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Environmental Justice:
A Journal for Life, Page 2



Sen. Slade Gorton's Stand: Timber!

Portions of this resource material were compiled in fall, 1997, during Sen. Slade Gorton's major attack on the sovereignty of American Indian tribes, while other sections are new. As you read this material and visit the reference sources, you might find yourself asking: is there a common thread of philosophy that touches everything that he does?

As his new 1998 "wannabe calvary" charge against Native Americans thunders across the Washington landscape, Gorton continues a consistent career outlook. His record shows that he is "pro" big business and "anti" just about everything else, including the legal sovereign rights of Indian tribes, and the future welfare of our public lands, and all natural resources.

The League of Conservation Voters gave him a 0 per cent rating on support for conservation issues in 1995, an 8 per cent rating in 1996 and again, a resounding 0 per cent in 1997.. In short, even by adding up the grades for three years in one combined score, Gorton cannot rate a minimal passing grade on his caretaking of the environment.

Please also read the excellent article "The Anti-Enviromentalists in the 104th Congress Feed at the Corporate Cash Trough," by Jim Motavalli and Ellen Miller. The entire article can be found at E! The Environmental Magazine .Here's one quote, which succinctly summarizes Gorton's agenda:

"Senator Slade Gorton (R-Washington) has an almost perfect record of supporting the timber industry. Is it at all surprising, then, that he received $112,000 in campaign contributions from timber-harvesting political action committees (PACs) between 1987 and 1995? In fact, the timber industry has invested more than five times as much political cash in trying to influence reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act as has the entire environmental movement."
The scope of Gorton's attack on wildlife and the environment may shock you.




Here are some short clips from the SECTION-BY-SECTION SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS OF S. 768, HE GORTON-JOHNSTON ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT REFORM ACT OF 1995 . Mr. Williams' and Mr. Irvin's astute analysis provide a very clear road map to discovering Sen. Gorton's philosophy about wildlife and natural resources.

SECTION-BY-SECTION SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS OF S. 768, THE GORTON-JOHNSTON ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT REFORM ACT OF 1995

Prepared by
Christopher E. Williams
World Wildlife Fund
(202) 778-9792

Wm. Robert Irvin
Center for Marine Conservation
(202) 857-5551


SEC. 107. EMERGENCY LISTING STANDARD

SUMMARY: Changes the standard for emergency listings from "significant risk to the well-being" of the species to "imminent threat to the existence of" the species, defined as "a significant likelihood that the species will be placed on an irreversible course to extinction during the 2-year period from the date of the listing determination unless the species is accorded fully the protections available under this Act during the period." Prohibits the Secretary from delegating authority to make emergency listing determinations.

ANALYSIS: Increases the risk of species extinction by imposing extremely stringent standard for emergency listings, without any basis for concluding that the emergency listing authority has been abused. Assumes that timing of extinction can be determined within two years' precision.

TITLE II. CONSERVATION OBJECTIVES AND CONSERVATION PLANS

SEC. 201. CONSERVATION OBJECTIVES CONSERVATION PLANS AND CRITICAL HABITAT


SEC. 201. CONSERVATION OBJECTIVES CONSERVATION PLANS AND CRITICAL HABITAT

ANALYSIS: Abandons the ESA's central goal of recovering threatened and endangered species. Interior Secretary is authorized, without public review and comment, to provide less protection to listed species than is required by current law, including abandoning all efforts to protect habitat. For distinct populations protected as listed species, such as gray wolves and grizzly bears, Secretary would be prohibited from providing greater protection unless a determination is made that it is in the national interest to do so. Assessment and planning teams required to make complex biological, economic, and social analyses in constricted period. Assessment of impact on use of property is not limited to real property.

Critical Habitat:

ANALYSIS : Eliminates promotion of species recovery as a reason for designating critical habitat by limiting designations to presently occupied habitat necessary to the persistence of a species for the next 50 years.

Effect of Conservation Plans and Objectives on Public and Private Activities:

ANALYSIS: Eliminates any meaningful consultation requirement under the ESA by making consultation discretionary with federal agencies. Creates an incentive for any person taking a listed species to claim that their action was consistent with a conservation plan or objective and, therefore, not a taking.

SEC. 306. PROGRAMMATIC CONSULTATIONS

ANALYSIS: Allows potentially harmful activities under federal land management plans to occur before it has been determined that the plans themselves will not jeopardize listed species.

SEC. 403. EXEMPTIONS FROM THE TAKE PROHIBITION

ANALYSIS: Creates broad categories of exemptions from the take prohibition. Eliminates protection for endangered marine species (e.g. sea turtles, Steller sea lions, sea otters) that are incidentally taken by commercial fishing and oil and gas development out to the 200-mile limit of federal maritime jurisdiction.



Sec. 403, above, shows part of the reasons why marine life activists say Sen. Slade Gorton is "A Threat to All Marine Life."





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Termination by Appropriation
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The artwork is Thomas Moran's "Tower Falls."