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E-M:/ Nader: Sierra Club release



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Enviro-Mich message from Joanieink@aol.com
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
     October 27, 2000

     CONTACT:
     Dan Weiss: 202-675-6275

     SIERRA CLUB EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RESPONDS TO NADER LETTER --
     SAYS NADER'S COLD SHOWER WILL HURT REAL PEOPLE AND REAL PLACES

     Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, has responded to a
     letter from Presidential candidate Ralph Nader.  Nader's letter,
     directed to a number of environmental leaders, attacked them for their
     support of Vice President Gore.  While Nader's letter points out some
     genuine differences between his and Gore's positions, it also
     contained a number of inaccurate and unfair attacks on Gore's record.

     Pope challenged Nader, "Neither the letter nor the tactics you are
     increasingly adopting in your candidacy are worthy of the Ralph Nader
     I knew."

     In his response, Pope raised concerns about the consequeces for real
     people of Nader's helping to elect George W Bush.  "You have referred
     to the likely results of a Bush election as being a `cold shower' for
     the Democratic party.  You have made clear that you will consider it a
     victory if the net result of your campaign is a Bush presidency.

     "But what will your `cold shower' mean for real people and real
     places?" asks Pope.  "What will it mean for tens of millions of
     asthmatic children when Bush applies to the nation the `voluntary'
     approach he's using in Texas to clean up the air."

     Pope chides Nader for having broken campaign promises, "You have also
     broken your word to your followers who signed the petitions that got
     you on the ballot in many states. You pledged you would not campaign
     as a spoiler and would avoid the swing states.  Your recent campaign
     rhetoric and campaign schedule make it clear that you have broken this
     pledge. Your response: you are a political candidate, and a political
     candidate wants to take every vote he can. Very well -- you admit you
     are a candidate -- admit that you are, like your opponents, a flawed
     one."

     Finally, Pope responds to Nader, "You have called upon us to vote our
     hopes, not our fears.  I find it easy to do so. My hope is that by
     electing the best environmental President in American history, Al
     Gore, we can move forward.  My fear is that you, blinded by your anger
     at flaws of the Clinton-Gore Administration, may be instrumental in
     electing the worst."

     Carl Pope's letter to Ralph Nader is attached below.

                                  ###

     Ralph Nader
     Nader 2000
     PO Box 18002
     Washington, DC 20036

     October 26, 2000

     Dear Ralph:

     Yesterday you sent me (and many other environmentalists) a long letter
     defending your candidacy and attacking "the servile mentality" of
     those of us in the environmental community who are supporting
     Vice-President Gore.

     I've worked alongside you as a colleague for thirty years.

     Neither the letter nor the tactics you are increasingly adopting in
     your candidacy are worthy of the Ralph Nader I knew.

     The heart of your letter is the argument that "the threat to our
     planet articulated by Bush and his ilk" can now be dismissed.  But you
     offer no evidence for this crucial assertion. Based on the polls today
     Bush is an even bet to become the next President, with both a
     Republican Senate and a Republican House to accompany him.

     You have referred to the likely results of a Bush election as being a
     "cold shower" for the Democratic party.  You have made clear that you
     will consider it a victory if the net result of your campaign is a
     Bush presidency.

     But what will your "cold shower" mean for real people and real places?

     What will it mean for tens of millions of asthmatic children when Bush
     applies to the nation the "voluntary" approach he's using in Texas to
     clean up the air. And what about his stated opposition to enforcing
     environmental standards against corporations?

     What will it mean for Americans vulnerable to water pollution when
     Bush allows water quality standards to be degraded to meet the needs
     of paper mills and refineries as he has consistently done in Texas,
     most recently at Lake Sam Rayburn? And what if he eliminates federal
     financial support for both drinking water and water pollution, as his
     budget calls for and his record in Texas (46th in spending on drinking
     water) suggests?

     What will it mean for communities of color and poverty located near
     toxic waste sites, when Bush applies his Texas approach of lower
     standards and lower polluter liability to toxic waste clean-up?

     What will a Bush election mean to the Gwich'in people of the Arctic,
     when the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is turned over the oil
     companies and the calving grounds of the Porcupine Caribou herd on
     which they depend are destroyed and despoiled?

     What will it mean for the fishing families of the Pacific Northwest
     when Bush amends the Endangered Species Act to make extinction for the
     endangered salmon a legally acceptable option?  If he refuses to
     remove the dams on the Snake River or reduce timber cutting levels to
     preserve salmon?

     What will it mean for millions of rural Americans whose livelihood,
     health and communities are being destroyed by unregulated factory
     feeding operations, if Bush weakens the Clean Water Act? When he
     appoints Supreme Court justices who complete the task of shutting down
     access to federal courts for citizens trying to enforce environmental
     laws?

     What will it mean for the wildlife that depend upon our National
     Forests when Bush undoes the Clinton-Gore Administration reforms,
     reverses their roadless area protection policy, and restores the
     timber industry to the mastery of the forests and the Forest Service
     that it enjoyed under his father? If he doubles, or triples, the cut
     on those Forests?

     What will it mean for millions of people in Bangladesh and other
     low-lying countries when an American refusal to confront the problem
     of global warming unleashes the floods and typhoons of a rising ocean
     upon them?

     Your letter addresses none of these real consequences of a Bush
     victory.  Nor has your campaign.  Instead, you indulge yourself in the
     language of academic discourse when you claim:

     "Bush's `old school' allegiance to plunder and extermination as
     humanity's appropriate relationship to our world speaks a language
     effectively discounted by the great tradition of naturalists from John
     Muir to David Brower. Bush's blatant anti-environmentalism will lose
     corporate favor as it loses popular support. It is a language of
     politics fading rapidly, and without a future."

     Candidate Bush may well be speaking a fading language. So was
     candidate Reagan in 1980 when he ranted that trees caused air
     pollution. It is power, however, not language, that determines policy.
     President Bush would be vested with the powers of the government of
     the United States, and he is an even more devoted servant of
     environmental counter-revolution than Reagan ever was.

     Because your letter is couched in this language, so divorced from the
     real world consequences of your candidacy, and the real world choices
     that face Americans, it is difficult to respond to all of its
     selective misrepresentations and inaccuracies.  A few samples,
     however, may show you why I am so disappointed in the turn your
     candidacy has taken:

     You claim that "Earth in the Balance" was "an advertisement for his
     calculated strategy and availability as an environmental poseur."  Can
     you offer a single piece of evidence to support this quite astonishing
     statement?

     You claim that the Clinton Administration stood up to the oil industry
     on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge only because "focus groups have
     shown him he cannot give" it up.  In fact, most polls show that the
     public is somewhat split on this issue, and there are certainly no
     focus groups I know of showing that it is a third-rail which no
     President can cross at his peril. Can you cite your evidence?

     You lament that the Administration has "set aside lands not in
     National Parks, but rather in National Monuments...."  You are surely
     aware that a President cannot legally create national parks, which
     require an act of Congress; nor can you be under the misapprehension
     that this Congress with Don Young as the head of the House Resources
     Committee and Frank Murkowski as his counterpart in the Senate would
     have designated these areas as parks however long a battle Clinton and
     Gore might have fought. No, you simply took a cheap shot, and ignored
     the facts.

     You have also broken your word to your followers who signed the
     petitions that got you on the ballot in many states. You pledged you
     would not campaign as a spoiler and would avoid the swing states.
     Your recent campaign rhetoric and campaign schedule make it clear that
     you have broken this pledge. Your response: you are a political
     candidate, and a political candidate wants to take every vote he can.
     Very well -- you admit you are a candidate -- admit that you are, like
     your opponents, a flawed one.

     Irresponsible as I find your strategy, I accept that you genuinely
     believe in it.  Please accept that I, and the overwhelming majority of
     the environmental movement in this country, genuinely believe that
     your strategy is flawed, dangerous and reckless.  Until you can answer
     how you will protect the people and places who will be put in harm's
     way, or destroyed, by a Bush presidency, you have no right to slander
     those who disagree with you as "servile."  You have called upon us to
     vote our hopes, not our fears.  I find it easy to do so. My hope is
     that by electing the best environmental President in American history,
     Al Gore, we can move forward.  My fear is that you, blinded by your
     anger at flaws of the Clinton-Gore Administration, may be instrumental
     in electing the worst.



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