The anti-environment contingent in Congress may be down, but
it's definitely not out. Expect it to come back from spring
Environmentalists scored a major victory in late March, when
the Utah delegation's plan to open millions of acres of
stunning redrock wilderness to development - and, in the
process, punch holes in the 1964 Wilderness Act - bit the
dust. The good news is that environmental champions in
Congress refused to yield to legislative blackmail on the
part of their more cynical colleagues, who hoped to get
their way in the Utah wilds by holding hostage a raft of
public-lands measures favored by environmentalists. The bad
news is that those other measures - including one to fund
California's Presidio National Park and another to protect
Sterling Forest in New York and New Jersey - will have to
wait for another day.
Now, the immediate threat to the environment comes from the
so-called omnibus budget bill, H.R. 3019, which includes a
lengthy list of potentially devastating riders - such as
continuing the congressionally imposed moratorium on listing
of endangered species, extending the "logging without laws"
salvage provision that's now savaging the nation's forests,
and opening America's largest national forest, the Tongass,
to massive clearcutting. The list goes on.
Also on the horizon is a proposed revision of the Endangered
Species Act - not the Young-Pombo repeal (which was so
radical that Speaker Newt Gingrich has kept it from reaching
the House floor), but one that environmentalists fear will
still go too far in the direction of placating special
interests - and action on takings and Superfund.
We'll have more on all that in the next Planet. Meanwhile,
tell your representative, your senators and President
Clinton: We demand a clean budget bill - no anti-
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