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E-M:/ Wilderness fighter Vento to retire

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

 Normally I wouldn't write about a Congressional Rep. from another state 
 who plans to step down, but any Michigander who cares about the national 
 parks and wilderness of our state has Congressman Bruce Vento of Minnesota 
 at least in part to thank for their existence.  Congressman Vento has 
 announced he will not run again because he has been diagnosed with 
 malignant mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos, a tragic 
 irony for such a profoundly influential advocate for this country's 
 environment.  His prospects for recovery are good, but he will need to 
 pursue an agressive course of treatment, and that thus becomes a priority 
 over running again.
 Vento has served in the Congress for 24 years, and much of his effort has 
 been spent working to protect wild places all over the country. On the 
 House Subcommittee on Parks, Forests and Public Lands, which he chaired 
 for 10 years, he was a critical leader in the fight to pass the Michigan 
 Wilderness Heritage Act, passing it out of his committee and helping it 
 through the House a couple of times before it finally passed the Senate 
 and became law in 1987.  Vento also held firm in those days of the Reagan 
 Administration against the assaults on public lands of all sorts, and 
 helped retain the astonishing legacy we have in the country of natural 
 While this is also out of the norm, I would strongly suggest that anyone 
 who has spent time in a Michigan National Forest Wilderness, or in the 
 Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, or in a National Park or Lakeshore 
 in Michigan, to take a moment and send Mr. Vento a thank you card.  His 
 address is: The Honorable Bruce Vento, 2314 Rayburn House Office Building, 
 Washington, D.C.  20515.  Send it on behalf of future generations who 
 would thank him themselves given the chance. 
 Anne Woiwode

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