Subject: Biodiversity Alert
AN END TO DESTRUCTIVE SUBSIDIES?
In observance of Earth Day, environmental groups and major
newspapers around the Southwest are calling for an end to subsidized
destruction of public lands. Citing the $1 billion lost by the Forest
Service on its timber program over the last three years, as well as
millions spent on grazing and mining, the Southwest Forest Alliance
took out a full page ad in the New York Times on April 15.
Volunteers also spent the week before Earth Day distributing door
hangars throughout Flagstaff and Albuquerque that asked homeowners
to send the attached card to Congressmen J.D. Hayworth and Steve
Schiff, demanding an end to taxpayer subsidized destruction of public
lands. Copies of the advertisement were distributed to taxpayers
dropping off their returns at Post Offices throughout the Southwest on
Tax Day, as well.
Picking up on this theme, the April 18 Arizona Republic reported
on nationwide attacks on the 104th Congress' environmental record.
Besides the efforts of the Southwest Forest Alliance, the Republic also
related the following:
1. A report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group linking $47
million in campaign contributions from industries to $23 billion in tax
2. A six-month campaign by the Sierra Club and League of
Conservation Voters, called "Hypocrisy Watch," which intends to
unmask efforts by politicians to hide their anti-environmental votes
behind seemingly eco-friendly events such as treeplantings.
3. And the Stonyfield Farm of Londonderry, NH has printed the
message "Congress, have you flipped your lids?" on their yogurt
The Arizona Daily Star also attacked public lands subsidies in an
editorial on April 22, Earth Day. Besides the outlandish amounts spent
to destroy public assets, the Star also said "the debs grow even more
troubling when the analysis includes their unaccounted social and
environmental costs. . . Government mismanagement contrives the
double trick of wasting the taxpayers' money on subsidies that also
cause serious ecological damage. Surely deficit hawks, free
marketeers, and environmentalists all can find common ground in
requiring stringent reform of such mismanagement."
Now that the people that elect Congress are starting to make some
noise about where their tax dollars are going, hopefully Congress itself
will wake up and follow the will of the people, rather than the
corporations that continue to flood their election coffers.
SOUTHWEST CENTER CHALLENGES BLUE RIDGE DAM
On April 8, the Southwest Center filed suit against the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Forest Service for
violating the Endangered Species Act with respect to the Spinedace, an
endangered Arizona fish. SWCBD claims in its suit that the agencies
failed to consider the effect of ongoing operations of the dam on the
Spinedace, as required by Section 7 of the ESA. Moreover, operation
of the dam continues to harm the Spinedace, in violation of Section 9.
As early as March of 1992, Fish and Wildlife Service warned
FERC and the Forest Service that they were concerned about the
effects of the dam on the Spinedace. Although several more
warnings were given by SWCBD, the agencies continued to ignore the
situation, prompting this lawsuit. "It's a shame that a non-profit group
has to spend its time and resources to force these federal agencies to
comply with the law," said Landi Fernley, SWCBD's appeals
ZUNI TRIBE OPPOSES HB SALVAGE SALE
In a March 22 letter to Forest Supervisor Abel Camarena, the Zuni
tribe of New Mexico stated it's unequivocal opposition to the HB
Salvage Sale on the Gila National Forest. "The Tribe remains steadfast
in its position that all cultural resources, historic and prehistoric,
near Eagle Peak should not be disturbed by development. It is the desire
of the Zuni Tribe that the Gila National Forest should afford
protection to the fullest extent to this and all areas of significance to
the Zuni People" the letter states. The proposed sale is within the
aboriginal land use area of the Zuni, known to them as
"K'yak'yali an yalanne." It has been occupied since at
least 5000 BC, and the tribe still uses the area for traditional
hunting, plant and mineral gathering.
MEXICAN SPOTTED OWL:
AFFIDAVIT CLAIMS FOREST SERVICE BIOLOGICAL OPINION A SHAM
Recently, the Forest Service released its Draft Biological Opinion
on the Mexican Spotted Owl, as required by Judge Muecke in order to
end the current injunction on logging in Southwestern National Forests.
Unfortunately, as pointed out in an affidavit filed in Muecke's court by
a prominent ecologist from the Northwest, the Draft BO is not really a
BO at all because it doesn't meet the requirements of the ESA. First,
rather than reaching the required "jeopardy/no jeopardy" decision,
the document uses "conditional jeopardy" language that was soundly
rejected for salmon in the Northwest. The Draft BO also uses
"management recommendations," which are not binding, as opposed
the ESA's requirement for "terms and conditions." This allows the
Forest Service to ignore any substantive goals in the BO, resulting in
more harm to the Mexican spotted owl.