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E-M:/ Also regarding Dingell and our national forests

Title: Dingell, Oberstar Introduce Legislation to Protect Wetlands
The wetlands bill is great news.   Please read below for a matter also regarding Congressman Dingell, who is leading on a response to a series of Bush Administration attacks on the national forests and the fundamental laws in place ensuring open citizen participation and environmental safeguards.
Calls to your Michigan Representatives are recommended today as the deadline for Members of Congress to sign on is this Monday at noon.   Please ask them to join their colleague and sign the Rahall/Dingell letter to the President.  202/224-3121
Thank you.
Joshua Martin
American Lands

To: All Michigan Forest Advocates

From: Joshua Martin, American Lands

Date: February 27, 2003

Reps. Rahall and Dingell Sponsor Sign On Letter to Stop The

Anti-Environmental Attack On Our National Forests

Reps. Rahall (D-WV) and Dingell (D-MI) are sponsoring a Representative sign

on letter to President Bush expressing great concern about the

Administrations proposals to roll back decades of forest protection

regulations through changes to how the National Forest Management Act

(NFMA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Appeals Reform

Act are implemented. The letter urges the President to "withdraw these

ill-advised and controversial proposals."

This is a very important opportunity for activists to educate your

Representatives about forest rollbacks and to ask your elected officials to

help in countering these attacks on our National Forests by urging them to

sign on to the letter.

Some excerpts from the Rahall/Dingell letter: "On November 27, 2002, your

Administration proposed an NFMA planning rule that renders the public

planning process virtually meaningless....By relegating management direction

to the Forest Service Manual or handbooks, the proposed rule precludes

judicial review of agency plans and diminishes opportunities for public

comment on and availability of documents, further obfuscating what guides

the agency on forest planning."

"Most significantly, the proposed CE fuels reduction projects have no size

or type constraints. Accordingly, large-scale, intensive projects may take

place virtually anywhere in the national forest system (except designated

wilderness areas) regardless of forest type, and may involve an unlimited

number of board feet regardless of diameter limit-all with minimal public

review and no environmental study"

"The cumulative effect of these proposals is a radical rewrite of national

forest policy to the detriment of the public."

A complete copy of the Rahall/Dingell letter is available at


Please support Representatives Rahall and Dingell's strong opposition to

these environmental rollbacks by contacting your Representative at

202/224-3121 and urge him/her to sign on to the Rahall/Dingell Letter to

Stop The Anti-Environmental Attack On Our National Forests. Interested

Representatives can contact Erica Rosenberg of the Committee on Resources'

staff at 202/226-2311 for more information. To sign onto the letter they

can contact Jennifer Gould of the committee staff at 202/225-6065. The

deadline for the letter is February 28th.



-----Original Message-----
From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net]On Behalf Of Elbing, Lauri
Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2003 1:46 PM
To: 'Enviro Mich List'
Subject: E-M:/ Dingell, Oberstar Introduce Legislation to Protect Wetlands

Dingell, Oberstar Introduce Legislation to Protect Wetlands

Washington, D.C. - Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI) and Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN) today introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to restore protection to America's wetlands, which are now in jeopardy due to a recent Supreme Court decision and Bush administration regulatory actions.  The legislation, the Clean Water Authority Restoration Act, will restore the original intent of the 1972 Clean Water Act and reestablish protections for "isolated" wetlands throughout the United States.

"The Supreme Court got it wrong, and now the Bush administration is using this narrow ruling to attempt to rollback 30 years of Clean Water Act progress," said Dingell.  "The legislative history of the Clean Water Act clearly and unambiguously states that the statute applies to all the waters of the United States.  I know this because I personally included it in the Congressional Record in 1972.  The bill we are introducing today reaffirms the original intent of the Act."

In January 2001, a divided Supreme Court ruled that the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers do not have jurisdiction over certain "isolated" wetlands.  The Bush Administration has used the Court decision to propose even broader changes to long-established federal wetlands policy that would further weaken Clean Water Act protections by giving developers an unfettered ability to fill, bulldoze and destroy wetlands and waterways.  

The ruling and the changes under consideration by the Bush administration are of particular concern to sportsmen.  Wildlife biologists estimate that without Clean Water Act protection, much of the prime breeding habitat for waterfowl in North America could be lost, leading to devastating impacts on waterfowl populations.  This could mean drastically shortened hunting seasons - or no season at all. 

"In the prairie pothole regions of North and South Dakota, there are millions of acres of temporary wetlands less than an acre in size.  These ephemeral wetlands are now at risk of being lost forever," Dingell said.  "To duck hunters these wetlands are absolutely critical because this is where most of the ducks are produced.  If action is not taken, the effect on waterfowl populations would be catastrophic.  How can the Bush administration argue these waters are unworthy of Clean Water Act protection?"            

The Clean Water Authority Restoration Act includes a set of findings that explain the factual basis for Congress to assert its constitutional authority over waters and wetlands.  It also reaffirms the original intent of the Congress by creating a statutory definition of "waters of the United States" based on longstanding definitions in the Army Corps of Engineers regulations.  Finally, the legislation deletes the term "navigable" from the Act to reinforce that Congress' original concern in 1972 Act related to pollution rather than navigability.

"Before the Clean Water Act was adopted, the rivers of this country were treated as little more than open sewers," Dingell added.  "Industry and government were free to pollute with impunity, and our nation's waterways suffered tremendously.  The Clean Water Act changed all this.  Now some 30 years later, America's waters are safer and the rate of wetlands loss has declined by 75 percent.  Why does Mr. Bush want to roll back this remarkable record of achievement?"  

Representatives Dingell and Oberstar unveiled the legislation at a news conference with Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator James Jeffords (I-VT), National Wildlife Federation CEO Mark Van Putten and Larry Larson, Executive Director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers

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