Monday, October 30, 2006

Put the Creatures back in Creature Comfort

Okay, I thought that critter line up a long time ago. When I was working with Senator Yarborough's office in the dark ages, I was the person in charge of environmental stuff. No one much cared about the environment then, in 1966-8, so I talked over with Richard Yarborough the fact that the Ivory Billed Woodpecker was endangered, and we decided to introduce a bill to give federal protection to the bird. As you may realize, that became the first bill to give federal protection to an endangered species, and Senator Yarborough went on to introduce the first general legislation that gave all endangered species that protection.

Of course, the thugs in office now don't like interfering with corruption of the environment and giving such responsible, stewardship role to the government. Where profits are concerned, rape is the recommended procedure - and we have increasing global warming which shows the cretin in chief's hand at work. Tony Blair actually is on BBC this a.m. pointing out that the collapse of our environment is reaching great depression levels of damage.

Who's in charge here? A civil engineer who has taken the role of mocking environmental concerns and giving industry veto powers over saving species. And here's how she operates

After she declared that the endangered Santa Barbara and Sonoma salamanders were no longer "distinct populations" entitled to protection, William Alsup, a judge on the U.S. District Court for Northern California, ruled that MacDonald had arbitrarily instructed Fish and Wildlife scientists to downgrade the two species even though an agency scientist concluded that "genetics state otherwise."

Two advocacy groups, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Center for Biological Diversity, provided the documents to The Washington Post. Francesca Grifo, who directs the union's scientific integrity program, said MacDonald's actions are "not business as usual but a systemic problem of tampering with science that is putting our environment at risk."

During a separate rulemaking concerning the threatened bull trout's habitat on the Klamath River, Fish and Wildlife officials debated via e-mail on how to respond to MacDonald. Her questions, they believed, reflected the concerns of Ronald Yockim, a lawyer representing three Idaho counties opposing a pending decision to protect nearly 300 miles of the river. After MacDonald's intervention, Fish and Wildlife officials opted to protect 42 miles instead.

John Young, a Fish and Wildlife biologist, wrote to several colleagues: "Yockim is an attorney representing various interest groups. It appears that Julie has shared our responses to her comments with Yockim, which have generated additional comments from Yockim. It seems to me it would be inappropriate to essentially continue the public comment period (it is closed) by contacting and responding to his follow-up questions/comments that he did not provide during the comment period."

'I think that I shall never see a billboard lovely as a tree', to remind you of Ogden Nash's limericks. 'But unless that billboard shall fall, I shall never see a tree at all.'

What a shame if a few dollars were to get in the way of saving species that we have threatened by thoughtless development.

If you have a chance, please take a walk and listen to the birds singing. It may be your last chance to do that.

by Ruth

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