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MN Senator Rod Grams in Ely, MN on August 13th, to hold a forum on environmental and land use issues.

(from Adam Sokolski of 'friends)

NMW folks:
We just dug up some info that you may or may not be aware of.  On August
13, Senator Grams is scheduled to attend a town meeting style forum in Ely
on environmental
and land use issues.  Local, state and federal officials are scheduled to
join Senator Grams at the forum.  It will be held from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at
the Ely Community Center.

I anticipate that Grams has not and will not invite anyone who supports
stronger wilderness protections in the BWCA Wilderness.  However, he needs
to hear our voices!  Please spread the word about this event to your
friends, members and attend the town meeting as constituents.

Grams is trying to protray himself as a environmentalist.  We all know his
record, attacks on the BWCA Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park, a 2%
career LCV average, others.  Let's get the truth out!  Check out his
"Conservation Update" newsletter on his web page, or we'll fax it to you.
http://www.senate.gov/~grams/consup.pdf  It requires an adobe plug in,
which is available on his site.  Call me at 612-379-3587 for a fax copy.

The following is a commentary piece that Carl Zichella has submitted as a
response to Grams' newsletter.  Enjoy, but do not pass it on as it has not
been published yet.

         Op-Ed Two years to go and the Green scamming
                 is already beginning from Grams
by Carl Zichella, Midwest Regional Director, and Ginny Yingling,
Director of the North Star (Minnesota) Chapter Sierra Club

     Someone just sent us a hilarious practical joke in the form
of a constituent newsletter from Rod Grams, Minnesota's
notoriously anti-environmental U.S. Senator.

     It must be a joke because in it Grams purports that he is an
environmentalist, and suggests that his extreme positions against
environmental protection are mainstream.  It's those who disagree
with his scorched earth view of America that are the extremists.
Now that's a stitch.

     A quick look at environmental voting and leadership in
Congress reveals that by any measure Grams is a total zero.  In
fact, the non-partisan League of Conservation Voters (LCV), which
rates the records of all Senators gave Grams a goose-egg for his
record in 1997.  He voted against the environment on every
important matter.  He's averaging a whopping 2% for his career.
Grams calls this mainstream.  We think it's the not-too-funny
record of an extremist.

     The public in Minnesota and the rest of this country want
clean water, clean air and protected wild places their children
will get to enjoy.  These are reasonable, not extreme things to
want and expect.  Not to Rod Grams.

     Let's let his record do the talking. This self proclaimed
deficit hawk voted to continue logging and mining subsidies that
cost taxpayers billions while enriching international mining
conglomerates who do vast damage to public lands, rivers and

     He voted to continue funding for the notorious Animas La
Plata irrigation project which, in addition to ravaging the
Animas river in southwestern Colorado, would let a handful of
"welfare ranchers" stay elbow deep in the taxpayer's pocket.
Animas La Plata would use federally subsidized electricity to
pump federally subsidized water to irrigate federally subsidized
crops.  A triple subsidy!   You really have to love government
waste to support this project.  Grams couldn't bring himself to
oppose it, even though other Republicans like Jim Ramstad (whose
LCV rating is a stellar 81%) and Tom Petri (R-WI -- LCV 43%),
disgusted by the waste, fought to stop it.

     Grams also seems to think that environmental laws don't have
to be enforced.  Testifying before Rep. Helen Chenoweth last fall
on his bill to increase motor use in the Boundary Waters, Grams
said, "(t)he West, in particular, continues to experience some of
the most aggressive government action on matters concerning
property rights, access and equity."  For those who may not know,
these are code words used by the likes of Chenoweth, sweetheart
of the ultra-right-wing Militia of Montana, Don Young (R-AK), and
Craig Thomas (R-WY) -- wilderness haters all -- to attack federal
enforcement efforts for the Endangered Species Act and other
federal laws.

     In fact, Grams can hurl slogans with the craziest right-
wingers in the Senate. The arch-conservative caucus that Grams
inhabits would like nothing better than to open all wilderness
areas and national parks to motors, oil and gas drilling and
mining. Conservation-minded moderate Republicans all but shun

     And lest we forget, Grams has championed handing over
national treasures like the BWCAW and Voyageurs National Park to
local interests that have raved for years against the very
existence of the national parks and wilderness areas.  His plans
for the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park were so
disastrous that they drew a veto threat to a huge omnibus parks
bill that included projects the President really wanted.  Care
about protecting national treasures like the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas development?  Grams has two
words for you: "drill it".  But he's an environmentalist!

     Perhaps most hilarious of all, Grams newsletter calls for
the elimination of "inflammatory rhetoric" which, he claims,
"consumes the environmental debate."  He can certainly have an
impact --  by stopping it himself!  Grams speeches are filled
with vitriol for those who care about the environment.  Want to
be able to enjoy a wilderness canoe trip without running into
motorboats?  You're an extremist in his book.  Care enough about
environmental protection to speak out about it?  Better have
thick skin if you plan to talk to Senator Grams.  Rod Grams is
the King of Bile.  Grams calling for moderation is a little like
red-baiting reactionary Joe McCarthy calling for unity and

     That's why we think this "conservation update" must be a
joke.  It's so over the top it has to be a parody of the usual
antics disreputable members of Congress pull.  It's too shameless
to be true, even for Rod Grams.  It has to be a joke, doesn't it?

     In two years Minnesotans will have the opportunity to change
Grams' employment status, retire him to private life where he
belongs, and allow him to embark on a new career.  Perhaps he
would do better as a comedian.

.  :  ;  I  *  $  @  ~  -  '  "  .
trailside flora from: Will Rhodes