GROUPS CALL ON BUSH
TO HALT ASSAULT
ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Local citizens joined the environmental community, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), House minority leader Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-MO) and other members of Congress at a rally to demand that President Bush stop his current assault on public health and environmental protections.
In just two months in office, President Bush has eliminated, or indicated that he will eliminate, health and environmental protections ranging from limits on arsenic in drinking water to carbon dioxide emissions. He has also proposed new policies that would be environmentally destructive, such as opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, national forests, monuments, and other public lands to oil and gas exploration.
Three Americans who represent the millions who will be directly impacted by these policies shared their stories and outrage with President Bush putting special interests before the public interest.
Other areas where the Bush Administration has abandoned environmental protections include: abandoning a pledge to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, withdrawing federal support for endangered salmon and failing to support protections for national forest roadless areas.
- Arsenic in drinking water. Dr. Lynn Goldman is a pediatrician and professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. From 1993 to '98, Dr. Goldman was EPA assistant administrator, Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. She is an expert on the impact of arsenic on children and families.
"Arsenic is known to cause cancer in humans. The National Academy of Sciences last year concluded that the current EPA standard does not achieve EPA's goal for public health protection," Goldman said. "For the sake of our health and the health of our children, we need to follow the advice of the National Academy of Sciences and toughen standards for arsenic in drinking water as soon as possible."
- Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Sarah James, a leader of the Gwich'in nation from Arctic Village, Alaska, urged Congress not to support damage and disruption to her people, culture and community by allowing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic refuge.
"Maybe there are too few of us to matter. Maybe people think Indians are not important enough to consider in making their energy decisions," James said. "But it's my people who are threatened by this development. We are the ones with everything to lose."
- Hard-rock mining. Don Newhouse is a registered Republican from Yarnell, Arizona, who has been fighting a proposed hard-rock mine located just 500 feet from his community and the inevitable water pollution and blasting that will result. The mine would likely have been denied under safeguards that were recently rolled back by the Bush Administration and is now likely to go forward.
Newhouse, spokesman for Guardians of the Rural Environment, spoke about his years of fighting to stop the open pit, cyanide-leach gold mine: "Yarnell is not facing substantial irreparable harm, it is facing total permanent devastation. The special interests of industry and political contributions must not be allowed to destroy entire communities. President Bush, don't roll back the mining rules to satisfy special interests."
- Snowmobiles in national parks. Also attending the rally was Betsy Robinson, a resident of Bozeman, Montana, and a veteran wildlife researcher, teacher and natural history guide in Yellowstone National Park. The National Park Service has adopted a final plan to phase out snowmobiles over the next three years at Yellowstone, but the Bush Administration has said it may ignore the Yellowstone plan and allow continued snowmobile use in the park. Robinson has repeatedly seen snowmobiles harassing bison and her business has been disrupted by the pollution and noise from the large numbers of snowmobiles in the park.
"During the past nine years, I have made dozens of visits to Yellowstone every winter, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that snowmobiles do not belong in our national parks. The combination of noise, air pollution and irresponsible and illegal behavior has a huge negative impact on the park, on wildlife and on other winter visitors," Robinson said. "I urge Congress and the president to listen to the thousands of Americans who commented on the Yellowstone-Grand Teton winter use plan, and made it clear they don't want snowmobiles in Yellowstone."
Taking part in the rally were: American Oceans Campaign, Defenders Of Wildlife, Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, Endangered Species Coalition, Environmental Defense, Greenpeace, National Environmental Trust, Physicians For Social Responsibility, Sierra Club, The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, The Wilderness Society, 20/20 Vision Education Fund, U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Written by: The Wilderness Society
| * * * IN-HOUSE RESOURCES * * *|