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E-M:/ CALL NOW: MI Sen. Abraham Must Vote NO

------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from Patty Cantrell -------------------------------------------------------------------------


The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is expected this month to vote on a bill, S. 1028, that would give business interests broad legal power to ignore local zoning ordinances that protect the environment and the property rights of neighbors. This legislation would allow developers nationwide to fast-track their "takings" claims (that local rules deprive them of their private property rights) straight to federal court. They would be able to bypass the state judicial system and intimidate communities with the incredible court costs of federal litigation.

Michigan Senator Spencer Abraham is a key vote on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is one of the last stops on the bill's way toward becoming law. This "takings" legislation already passed the U.S. House as H.R. 2372, "The Private Property Rights Implementation Act."

Call or write Sen. Abraham today and tell him not to allow S. 1028's unconstitutional attack on local control. You can reach Sen. Abraham at 202-224-4822 or at 329 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-2203.

It is important that Sen. Abraham adopt the pro-local control position that some fellow Republicans have stepped up to take. Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, for example, had this to say last week after the Senate Judiciary Commitee decided to move up S. 1028 for a committee vote.

"This bill will impose tremendous burdens on local communities by providing
such a new fast track to Federal court for property owners. ... This
bill would, in effect, leave local land use planners with two bad
options--acquiesce to developers by making lenient decisions, or do
whatever they think necessary to protect the local community and then face
multiple suits in Federal court without having much negotiating ability
with property owners."

Republican senators Thompson and Specter also voiced fundamental concerns
about this legislation.

Michigan is a key voice now in this debate. Let Sen. Abraham know what you think.

Use the sample letter and other information below provided by the National Wildlife Federation:

>SAMPLE LETTER: to write your Senators AND a LETTER TO THE EDITOR of your local newspaper(s):
>This federal bill is aimed at undermining environmental safeguards, zoning and smart-growth, and health, safety and morality safeguards.
>>> It would allow developers to bypass local zoning procedures and state courts and file premature federal lawsuits which unjustifiably claim that local land use decisions amount to "takings" of private property without just compensation. To avoid lawsuits, small towns, counties and cities would be forced to design and approve projects for developers that would harm neighbors and the community.
> >>The bill would undermine hundreds of popular local initiatives that protect everyone by limiting and controlling growth, without "taking" any property rights. For example, state courts have rejected "takings" challenges to smart growth limits and to controls on mining, factories, liquor stores and other harmful activities in residential neighborhoods.
> >> The developers' organization that originally wrote the bill recently admitted that: "This bill will be a hammer to the head of these [state and local] bureaucracies," declared Jerry Howard, the chief lobbyist for the National Association of Home Builders. National Journal's CongressDailyAM (March 14, 2000).
>>> The bill is unconstitutional: the Supreme Court has held that the Constitution requires that developers must: 1) fully explore permissible uses of property through local zoning procedures; and then 2) seek compensation against local governments in state court.
>For general background info see: http://www.nwf.org/nwf/lands/takings/
>For information on the 19 cosponsors, text of bills, Floor debate: THOMAS http://thomas.loc.gov/
>Thanks! RSVP with copies of your letters and any written or oral responses you receive to:

Glenn P. Sugameli
>National Wildlife Federation
>1400 16th Street, N.W., Suite 501
>Washington, D.C. 20036-2266
>FAX 202-797-6646

Patty Cantrell
Public Trust Alliance Project Manager
P.O. Box 228, 845 Michigan Ave.
Benzonia, MI 49616

tel: 231-882-4723 ext. 18
fax: 231-882-7350
e-mail: patty@mlui.org
internet: www.mlui.org
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