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E-M:/ URGENT-- SENATE TAKINGS VOTE



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Enviro-Mich message from juliemec@voyager.net (Julie Stoneman)
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TAKINGS  ALERT, ALERT, ALERT--Please call Sen. Abraham (202-224-4822) and
Levin (202-224-6221)  today!  See NWF's message below.

>Date: Tue, 07 Jul 1998 19:47:46 -0400
>From: "GLENN SUGAMELI" <SUGAMELI@nwf.org>
>Subject: URGENT-- SENATE TAKINGS VOTE
>Mime-Version: 1.0
>Apparently-To: <juliemec@voyager.net>
>X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by vixa.voyager.net id
>TAA18788
>
>ALERT--July 7, 1998  7:30 p.m.
>
>WE NEED YOUR HELP TO STOP A FEDERAL TAKINGS/ PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS BILL.
>Please contact your Senators TODAY (Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121), and
>ask them to oppose the takings bill, H.R. 1534, which was passed by the
>House of Representatives and then was approved by the Senate Judiciary
>Committee under its House number as *The Citizens Access to Justice Act of
>1998.*  The Senate Judiciary Committee report on the bill has just been
>filed and staff for Chairman Hatch (R-UT) and Senate Majority Leader Trent
>Lott (R-MS) said that H.R. 1534 will come to the Floor Friday July 10th or
>next week.
>
>The National Association of Home Builders, which drafted the bill, has
>launched a radio ad campaign to back up its massive PAC contributions to
>federal candidates.  Senators need to hear from you and your local elected
>officials now.
>
>Strongly urge: (1) that Senators vote against ending a planned filibuster
>and vote against the pending takings/property rights bill; and (2)
>especially for Republican members-- urge that they join Sen. Chafee (R-RI)
>and others in asking Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) not to bring
>the bill to the Senate Floor.
>
>        The proposed manager*s amendment to H.R. 1534 does not address the
>fundamental problems with this unworkable bill, which is the first federal
>*property rights* bill to target local zoning and planning.  Congress
>should not be considering a federal bill that would allow developers to
>bypass state courts, curtail the process for local resolution of land use
>and zoning disputes, and file premature and expensive cases against towns,
>counties and cities in federal court.
>
>        H.R. 1534 threatens many current town, city and county land use
>and zoning processes that safeguard people and property.
>
>Because H.R. 1534 is strongly opposed by virtually all state and local
>government organizations, every Senator may be receptive to grassroots
>arguments that the bill should not be brought to the Floor.  Please tell
>me of any oral or written feedback.
>
>I am appending a sample letter and the National Wildlife Federation*s
>latest action alert on the bill for more information.
>
>Glenn Sugameli
>Senior Counsel
>National Wildlife Federation
>1400 16th Street, N.W., Suite 501
>Washington, D.C. 20036-2266
>202-797-6865
>FAX 202-797-6646
>sugameli@nwf.org
>_________________________________________
>
>July 8, 1998
>
>The Honorable
>Senate Office Building
>Washington, D.C.   20510
>
>Dear Senator :
>
>        We strongly urge: (1) that you oppose the pending takings/property
>rights bill; and (2) that you join Sen. Chafee (R-RI) and others in asking
>Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) not to bring the bill to the
>Senate Floor.  This bill was passed by the House of Representatives over
>bi-partisan opposition and then was approved by the Senate Judiciary
>Committee under its House number as H.R. 1534 *The Citizens Access to
>Justice Act of 1998.*
>
>        The proposed manager*s amendment to H.R. 1534 does not address the
>fundamental problems with this unworkable bill, which is the first federal
>*property rights* bill to target local zoning and planning.  Congress
>should not be considering a federal bill that would allow developers to
>bypass state courts, curtail the process for local resolution of land use
>and zoning disputes, and file premature and expensive cases against towns,
>counties and cities in federal court.
>
>        H.R. 1534 threatens many current town, city and county land use
>and zoning processes that safeguard people and property.  This bill
>targets local planning and zoning and is strongly opposed by 40 state
>Attorneys General, the National Association of Counties, National
>Governors Association, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference
>of Mayors, virtually every other state and local government organization,
>and the state and federal judiciary.  Other opponents include major
>religious groups, including the United States Catholic Conference and the
>National Council of Churches, national and local historic preservation,
>planning, labor, and conservation groups, and newspaper editorial boards
>throughout the country.
>
>        The New York Times editorialized against Undermining Local
>Government: *[The bill] is a dangerous piece of work that would threaten
>local zoning laws, reshape time-honored principles of federalism and make
>Federal judges the arbiters of land-use decisions everywhere.  It would be
>a dream come true for developers but a nightmare for rational community
>planning. . . [T]he threat of an expensive Federal lawsuit by a
>well-heeled developer could pressure local officials into decisions that
>help the developer but harm the larger interests of the community.*
>(October 22, 1997).
>
>        H.R. 1534 would overturn established Supreme Court precedent by
>literally turning local zoning disputes into federal cases.  Developers
>could bypass local zoning appeals and state courts by filing premature
>lawsuits against local governments directly in federal court, alleging
>that community land use decisions result in a *taking* of private
>property.  The threat of premature, expensive federal court lawsuits would
>pressure towns, cities, and counties to abandon fundamental safeguards.
>Especially for small towns and counties, this would exert powerful
>pressure to approve inappropriate projects such as corporate hog farms or
>toxic waste dumps in residential or floodplain areas.
>
>        This bill would benefit large developers at the expense of average
>homeowners, and would threaten local zoning, public health and
>environmental safeguards.  We strongly urge you to do everything that you
>can to ensure that this radical bill not be brought to the Senate Floor.
>
>                                                        Sincerely,
>
>
>_________________________________________
>
>NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION EMAIL ALERT
>A dangerous House-passed bill would grant developers special rights and
>endanger basic environmental protections for your family and property.
>Senate action may take place by the end of July.   Will you contact your
>Senators and urge them to oppose H.R. 1534 before it reaches final
>passage?
>
>                                                  July 7, 1998
>
>Dear Friend:
>
>        Industry forces that wish to pursue profits at the expense of
>health, the environment, and safety protections, have failed in their
>attempts over the last few years to overturn our most fundamental
>environmental laws.  Your protests made that possible.  But backdoor
>efforts to undermine these laws in the name of  *speed* and *efficiency*
>pose their own threat to the nation's air, water and wildlife.
>
>        The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a takings bill under
>its House number, H.R. 1534.  The bill would give developers and industry
>new avenues to undermine a wide variety of local, state and federal
>safeguards.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) helped draft
>the bill to advance its development-at-any-cost agenda.
>
>Senate bill paves a *by-pass* around local community protections
>
>        H.R. 1534 would radically alter the procedures for private
>property-based court challenges to protections for people, property and
>the environment.  The result would favor developers at the expense of
>neighboring homeowners' property rights and the well-being of communities.
>While the bill targets  *procedure,* the real-world threat posed by these
>radical changes is very real.
>
>        H.R. 1534 would give developers powerful legal weapons to
>challenge local, state and federal environmental laws.  Here*s what would
>result:
>
>*       Weaker environmental protections -- This bill would radically
>undermine the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and other basic
>environmental laws by allowing the Court of Federal Claims to re-open
>settled issues and to strike down federal statutes and regulations
>nationwide.  This would create conflicting court rulings and major legal
>uncertainty, as well as ample opportunities for industry lawyers to create
>favorable new precedents.  As a result,  neighboring homeowners could no
>longer rely on the protection of prior court rulings upholding limits on
>mining damage or pollution.
>
>*       Intimidation of local governments -- The bill would also allow
>developers to bypass local zoning appeals and state courts by filing
>takings claims against local governments directly in federal court.  This
>would undercut public influence in local land use decisions.  And, as Vice
>President Gore has said, *this bill would give developers a new club to
>wield in their negotiations with local officials and citizens groups --
>the threat of premature and costly litigation in federal court ....*  For
>small towns and counties especially, this would exert powerful pressure to
>approve inappropriate proposals such as toxic waste dumps and adult
>businesses in residential areas.
>
>*       Unnecessary litigation and bad court decisions -- Under the bill,
>developers could sue in federal court without adequately seeking to
>resolve their disputes with local officials through local procedures.  The
>result would be far more litigation and far less incentive for developers
>to work with local planning officials to achieve workable compromises.
>Further, judges would lack sufficient information about acceptable
>alternative development proposals and would be unable to make informed
>decisions.
>
>        For all of these reasons, H.R. 1534 would subvert laws that
>protect neighbors, the environment and the public.
>
>How you can help
>
>        On February 26, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted for a version
>of H.R. 1534, which has already been approved by the House of
>Representatives.  NAHB is pushing hard for a full Senate vote on H.R.
>1534, and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) has placed H.R. 1534 on
>the list of bills the Senate may vote on by the end of June.  Your
>Senators need to hear from you now, if we are to stop this bad bill.
>
>        Please ask your Senators to oppose any consideration of H.R. 1534
>or any similar property rights bills.  Remind them that the bill would
>benefit large developers at the expense of average property owners, and
>would threaten local zoning and weaken federal environmental and public
>health safeguards.
>
>        Here*s where to write:
>
>        The Honorable
>        United States Senate
>        Washington, DC   20510
>
>        Or, call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
>
>                                                Thank you for your help,
>
>                                                Mark Van Putten
>                                                President and CEO
>
>MVP:gs
>
>P.S.  Takings bills like H.R. 1534 attack environmental safeguards and
>threaten the property rights of all of us.  Please contact your Senators
>today!
>
>
>PLEASE LET NWF KNOW YOU TOOK ACTION BY REPLYING TO THIS EMAIL MESSAGE
>(LEAVE THE SUBJECT LINE INFORMATION INTACT).
>
>******************************************************
>IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
>
>*A PERSONAL LETTER SENT BY MAIL IS USUALLY THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO
>IMPACT YOUR LAWMAKERS.
>
>*IF YOU CONTACT YOUR LAWMAKER VIA EMAIL, MAKE SURE YOUR INCLUDE YOUR FULL
>NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS IN THE MESSAGE.
>
>*FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CONSERVATION ISSUES AND HOW YOU CAN HELP,
>VISIT THE NWF WEB SITE AT WWW.NWF.ORG.
>
>National Wildlife Federation, 8925 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA  22184
>1-800-822-9919
>

Julie Stoneman
Director of Land Programs
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette Dr., Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
ph:     517-487-9539
fax:    517-487-9541
email:  juliemec@voyager.net





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