Subject: FW: BIODIVERSITY ALERT #198

*************  CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY *************
                  http://www.sw-center.org
                     ALERT #198 8-12-99

ILLEGAL CINDER MINE IN MOJAVE NATIONAL PRESERVE SHUT DOWN

CENTER LAWSUIT HALTS BULLDOZERS IN SILVER CREEK HILLS

SCIENTISTS SLAM SALT FACTORY IN WHALE BIRTHING LAGOON

POLL SHOWS MOST AMERICANS SAY LAND PROTECTION AS
  IMPORTANT AS EDUCATION
___________________

ILLEGAL CINDER MINE IN MOJAVE NATIONAL PRESERVE SHUT DOWN

The largest mine in the National Park system was shut
down today. The mine has been operating without a
permit within the Park since 1995. Although the mining
operation was within the Park and being conducted on a
National Natural Landmark, and within critical habitat
for the desert tortoise the acting superintendent for
the Preserve did nothing. In her letter to the mining
company she was more than consolatory stating, "I want
to assure you we will continue to work with you to
complete the environmental review and approval process
as quickly as possible."

The Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of Mojave
National Park, National Park Conservation Association
filed a notice of intent to sue under the ESA and NEPA
if the mine was not shut down or brought into
compliance with environmental laws.

The case was represented by Roger Flynn and Jeff
Parsons of Western Mining Action Project, and Deb Sivas
of Earthlaw.
___________________

CENTER LAWSUIT HALTS BULLDOZERS IN SILVER CREEK HILLS

Two conservation groups, the Center for Biological
Diversity and the Guadalupe-Coyote Resource
Conservation District and the filed suit in Federal
Court in late July to stop a 575-acre golf course and
housing development in San Jose's Silver Creek hills
that scientists say would ruin some of the best
remaining habitat for the federally protected bay
checkerspot butterfly, the California Red-Legged Frog
and several endangered plant species including the
Metcalf Canyon jewelflower and Santa Clara Valley
dudleya.

Newport Beach-based Presley Homes began grading its
538-home ``Ranch on Silver Creek'' development earlier
this month but agreed this week not to disturb any more
land pending a federal court hearing in late August.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said they also
are considering filing a legal challenge after having
asked Presley not to grade the site and repeatedly
raising concerns that the development would result in
an illegal ``taking'' of protected species. The
property at issue -- just north of Silver Creek Valley
Country Club between Highway 101 and Silver Creek
Valley Road -- has been a source of controversy in San
Jose for more than a decade.

The suit is another in a series of initiatives which
are part of the Center for Biological Diversity's
Golden State Biodiversity Initiative. Mark Wolfe, an
attorney with the Natural Heritage Institute filed the
suit on behalf of the Guadalupe-Coyote Resource
Conservation District and the Center for Biological
Diversity.
___________________

SCIENTISTS SLAM SALT FACTORY IN WHALE BIRTHING LAGOON

Thirty-four scientists, including nine Nobel laureates,
this month signed a full page ad that ran in major
newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, the New
York Times and Mexico's La Reforma. The ad protested
Mitsubishi's plans to build a salt factory in Laguna
San Ignacio, in Baja California the last pristine
breeding ground for Pacific gray whales, which migrate
down the Pacific coast every year to give birth to
their babies in the lagoon.

The scientists called Mitsubishi's plans to pump 6,000
gallons out of the lagoon per second, and to flood over
116 square miles to create evaporation pools "an
unacceptable risk" to the environment. Their statement
refutes Mitsubishi's claims that the project will be
environmentally friendly.

"Mitsubishi needs to recognize the weight of scientific
opinion against their plans to turn the California gray
whale's last pristine birthing place into a salt
factory," says Dr. Roger Payne, a whale biologist who
helped discover that humpback whales sing. "It makes no
sense to threaten such a unique Mexican and global
treasure by converting 116 square miles of critical
habitat into an industrial zone."
___________________

POLL SHOWS MOST AMERICANS SAY LAND PROTECTION AS
IMPORTANT AS EDUCATION

A new poll of 800 registered voters, conducted for the
Trust for Public Land  by the Mellman Group and
American Viewpoint, finds clear majorities in both
major parties say that government at all levels is
doing an inadequate job of creating parks and open
spaces. Voters polled identified protecting natural
lands as a key priority for government action, on par
with such issues as education and a higher priority
than reducing taxes. By a 2-to-1 margin Americans
across the political spectrum support a federal plan to
use public funds to purchase and protect land, and a
majority are willing to pay more taxes to support these
purchases. Also, Americans strongly support full
funding of existing federal programs, specifically the
Land and Water Conservation Fund, for which Congress is
considering funding levels now.

Voters polled offered a negative evaluation of the job
all levels of government are doing to protect open
space. Those negative views also cut across party lines
with a majority of Democrats, independents and
Republicans offering negative evaluations of the job
the federal government in particular is doing to
protect open space. The full text of the Trust for
Public Land poll is available online at
http://www.tpl.org/poll

___________________________________________________________
Shane Jimerfield
Assistant Director
Center for Biological Diversity
Tel: 520.623.5252, ext 302              Fax: 520.623.9797
PO Box 710, Tucson AZ 85702-0710        http://www.sw-center.org