/225-7742

Stephanie Herseth (D-SD) 202/225-6631

Neil Abercrombie, (D-HI) 202/225-2726

Brad Carson, (D-OK) 202/225-2701

Joe Baca, (D-CA) 202/225-6161
Calvin M. Dooley, (D-CA) 202/225-3341

George Miller, (D-CA) 202/225-2095

Grace F. Napolitano, (D-CA) 202/225-5256

Nick Rahall (R-WV) 202/225-6065

Jay Inslee, (D-WA) 202/225-6311
Tom Udall, (D NM) 202/225-6190
Mark Udall, (D-CO) 202/225-2161
Dale E. Kildee(R-MI) 202/225-3611
Ron Kind, (D-WI) 202/225-5506

Frank Pallone, Jr., (D-NJ) 202/225-4671
Raúl M. Grijalva, (D-AZ) 202/225-2435

Edward J. Markey, (D-MA) 202/225-2836

Background on the Anti-Critical Habitat Bill

Rep. Dennis Cardoza's (D-CA) "Critical Habitat Reform Act of 2003"- HR 2933 tries to undermine protections for the places that imperiled plants and animals need to survive and recover. The bill attempts to make the designation of critical habitat, the very places endangered species need to recover, voluntary rather than mandatory as the Endangered Species Act currently requires, by removing all legal deadlines. It changes the definition of critical habitat, creates loopholes and makes it increasingly harder for species to return from the brink of extinction.



Critical habitat is one of the most important protections in the Endangered Species Act. Scientists tell us that one of the best ways to protect species it to protect the places they live. One of the main reasons why species are becoming endangered is habitat loss. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to be good stewards of the environment and leave behind a legacy of protecting endangered species and the special places they call home.



Background on the The Unsound Science Bill

Rep. Walden's (R-OR) "Sound Science for Endangered Species Act Planning Act"-HR 1662 seeks to undercut the use of the best science. By requiring government agencies to "give greater weight" to some kinds of science over others, it seeks to restrict the use of important methods that scientists currently use to assess species' protection, such as statistical tools that often provide the most telling insights about the species. Scientists, not Congress, should determine which science best addresses any given issue. The Endangered Species Act already requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to use the most rigorous science available in developing balanced solutions to prevent the extinction of endangered fish, plants and wildlife. Developers, and the politicians they give money to, are trying to weaken the Endangered Species Act. They are manipulating science to fit their political agenda and working to remove the checks and balances that help protect people from special interests.



Information furnished by American Lands Alliance,  ldix@americanlands.org. More background and in-depth information is available on the Endangered Species Coalition's website at:  http://www.stopextinction.org/Issues/IssuesList.cfm?c=31



SUMMER HIKES

Join us for two great summer hikes! Both hikes meet at 9 am at The Daily Grind, 4026 SE Hawthorne, Portland, OR. Bring water, hiking boots, lunch, a hat, sunscreen, and your family and friends.



GOTCHEN FUELS REDUCTION PROJECT HIKE SUNDAY AUGUST 1, 9 am-6 pm

Come join us as we tour an area that has been saved from destructive pesticide spraying and clearcut logging through Task Force efforts. This drier eastside ecosystem is more prone to fire than forests on the west side of the Cascades, and we'll have a chance to see what the Forest Service plans to do to reduce fire danger. We'll also have the chance to see first-hand the impacts of livestock grazing on forest ecosystems, as well as a wildflower meadow that will be fenced off from grazing because it provides habitat for the rare Mardon skipper butterfly. The Gifford Pinchot National Forest will be conducting NEPA review of livestock grazing on one of its allotments this fall, so this hike provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the effects of grazing on the ground and what you can do to have an impact.

GOOSE EGG TIMBER SALE HIKE SUNDAY AUGUST 8, 9 am-6 pm

See a beautiful Old Growth forest that has been saved—so far—from logging by the Task Force and its members. Goose Egg lies just south of the Indian Heaven Wilderness area and is composed of forests nearly 200 years of age. Although the entire area is within spotted owl critical habitat, it is still on the Forest Service's list of planned sales—so we may need your help to save it! This will be a hike of mild bushwhacking with no well-worn trail—so be prepared for a groundtruthing adventure!



Bush Administration Guts Roadless Area Conservation Rule



On Monday the Bush administration announced that they would move forward with a new proposed Roadless Rule and issued an interim directive in the meantime until the new rule becomes final. The Administration stated that the interim rule would be in effect for the next 18 months. There will be a 60-day comment period ending on 9/14/04. The Bush administration has already exempted Alaska's Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Rule.



As expected, the administration is not modifying the Roadless Area Conservation Rule they are ending the roadless rule in its entirety. In a press release issued by the Administration, Secretary of Agriculture Ann Venneman stated, "Our actions today advance President Bush's commitment to cooperatively conserving roadless areas on national forests." However, despite all of today's greenwashing, the Administration is not going to be conserving roadless areas.



Basically, the new rule will set up a new petition process where Governors with roadless areas in their States will decide what areas they would like to see protected and then they must petition the Department of Agriculture for that protection. Then, it is the discretion of Mark Rey, Under Secretary of Agriculture, and former timber industry lobbyist, whether or not the Administration will allow those areas to be protected. Allowing Governors to "opt-in" for roadless protection essentially eliminates national protections for roadless areas. Pro-development states like Idaho a nd Alaska could also petition the administration to actually weaken protections. Without the Roadless Rule in place, decisions on road building and logging would once again go back to forest plans.



Take Action: Please take some time to write a letter to your local paper protesting the Administration's assault on the Roadless Rule. Below are some talking points and a sample letter to the editor (LTE). Please use the talking points below to help write your own letter or use the sample LTE below. For tips about how to write and place a LTE please go to:

 http://www.americanlands.org/August Organizing Packet Documents/LTE (Resource Media Training Manual).pdf



Helpful Links

The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register this week and the draft is available at  http://roadless.fs.fed.us/documents/id_07/2004_07_12_state_petition_proposed_rule.html



The interim directive can be found at  http://roadless.fs.fed.us/documents/id_07/07_08_04_draft_id_1920_2004-1.pdf



Talking Points

The Bush administration is not modifying the roadless area conservation rule they are ending the roadless rule in its entirety
The day this new policy goes into effect not a single acre of the forests protected under the roadless area conservation rule will be left protected.
There is a conflict in the federal courts about the legal standing of the roadless area conservation rule with some judges ruling against it and some judges ruling in favor of it. The Department of Agriculture is not required by the pending litigation to act on the roadless area conservation rule.
The new policy is a direct attempt to short-circuit the legal appeals pending in the courts by officially vacating the roadless rule administratively.
The Administration is using the pending litigation as a smokescreen to renege on their May 4, 2001 public promise to "uphold" the roadless area conservation rule to protect these last remaining wild areas of the National Forests.
This action is nothing more than the Bush Administration giving away the remaining 30 percent of the National Forest lands left unprotected to the timber industry.
Protecting the lands within the National Forests is supposed to be the job of the Forest Service not the job of state governors who simply don't have have the staff or expertise.
The substitute policy announced by the Administration is entirely unworkable and they know it. Few, if any, Governors are going to spend their limited resources and political capital asking the Forest Service to protect these remaining wild areas when they know at the end of this new process Mark Rey, a former timber industry lobbyist, gets to make the final decision on their request as the Under Secretary in charge at USDA.


Sample Letter to the Editor

To the Editor,



The Bush Administration intends to weaken the "roadless rule," originally intended to protect the last wild places in our National Forests, by giving governors the ability to "opt in" to a rulemaking that would foster roadless protections in their states. But these are federal, not state lands. In fact, over a 2.5 million citizens from across the country have already loudly told the Forest Service that they want to "opt in" for protection. At hearings across the nation, including in the West, large majorities have supported these important forest protections. The Bush Administration seems to be out of touch with these million Americans.



These wild forests protect the right of any citizen to camp, fish, or paddle a canoe in a beautiful place. As we prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, we should remember that ownership of these National Forests is one of the special blessings of being an American. The Bush Administration shouldn't try to take the decision to protect these places out of ordinary Americans' hands.



Sincerely,

Your Name

Address



Information furnished by American Lands Alliance,  ldix@americanlands.org



Conservation Director

Gifford Pinchot Task Force

phone 503-221-2102 ext.1#

fax 503-221-2146

Email:  kirsten@gptaskforce.org

Web: www.gptaskforce.org

homepage: homepage: http://www.gptaskforce.org
phone: phone: 503-221-2102 ext 1#