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PIRG-Chris Chatto <pirg@pirg.org> : ACTION ALERT: The Endangered Species Act is Under Attack



--------- Begin forwarded message ----------
From: PIRG-Chris Chatto <pirg@pirg.org> (by way of Debby  Ortman
<lakes@cp.duluth.mn.us>)
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
Subject: ACTION ALERT: The Endangered Species Act is Under Attack
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 19:13:59 -0800
Message-ID: <3.0.1.32.19971121191359.006b527c@cp.duluth.mn.us>

	* * ACTION ALERT * * ACTION ALERT * * ACTION ALERT * *

TELL CONGRESS NOT TO ROLL BACK THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT

The Endangered Species Act is under attack.  Right now, the U.S. Senate
is
poised to vote upon a bill that will seriously weaken existing critical
protections of our endangered and threatened species.  Please read below
more about the fight to save the Endangered Species Act, and use the
sample letters below to tell Congress that you want a strong, not weak,
ESA.  Please take the time to add your own thoughts to these sample
letters.  Please send us a copy of your letter(s) via e-mail
(pirg@pirg.org) or mail (U.S. PIRG, 218 D Street, SE, Washington, D.C.
20003). 

INFORMATION BELOW:
    -WHY ARE WE FIGHTING TO SAVE THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
    -THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT IS UNDER FIERCE ATTACK
    -THE SOLUTION
    -FOR MORE INFORMATION
    -HOW YOU CAN HELP
    -SAMPLE LETTERS (TO REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATORS)

WHY ARE WE FIGHTING TO SAVE THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT?

We are currently faced with the greatest rate of species extinction
worldwide since the disappearance of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
More than 50,000 species become extinct worldwide each year.  Given this
rapid decline in species, within 50 years, one quarter of the world's
species could be lost forever.

The dramatic extinction of species, problematic as it is in its own
right,
is also a stark warning.  Plant and animals species are dying off because
of the mass destruction of entire ecological systems -- the result of
irresponsible action by humans.  For example: The U.S. has lost more than
half its wetlands, 95-95% of its virgin forests in the lower 48 states,
and at least 80% of the coastline in the lower 48 states has been
developed.

The loss of species diversity is an indicator of the ways in which we are
imperiling not only plants and animals, but ourselves.  Extinctions, past
and impending, are warning flags, signaling an emergency that threatens
all life on earth.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA), passed in 1973, was enacted to halt
this
rapid loss of plant and animal life.  Frequently referred to as the
"crown
jewel" of our environmental laws, the ESA has been responsible for saving
many species on the brink of brink of extinction, including the bald
eagle, grey wolf, and California sea otter.

THE PROBLEM: 	THE ESA IS UNDER FIERCE ATTACK

The ESA faces a well organized and well funded attack.  Anti-ESA groups,
including oil and petro-chemical companies, the timber industry and real
estate developers, have been working non-stop to weaken one of our most
important environmental laws.  Since 1989, anti-ESA industries have
contributed nearly $75 million to political candidates.  In the 104th
Congress alone, $16.5 million in donations were made to political
candidates.  

This assault has resulted in a very real threat to the ESA -- the
introduction of the Kempthorne Extinction bill (S.1180).  The cosponsors
of this bill are Senators Kempthorne (R-ID), Chafee (R-RI), Baucus (D-MT)
and Reid (D-NV).  The Clinton Administration, as well as virtually every
organization and industry that has been working to undermine the ESA, has
endorsed the Kempthorne bill.  

The Kempthorne-Chafee bill will roll back essential protections for
endangered species in a number of ways, including by further delaying
protections for threatened and endangered species and undermining
recovery
of species.  This bill is moving through the Senate at an incredibly
rapid
rate and the Senate may vote on it as early as the end of November.

THE SOLUTION:  THE ESA MUST BE PROTECTED

The Endangered Species Act has been responsible for halting the
extinction
of many species and protecting many unique and valuable ecosystems. 
Thus,
we need to ensure that the current ESA is not rolled back in Congress. 
In
particular, we need to make sure that the Kempthorne Extinction bill
(S.1180) never makes it to the President's desk for signature.

While the ESA in its present form is better than a substantially weakened
Act, the ESA does need to be strengthened if we are to stave off the
extinction of many more species.  Rep.  George Miller (D-CA) has
introduced the Endangered Species Recovery Act (ESRA) (H.R. 2351) with
over 70 cosponsors as a means towards both strengthening current
protections for threatened and endangered species and drawing support way
from the Kempthorne Extinction bill.  

Rep. Miller's Endangered Species Recovery Act would improve the ESA by
(1)
protecting imperiled species and their habitat faster; (2) promoting true
species recovery rather than keeping species on the brink of extinction;
and (3) offering financial incentives for landowners who manage their
property in a way that promotes the recovery of species.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Contact Kim Delfino <kdelfino@pirg.org>, Environmental Advocate, US PIRG

HOW YOU CAN HELP - WRITE TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVES!

We need your help.  Please write to your Senator to urge him/her to
oppose
the Kempthorne bill (S.1180) and to your Representative to urge him/her
to
support the Miller bill (H.R. 2351).  Act now and act quickly!  The
future
of our natural heritage is at stake!  A sample letter is below

Letters are preferred, but by all means contact Congress however
possible.  
Email addresses for Congress are available at:

        http://www.house.gov/Whoswho.html
        http://www.senate.gov/senator/index.html
        http://www.pirg.org/alerts/contact.htm

Please cc: your email to pirg@pirg.org

* * SAMPLE LETTER TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVE * *

The Honorable _______________
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515 

Dear Representative ___________:

I am writing to urge you to strengthen the Endangered Species Act by
co-sponsoring the Endangered Species Recovery Act (ESRA), introduced by
Rep. George Miller (H.R. 2351).  The original Act, passed in 1973, has
helped to halt the potential extinction of dozens of animal and plant
species over the last 24 years, including the bald Eagle, grey wolf, and
California sea otter.

Yet for all of the ESA's successes, many species are slipping through the
loopholes in the current act.  We are currently faced with the greatest
rate of species extinction worldwide since the disappearance of the
dinosaurs 65 million years ago.  In the U.S., more than 500 native plants
and animals have vanished during the last 200 years -- 250 of them since
1980.

Rep. Miller's bill rejects the idea that the ESA must be weakened in
order
to be saved.  Instead, Rep. Miller's bill would strengthen the ESA by
protecting endangered species in a common sense way.  H.R. 2351 strikes a
balance between wildlife and landowners without sacrificing protections
for imperilled species.

Please co-sponsor H.R. 2351 and support a balanced approach to
strengthening the ESA.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this
critical matter.

Sincerely,

Name 
Address
Phone

	* * SAMPLE LETTER TO YOUR SENATOR * *


The Honorable _________________
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C.  20510

Dear Senator _________________:

I am writing to urge you to protect endangered species by opposing the
industry-backed Kempthorne Extinction bill (S.1180).  If enacted, this
bill will amend the Endangered Species Act (ESA), rolling back critical
protections for endangered and threatened species.  

We are currently faced with the greatest rate of species extinction
worldwide since the disappearance of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
Each year, about 50,000 species become extinct worldwide.  Given this
rapid rate of decline in species, within 50 years, one quarter of the
world's species could be lost forever.

Instead of working to strengthen the ESA and halt this overwhelming rate
of extinction, Senators Kempthorne, Chafee, Baucus and Reid have
introduced a bill that substantially weakens the ESA, jeopardizing over
20
years of progress in conservation.  S.1180 makes empty promises of
recovery with a combination of programs which lack adequate and reliable
funding while at the same it rolls back existing critical protections for
endangered species. 

Please OPPOSE S.1180, the Kempthorne Extinction bill.

Sincerely,

Name
Address
Phone

-=+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=+
Christopher Chatto, Internet Organizer      e-mail: pirg@pirg.org
The State Public Interest Research Groups   http://www.pirg.org
1129 State St #10, Santa Barbara CA 93101   805(p)9630949(f)9658939




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