Why the Endangered Species Act Works—
and Why We Need to Keep It Strong
Discharge sick patients from the hospital before they've recovered? Sounds like bad medicine, but that's what Congressman Richard Pombo is proposing in his changes to the Endangered Species Act, which passed the House last fall. Pombo claims the act is like "a failed managed care program that checks species in but never checks them out." But the Endangered Species Act works -- it's prevented the extinction of 99 percent of all species ever listed under its protections. What's more, it has enabled once-endangered species like the American alligator and peregrine falcon to recover.
But it only works if we let it work, and Pombo's legislation would "gut" the act. In fact, it's "all about funneling taxpayer subsidies to big developers," according to the Sierra Club's Bart Semcer. MORE
Tell Exxon It's Time to Pay the Valdez Settlement
Sierra Club Chronicles -- our new monthly TV series -- takes on Exxon, and you can too when you host a house party. In January, ExxonMobil announced a record-breaking annual profit. Yet the world's largest oil company has yet to pay a penny in the damages owed to the Alaskan fishermen from the Exxon Valdez oil spill almost 17 years ago. After a January hearing at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the fishermen are awaiting a decision about whether the 30,000 plaintiffs affected by the spill will get the $4.5 billion in punitive damages they were awarded.
Help send Exxon a message. Host a house party on Friday, March 24 -- the anniversary of the spill -- to screen the episode, "The Day the Water Died." After watching the episode, you can host a discussion and take action through our Web site. You can even call-in toll free to listen to Sierra Club's Alaska Representative and special guests provide more background on the fight with Exxon. For details on hosting a house party, like the recent "Stitch and Bitch" in Atlanta, and to order your free DVD, go to www.sierraclubtv.org.
The proposed North Shore Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park would cut a 38-mile swath through the largest tract of undeveloped mountain forest in the eastern United States.
Intended to replace a county road submerged by a reservoir 60 years ago, only the first 7 miles were built before rising costs and environmental damage halted construction. In recent years, a growing number of local citizens, elected officials, environmental and taxpayer groups have endorsed a cash settlement to Swain County, North Carolina, in lieu of the destructive road, and the National Park Service's “environmentally preferred” alternative is to scrap the proposed road. But Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.), determined to spur new development in the area, secured a $16 million appropriation in 2000 to restart the roadbuilding. MORE
Now the public has a chance to weigh in during a comment period that ends March 20. See a sample letter, and comment online.
see pdf of March/April issue
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