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E-M:/ Groups call for boost for Land acquisition funding

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

September 8, 1999       Brian Imus
        734- 662-6597


Lansing, MI - Today, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRGIM), the
Mackinac Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Michigan Environmental Council, and
the Michigan Land Use Institute released "Saving America's Geography of
Hope: Why Congress Must Protect Our Land and Ocean Legacy." The report
profiles Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as well as more than 40
other special places that could be protected if Congress passes strong
conservation funding legislation.

The report, authored by the State PIRGs, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club,
Center for Marine Conservation, Trust for Public Land, World Wildlife Fund,
Scenic America, Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resources Defense
Council, National Parks and Conservation Association, The Wilderness Society
and The National Trust for Historic Preservation, illustrates the kinds of
special places that could be protected if strong conservation funding
legislation became a reality.

"Millions of acres of America's natural heritage have been degraded,
destroyed and developed. All across the country, historic structures are in
disrepair, parks are closing, farmland and open space are disappearing, and
wildlife is declining," declared Brian Imus of PIRGIM. "We are losing the
wild and special places that environmental writer Wallace Stegner called our
'geography of hope,'" added Imus.

Located in the northwest corner of Michigan, the Sleeping Bear Dunes
National Lakeshore consists of a thirty-five mile stretch of Lake Michigan's
eastern coastline, as well as North and South Manitou Islands.  This area is
replete with hills and forests of birch, pine, beech and maple; sandy
beaches; and massive coastal sand dunes and bluffs.  It was established
primarily for its outstanding natural features such as the beaches and dune
formations, and ancient global phenomena.  The lakeshore also contains many
cultural features including an 1871 lighthouse and three former Life-Saving
Service/ Coast Guard Stations.

Congress is currently considering several different versions of conservation
legislation to fund a variety of programs benefiting our national parks,
forests, wildlife refuges, historic sites, coastal and marine ecosystems,
and wildlife. The two main proposals are the Conservation and Reinvestment
Act (CARA) of 1999 (S.25/H.R. 701), introduced by Senators Frank Murkowski
(AK) and Mary Landrieu (LA) and Representatives Don Young (AK) and Billy
Tauzin (LA), and Permanent Protection for America's Resources 2000
(Resources 2000 - S.446/H.R. 798), introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (CA)
and Representative George Miller (CA).

Unfortunately, there are some members of Congress who are pushing to include
a number of environmentally damaging provisions, or "poison pills," into
final legislation. These poison pills, many of which are found in the
introduced version of CARA, include incentives for increased offshore oil
and gas drilling, the use of coastal funds for environmentally destructive
activities, and new restrictions on federal land acquisition already
authorized by law.

"Congress and the Administration have an amazing opportunity in front of
them. Success will mean a legacy of protected wildlands, coastal areas and
open space, including the preservation of Sleeping Bear Dunes National
Lakeshore.  Failure will mean a legacy of clearcuts, coastlines choked with
oil spills, undrinkable water, and imperiled or extinct wildlife," said Anne
Woiwode of the Sierra Club.

"We call on Senators Levin and Abraham and the Michigan delegation to
support strong conservation funding legislation and oppose the inclusion of
such poison pills as new restrictions on federal land acquisition or the
creation of incentives for offshore drilling. The time has come to save
America's geography of hope," Imus added.

More information is available from:

Liz Godfrey
Midwest ESA Organizer
GREEN-the GrassRoots Environmental Effectiveness Network
(608) 294-1338

Also, the Sierra Club  in Lansing has a limited number of the report, a nicely
done state by state overview of the needs for passing Resources 2000.
Contact us if you would like a copy (if you can spring for postage it would

Anne Woiwode

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