\ SOUTHWEST BIODIVERSITY ALERT #148 /
\ 8-20-98 /
\ SOUTHWEST CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY /
\ http://www.sw-center.org /
1. STUDY RANKS GRAZING AS MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO THE IMPERILMENT OF MANY SPECIES
2. SHOULD THE US FOREST SERVICE CONTINUE TO SELL TIMBER FROM OUR NATIONAL
3. THE CHILLING OF GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATION WITH THE PUBLIC
4. HUMAN ACTIVITIES ARE LINKED TO WEATHER PATTERNS
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STUDY RANKS GRAZING AS MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO THE IMPERILMENT OF MANY SPECIES
A recent study attempts to show the reasons for the current plight of so
many species. It looked at 1880 species and presented a summary of the
percentages of species that are imperiled by habitat loss, alien species,
pollution, overexploitation, and disease. Not surprisingly, habitat
destruction and degradation emerged as the most pervasive threat to
biodiversity, contributing to the endangerment of 85% of the species
analyzed. Competition with or predation by alien species is the
second-ranked threat in the overall analysis, affecting 49% of imperiled
Looking at US listed species only they ranked the primary causes of habitat
destruction. Among extractive land uses, logging, mining, and grazing have
contributed to the demise of 12%, 11%, and 22 %, respectively, of the
endangered species analyzed. Livestock grazing is particularly harmful to
plants, affecting 33 % of endangered plant species compared to 14% of
endangered animals; the difference is highly significant (chi square =
51.95, d.f. = 1, P0.001).
The study can be found in BioScience, Saturday, August 1, 1998, Vol. 48,
No. 8, titled Quantifying threats to imperiled species in the United
States: Assessing the relative importance of habitat destruction, alien
species, pollution, overexploitation, and disease.
SHOULD THE US FOREST SERVICE CONTINUE TO SELL TIMBER FROM OUR NATIONAL
National Survey conducted by Market Strategies, Inc.* and Lake, Sosin,
Snell, Perry and Associates. Inc. N=800 Registered Voters June 22-25, 1998
Q. There has been a national debate about whether the U.S. Forest Service
should continue to sell timber from our national forests. Do you favor or
oppose continuing to allow timber companies to log in our national forests?
(IF Favor/Oppose ASK:) And do you STRONGLY (favor/oppose) this or just
SOMEWHAT (favor/oppose) this?
Strongly favor 7%
Somewhat favor 17
Neither [VOL] 2
Somewhat oppose 19
Strongly oppose 50
Don't know 5
Collapsed: Total GOP IND DEM
Favor 24% 33% 25% 16%
Oppose 69 59 70 79
Neither/DK/Ref 7 8 5 5
Note: Even voters in the West, by a two-to-one margin (62%-31%), oppose
continuing to allow timber companies to log in national forests. Opposition
is 70% or more in other regions of the country.
* Market Strategies, Inc. has conducted polls for Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole,
George Bush, and Gerald Ford.
THE CHILLING OF GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATION WITH THE PUBLIC
The witch hunt led by Don Young (R. AK) has cultivated numerous scathing
commentaries by local and national press. He are two such editorials from
the Washington Post, and Lewiston Tribune (ID).
Next, Trees That List Left
By Al Kamen
Friday, August 14, 1998; Page A23
House Resources Committee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska) was concerned about
a U.S. Forest Service decision in April to settle an enviro lawsuit over
grazing on Forest Service lands in Arizona and New Mexico.
The enviros had sued, saying that cows being allowed to graze were messing
up the stream beds, endangering flora and fauna in an ecologically fragile
The Forest Service agreed to fence off the sensitive areas. But Young was
hearing that the agreement was biased against ranchers. He wrote Southwest
regional forest chief Eleanor S. Towns last month with 19 questions, mostly
concerning such details as who's going to pay for construction and
maintenance of the fences.
But Question 13 has caused a ruckus: "Is the Forest Service aware of
whether any of their employees are members of any organizations that are
involved in these cases or contribute money to any of these organizations
involved in these cases, including but not limited to Forest Guardians,
Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club, the Wilderness
Society or any local affiliated organization?"
McCarthyism, shouted the enviros, saying the move was a witch hunt.
Not at all, Young said in a letter to a newspaper out there. He just wanted
to know if Towns was "aware" of any employees out there with enviro
connections. "This only requires a yes or no answer," he wrote. "Again, no
names were requested and none are expected."
Just seeing if she's a good supervisor. Alas, she may not become "aware."
Tom Amontree, spokesman for the Agriculture Department, which oversees the
Forest Service, said in response to a question about this: "The First
Amendment prohibits us from hauling in our employees and interrogating them
about their personal interests. That being said, the Forest Service is a
professional agency that carries out forest policy in a professional manner
without regard to individual beliefs."
The same must hold true for all those former timber industry employees who
are now staffing key congressional committees.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
Editorial, Lewiston Tribune (ID)
Don Young hunts witches in American Southwest
Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Sierra Club?" That is
apparently exactly what Alaska Republican Don Young, chairman of the House
Resources Committee, wants to know from every employee of the U.S. Forest
Service in Arizona and New Mexico. Young has sent a letter to Eleanor
Towns, the Forest Service's southwest regional forester in Albuquerque,
demanding to know which employees are members of or have any contact with
environmental groups. And he has given Towns a deadline of Aug. 15 to
provide the information.
What then, a list of magazines to which each employee subscribes?
What set Young off on this witch hunt is the settlement of a lawsuit over
grazing regulations in the 11 national forests in the two states. In
settling the suit brought by environmental groups, the Forest Service has
agreed to prevent cattle from tramping and pooping in 330 miles of streams
on 80 grazing allotments. That imposition on what many ranchers consider
rights led ranchers to picket in New Mexico last month, and Young to make
this ridiculous demand.
Young spokesman Steve Hansen says the reason behind the letter is a
suspicion that some Forest Service workers might have illegally slipped
documents to environmentalists to help their suit. It's hard to imagine
which government documents would not be available to any member of the
public that pays for their production. But if it is possible that the
Forest Service is charged with
protecting state secrets, you don't investigate possible lawless conduct by
one by invading the privacy of every employee.
Presumably Forester Towns and other people in major decision-making roles
in her organization avoid the kind of affiliations that might call their
impartiality into question. But the government can no more regulate the
private organizational activities of all its employees than it can require
them to belong to one political party. And it is mystifying how someone so
Americans' basic constitutional rights could be entrusted with a
chairmanship as important as Young's.
But then, this isn't the first screwy thing we have heard from Young.
Earlier this year, he used an opportunity to speak to Idaho legislators to
badmouth compromise legislation written by Sens. Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho
and John Chafee of Rhode Island reforming the federal Endangered Species
Act. And during his address, he warned of the real intentions of
which he is apparently able to divine on his own.
"They want you off the land," he said. "They want to put you in the cities.
What they really want is collective people in large areas so they can
Coming from a guy who now wants to know what government workers are doing
in their private lives, that's a good one. When it comes to attempts to
control people, environmentalists could apparently learn a lot from Don Young.
HUMAN ACTIVITIES ARE LINKED TO WEATHER PATTERNS
Examining some basic data sets in a way that has never been tried before,
ASU climatologists Randall Cerveny and Robert Balling, Jr. have found proof
for what many weekend boaters have secretly suspected: rain is most likely
to occur along the Atlantic coast on the weekend and the weather is most
likely to be better on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. The most obvious
culprit is the "natural" cloud-seeding effect created by the massive drift
of East Coast pollution, which also follows a well defined weekly cycle.
The human constructed 7 day week is not a natural cycle, thus they conclude
the weather patterns are being influenced by human factors. The human
factor creating this influence is thought to be Pollution, advected from
the NE metropolitan area of North America. Data from Canadian monitoring
stations show that pollution over the coastal NW Atlantic also have a
weekly cycle -- higher values of carbon monoxide and ozone in the late
week, lower values of pollution in the early week.
Cerveny and Balling's study can by found in the August 6 issue of Nature. A
simplified version can also be found on the World Wide Web at
Shane Jimerfield Tel: 520.623.5252, ext. 302
Assistant Director Fax: 520.623.9797
Southwest Center for Biological Diversity email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PO Box 710, Tucson AZ 85702-0710 http://www.sw-center.org