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Nature Is Up For A Vote Today In Congress


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View Patti Goldman's blog posts
17 February 2011, 6:45 AM
Amendments target wildlife, water, air, public health, natural resources

Forty years of environmental progress is under attack today by a vote in the House of Representative on a stop-gap funding measure to keep the federal government running.

Unfortunately, that measure—called a continuing resolution—is loaded with amendments and provisions that would slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, and seeks to override the rule of law at every turn.

These so-called  “riders” could not pass on their own merits, so their sponsors hope they will ride the coat-tails of this must-pass budget bill. Like fleas, they come with the dog, only these are far more than irritants. They would overturn court decisions that we have obtained to stop illegal behavior and force federal agencies to comply with the law.

Greenhouse gas regulations top the list. House Republicans would deny funding of EPA efforts to limit global warming pollution from new power plants and factories. EPA finally put these regulations into place this January nearly four years after the Supreme Court held that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that can be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The naysayers claim it is the province of Congress to craft legislative solutions to this most far-reaching threat of our time. Never mind that Congress failed to pass climate legislation and that the naysayers have no intention of doing so in this Congress. 

The good news is President Obama has threatened to veto legislation that strips EPA of authority to regulate greenhouse gases. And  when asked whether this rider would have any traction in the Senate, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) replied, “About like 20 degrees below zero, trying to walk across an icy pond.” 

Another rider would take Northern Rockies gray wolves from the endangered species list. Last year, a federal district judge threw out the delisting of gray wolves in Idaho and Montana because the population extends into Wyoming and wolves do not respect state boundaries. The issue is no longer whether the wolves still need protection or whether delisting is illegal.

Another rider would over-ride mitigation measures written by scientists to keep enough water in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers to support salmon. We are entering dangerous terrain when raw politics can so easily trump scientific assessments of what species need to survive.

The current fervor is a slap in the face to President Nixon, who signed the Endangered Species Act in 1973 to give the federal government “needed authority to protect an irreplaceable part of our natural heritage—threatened wildlife.” As he said:

Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed. It is a many-faceted treasure, of value to scholars, scientists, and nature lovers alike, and it forms a vital part of the heritage we all share as Americans.

The promise of the Clean Air Act is also in jeopardy. When the first President Bush signed strengthening amendments in 1990, he expressed his “demonstration to the American people of my determination that each and every American shall breathe clean air,” and he promised that the “result of this new Clean Air Act will be that cancer risk, respiratory disease, heart ailments, and reproductive disorders will be reduced.”

The Clean Air Act has been achieving its promise. More than a decade of litigation spurred EPA to adopt a rule last year that will reduce mercury and other toxic air pollution from cement kilns by more than 90 percent and will save 2,500 lives each year.

Now a rider seeks to block those health protections. And EPA is due to finalize new limits on toxic air pollution from on-site power plants at industrial facilities. This rule will save 5,000 lives each year. Thirty-six million Americans who live within three miles of these facilities can breathe easier if this rule goes into effect.

The anti-environment zeal has also surfaced in Florida, where Rep. Tom Rooney is using a ride to attack popular, much-needed standards that would lessen the run-off that has slimed state waterways with toxic algae growth explosions.

This is just a sampling of the mischief underway as I write this. Other riders would perpetuate devastating mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia, rush offshore oil drilling approvals without compliance with environmental and safety measures, and prevent protection of wild lands that could become wilderness.

The silver lining is that Congress is not supposed to legislate on spending bills. That is why most of these riders prevent spending funds to take specified actions over the next seven months. But other must-pass bills will follow and be magnets (this is the first) for riders, and many of the anti-environmental measures have also been introduced in free-standing bills. It’s going to be a long Congress.

Dudes, this is the only planet we've got & it desperately, desperately needs a good lawyer. If you've got something better than EarthJustice, tell us ALL, please.

Three Cheers for Gov. Brian Schweitzer. Hunters are now killing Canadian Wolves. Best news yet this year. Thanks Brian !!

The depth of our stupidity rivals only the height of our arrogance. And such a stunning example.

Blessings upon you my friend....you are in dire need.

The ignorance of your joy is pathetic.

I want you to think about something for a second.

Please bear in mind that I'm a liberal Democrat interested in the environment and conservation for over 40 years.

I don't trust Earth Justice or the environmental movement to be honest players in the debate. Many of the issues listed in this article seem like issues of great concern to me, yet I'm not sure they are honestly presented.

Attorneys for environmental groups uselessly divert federal funds from needed resource and habitat conservation to frivolous litigations. Our state and federal agencies are drained of resources they desperately need for species protection and study by endless lawsuits driven by emotional appeals to donors instead of hard science.

Many of the issues in this article seem so obviously important. Who could possibly be for mountain top removal? Who could possibly be for more greenhouse gas emissions? Not me I'd think. But because these issues are championed by the modern environmental movement, a movement more interested in litigation and outrage, I have to reserve my judgement on every single issue.

Think about it.

You're not a liberal Democrat interested in the environment and conservation for over 40 years. You're nothing more than a red herring poster, posing as something you're not in order to give credence to your baseless argument to cast doubt in the minds of the less informed as to the credibility of this sterling organization and the entire modern environmental movement.

You're full of pretend doubts and your mind teems with things that "seem." Well, Earthjustice is a very reputable and trustworthy organization and they do in fact honestly portray any given issue, just as they have in this article.

Lawsuits and litigation are absolutely necessary tools and have resulted in countless victories for humans, wildlife, and ecosystems alike.

Do everyone a favor and educate yourself beyond a passing "interest" in the environment and maybe you'll no longer feel the need to try to subvert the important work or reputation of Earthjustice.

Think about it.

It is time we learn to face our own demons and learn to appreciate nature...to nurture and protect, and that requires a willingness for education, an open mind…and an appreciation for something other than yourself. All you are interested in doing is saving face. It is time to think about America and all that live here.

This about remembering our true priorities and our place within a larger picture and has nothing to do with saving face my friend, but everything to do with saving our planet.

We are all connected...to the earth, to one another, to the animals with which we share it. For without nature, we would literally cease to exist...and America would not be immune.

Therefore we could proceed to ceremoniously kiss our haughty egos and fiscal aspirations...goodbye.

It is imperative that we protect our natural resources, our very lives depend upon it.

Once our animals, earth and water supply are gone...then we're gone. The continued greed of the Corporations and those in Congress that value nothing but power is astounding to me. All animals on out planet have their purpose and I am sick of the mean spirited
jerks that have no regard for them. Guns are out of control in this country. As are those members in Congress who have no regard for the life of anything.

Once again:

I love wolves...and ALL of nature in its rich diversity and myriad beauty. Do not all our future generations deserve that same sense of wonder in an awe-inspiring world of enduring beauty?

We fail to remember that we are merely tenets of the earth, why would we want to destroy our home? I don't believe in selling out on nature at any cost....especially not for political vanity or corporate profit, yet these pervasive influences remain stalwart foes.

Government on all levels has forgotten its place and most certainly has no province in deciding the viability of any species. Why is it that whenever politics enters into the equation...dignity, common sense and ethics are slaughtered...?

But wolves don't have powerful lobbies in government and nature is only desirable when it doesn't get in the way of "progress." Oh help us all when she tires of our insatiable stupidity.

We don't see things as they ARE...we see things as WE are.

The point that is totally lost here is that we are also a species...the HUMAN species...and we are not immune to extinction ourselves.

We view the wolf as incorrigible, we despise him for being inconvenient. Yet he has always been a symbol of mankind's loathing of itself.

It is time we learn to face our own demons and learn to appreciate nature...to nurture and protect, and that requires a willingness for education, an open mind…and an appreciation for something other than yourself. Not anti-legislation and the inevitable extinction of a keystone species. We set a deadly precedence whenever we allow prejudice or jagged reasoning to interfere with our lives, or impede the legitimacy of justice or honor.

I am proud to be a member of Earth Justice, although sadly, I am not entirely certain that America has any values left.

The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. We are put on this earth to be good stewards of all that we have and what the Lord has given us freely. Ask of him for Wisdom and he shall give it liberally. A fool has said in his heart there is no God. God cares for the animals, and has made us stewards let us choose wisely. If we bite and devour one another we shall consume one another. God has put in each of our hearts what is right and wrong. Choose this day whom you will serve, whether it be evil or whether it be good.
The key is to Pray for our nations and leaders, and to stand up for what is right. Nature is not destroying it is doing what God intended reproducing, living, being free. God made a food chain and man is trying to change the course of nature. There will be a day of Judgement of all our actions, words, and deeds and we shall be accountable. What is in your heart and where will you stand?

Time for the truth to come out about this disaster called Wolf Recovery !

Please sign the petition @ biggameforever.org and support our efforts to restore our ecosystem to pre-wolf recovery status. Canis Lupus Occidentalis has never been a native species throughout history and will never be considered native in the future. Removal of CLO is now top priority in our region, and to save Yellowstone from complete collapse.

Kevin needs to do his homework. Canis Lupus Occidentalis is a native species in the U.S. and Canada. They roamed freely across the U.S. before the European settlers arrived. You seem to be confusing their reintroduction in 1995 with their history. And -- the reason we had to reintroduce them is because we(humans) killed them all off. You should read some of Aldo Leopold's studies on wolves and the ecosystem.(he used to be an avid hunter of wolves). One of his proven findings is -- As a consequence of deer overabundance, aspen, other deciduous woody plants, and conifers were extensively browsed, and range conditions deteriorated. Wolves have many values to the ecosystem in the U.S. but the haters don't want to listen to reason.

Scientifically speaking the previous commenter was referring to the fact that the subspecies often calle Canadian wolf had a very small territory in the US, where as the Great Plains and Eastern Timer Wolves occupied most of the lower 48.

If you look at Wiki and follow the links to maps of the original ranges of the subspecies you'll see what I mean.

Technically speaking it wasn't a re introduction but a transplanted sub species, at least in the Yellowstone. As a practical matter the Canadian wolf can well fill the niche of the Great Plains wolf easily. No doubt their ranges always overlapped and there was breeding between the two subspecies.

What I have an issue with is the idea that without wolves ungulates over browse. The only place in the Rocky Mountains where over populations have been a problem are exactly those places where the apex predator hasn't been allowed to hunt. I am of course referring to humans. Our National Parks do not allow humans to hunt. Aldo Leopold was also the father of the modern wildlife services and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. It is the basis for all federal and state management to this day.

I'd suggest googling it.

Also
http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/3746/0

Nice try, hyping the only legal avenue to stop the destruction of our elk, deer, and moose. The Canadian Gray wolf is decimating wildlife, and now the day of reckoning is here. You lunatics wanted to push your Marxist agenda, well, now you have a war on your hands. When we are done, we are going to kick the lynch pins out of your welfare activism too.

Sportsmen have done more to save wildlife than you could ever imagine, and we have been the true stewards of the land.

You are not a true steward of the land. You are a true killerof the land proven by all of the wildlife you have killed with your guns. You are anti-wildlife and wildlife's enemy.

In reality we have a human problem. The wolf is not decimating "your" elf, moose, and deer, humans have changed the dynamics of the natural system due to ranching. The real answer is to get rid of those ranchers that see the world as theirs. Sportsmen have done nothing to save wildlife as their agenda is to recreate by causing severe trauma and death. Sportsmen are true psychopaths who get their kicks from violence.

One more nut case with a gun and no common sense has made a comment that does nothing more than incite the pro-animal rights movement. How about this, conservation means protecting all of our resources for future generations to enjoy, not just the lunatic fringe. That means allowing hunters to hunt within reason on lands designated for that purpose, not being able to indiscrimately kill anything they want anywhere they want. I own guns and support the second amendment but also believe that wildlife should be protected and regulated for all to enjoy, not just the hunters, but also the hikeres, mountain bikers,campers, backpackers and ohter outdoorsmen who use our public lands. This is why Teddy Roosevelt endorsed the whole concept of conservation in the first place.

One more nut case with a gun and no common sense has made a comment that does nothing more than incite the pro-animal rights movement. How about this, conservation means protecting all of our resources for future generations to enjoy, not just the lunatic fringe. That means allowing hunters to hunt within reason on lands designated for that purpose, not being able to indiscrimately kill anything they want anywhere they want. I own guns and support the second amendment but also believe that wildlife should be protected and regulated for all to enjoy, not just the hunters, but also the hikeres, mountain bikers,campers, backpackers and ohter outdoorsmen who use our public lands. This is why Teddy Roosevelt endorsed the whole concept of conservation in the first place.

Hunters is the true Green we have a record of saving Millions of more animals and land then any of you groups combine. How dare you allow the wolves to wipe out our wildlife because of your GREED. Do you tell your followers all about the 100's millions you collected from the Federal Government on this scam? Time to take about your welfare check from the Government.

CONGRESS, CONGRESS...SAY WHAT?
from gloriana casey 2-17-2011

Congress, Congress, I've been thinking,
what a strange world we would see.
If our water is all poisoned,
Coca Cola will not be!

Coca Cola? So you care not!
Though beer and wine, I know you drink!
If you diss our EPA now.
Corporate business,it will shrink!

Poisoned land makes poisoned rivers,
when oceans die, then so will life
For all Earth shares LIFE connection,
YOU ruin one? And we get strife!

Poisoned air brings death and sickness,
Health Insurance? Well--- they'll go broke!
If you diss our EPA now...
Corporate profits---fall--NO hope!

Flora, fauna, all LIFE's good stuff,
that once is lost can NOT return!
Nature's Web of LIFE is real now,
Break one link----we all will burn!

IF you care not for this planet,
and choose to diss the EPA.
No money gained will bring back this EARTH,
AMERICA---it dies away!***

snap snap snap.. amen

Please help save the environment so that our children can have a future.

The current fervor is a slap in the face to President Nixon, who signed the Endangered Species Act in 1973 to give the federal government “needed authority to protect an irreplaceable part of our natural heritage – threatened wildlife.” As he said:

"Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed. It is a many-faceted treasure, of value to scholars, scientists, and nature lovers alike, and it forms a vital part of the heritage we all share as Americans."

Please continue to protect our environment by supporting the preservation of our natural resources. We can use what we have by being smarter not by changing the Earth to "our" specifications. We CAN live in harmony with our environment when we pay attention to smarter practices. Money is an energy and an attitude in regards to how we use it. If the goal is to make more money at the expense of the environment then there will be a consequence. We want a more intelligent nation, attracting scientists and inventors, then lets focus on how to work within the Earth's natural system.

If the Republican congress truly believes that the EPA should no longer exist, then by the same logic we don't need to provide water and air quality inspectors for any of our state, county, or city entities. It can all be done by private companies hired by homeowners, city and county agencies.

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