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E-M:/ Interior Riders of the Storm



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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org
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Folks:

As the heat rises off the swamps in D.C., and the fireworks shows on the Mall
are done with for this year, it appears Congress is back hard at work making
chaos out of an otherwise orderly system of government.  The most telling
example right now is the virtual environmental armageddon that is currently
labeled the Interior Appropriations Bill.  As has happened far too often in
the past, this bill has become a surrogate for imposing the will of greedy and
narrowly focused interest groups who if forced to actually sponsor specific
legislation promoting their agendas requiring a full vote of Congress would be
beat back in seconds.

In a report from the Office of Management and Budget last week at least 23
separate items were noted in various points in the process (Senate or House
committee reports, amendments to the bill in either House or Senate).  Among
this unbelievable list are mostly individual items relating to good old
fashioned pork barrel spending -- perhaps in the era of "big pig" we can
identify this "pork barrel event" as akin to the breaking of the swine sewage
lagoons at the massive hog hotels festering in ever greater numbers across the
country.

With regard to Michigan, at least one rider has direct impact on our National
Forests.  Last year the Interior Appropriations bill included a provision
added in Conference Committee that blocked Michigan's three National Forests
from proceeding with revisions of their Land and Resource Management Plans
(many other forests were also held up as a result of this rider).  The SAME
provision is in the current Senate version of the Interior Appropriations Bill
this year.  In Michigan this prohibition brought to a screeching halt a
multiple year effort by close to 100 representatives of virtually every
conceivable interest group in the Huron-Manistee National Forest to move
toward upgrading and correcting the current plan.

Several alerts have gone out on email from various groups that call for
opposition to specific riders on the Interior Appropriations bill.  The
ultimate message, which should be shared with your Congressperson and both
Michigan Senators is that it is time to stop playing political football with
the funding of our nation's most precious natural resources, our National
Parks, National Forests and many other national public lands all funded by
this appropriations bill.  Please urge your Representative and Senators to
make sure these insidious riders are removed, that these precious public lands
are protected from pork barrel scams, and that the Congress show the American
people the respect we deserve by NOT slipping these outrageous provisions into
budget bills, away from public scrutiny and debate!

Anne Woiwode



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