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Earthjustice e-Brief: The Latest on the "Extinction Bill" September 27, 2005 6:40 PM










  Buck in Brief: Restoration and recovery

  View From the Hill: This is it -- the fight for the Endangered Species Act

  Take Action: Stop the "extinction bill"

  On the Frontline: Trip Van Noppen

  Tom's Turn: Government ain't all bad

  Arctic Refuge Action Day
Arctic Refuge Photography Exhibit 

Going to be in Seattle this year? Be sure to check out the most talked-about environmental exhibit of our time!

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land is being hosted by the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle from June 25 to December 31, 2005. This is Subhankar Banerjee's original, unaltered photography exhibit that caused so much controversy in the U.S. Senate (in book form) and at the Smithsonian.

If you are in Seattle, come and see this spectacular wildlife photography and learn why we really need such unique natural areas. For details, click here.

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 September 27, 2005 6:41 PM



Hurricanes, rallies at the nation's capital, and a major assault on our basic wildlife law. Never a dull moment. Given the severity and significance of these events, we present a pared-down version of e-Brief this month. It may not be altogether pleasant reading, but it’s very important. Read on.

Cat Lazaroff scans the view from the Hill and doesn’t much like what she sees. Two California congressmen -- Richard Pombo, a Republican, and Dennis Cardoza, a Democrat -- have introduced a bill (and pushed it quickly through Pombo’s House committee) that would cut the heart out of the Endangered Species Act, one of the most popular and effective environmental laws ever enacted. Get all the details on this bill and the fight to stop it here. 

Take Action: Stop the “extinction bill”
Right now, the “extinction bill” is moving forward extremely quickly -- and it’s just as bad as we feared.  Representative Pombo’s bill would cut large holes in this safety net and significantly weaken protections for our nation’s fish, plants, and wildlife, and the places they call home. We need your help to stop this bill! Click here to send a letter to your representative urging him or her to stand up for species like the bald eagle and the grizzly bear, and save the Endangered Species Act!

Photo: Kristen Johnson, NWF

 Arctic Refuge Action Day
Arctic Action Day, September 20, was a huge success!  Many thanks to all of our Earthjustice supporters who made the trip to our nation's capital for this record-setting day. The crowd was estimated at up to 7,000 and was by far the largest rally ever dedicated to saving the Arctic Refuge. The Halls of Congress were inundated with 2,500 Arctic blue t-shirts given to those who lobbied their members of Congress to vote against Arctic drilling -- even if it means opposing the Budget Reconciliation bill.  Twenty-eight busses came to DC representing people from at least 33 states.  Four hundred activists came from New Jersey, alone!  
 Photo: Kristen Johnson, NWF

Speakers at the rally on the West Lawn included Senators Chafee, Clinton, Kerry, and Lieberman; Representatives Grijalva, Kucinich, McCollum, and Ryan as well as former Congressman Tom Evans and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. also spoke.

Click here to take action and save the Refuge!


Click here to meet Trip.


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 September 27, 2005 6:42 PM

Tom Turner is Earthjustice's senior editor.
E-mail him at


Government Ain't All Bad

It would be enormously satisfying to be able to blame the Bush administration for the damage inflicted by Katrina, but that wouldn’t be fair. We can, and do, blame the administration for inexcusable failures in responding rapidly and adequately to the catastrophe and making the suffering far worse than it had to be.

In the longer term, as has been pointed out in many places, the failure to protect the natural wetlands of the Gulf coast, particularly in Louisiana, made the damage far more severe than it would otherwise have been. Blame for that goes back decades. The pollution that now engulfs the region is a stern reminder that our present lifestyle depends on a huge variety of very dangerous substances.

What I’d like to muse about briefly here, however, is a more abstract matter: the proper role of government in our lives.

Grover Norquist, of Americans for Tax Reform, has famously been quoted as saying, “My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” That pretty well sums up the philosophy of this administration and an unfortunately large fraction of Congress.

But government exists for perfectly good reasons. We need police. We need firefighters. Only the very wealthiest can hire private protectors. By the same token, we need government to protect the environment. Without strong oversight and enforcement of powerful laws -- by citizens as well as by agencies -- the free market, or any kind of economic organization, would poison air and water, raze forests, strip hillsides, fill valleys with rubble and trash, and, yes, allow wetlands to be degraded to the point where their storm-buffering capacity is ruined.

The linguist George Lakoff has pointed out that this is a fundamental difference of political philosophy between what he calls “progressive/liberals” and “right-wing conservatives.” He makes a lot of sense.

Now I can get as frustrated as anyone with bureaucracies that don’t work, or are unfair, or are too big for their britches. But this anti-government madness has gone way too far. Maybe some day, long hence, we will be able to say that, for all the damage she did, Katrina knocked some sense into our thick heads.

The beat goes on.

Tom Turner, Senior Editor

On to the mail:

I recently contacted my Congressperson Wally Herger to let him know that I support the Endangered Species Act and to urge him to resist any attempts to weaken it (yeah, I know I'm wasting my time trying to convince him!) In his response, he said that during the time the ESA has been law, not a single species has been saved from extinction as a result of its provisions.  Can you help me out with some solid information I can use to refute this statement?

Thanks for all that you at Earthjustice do to protect the natural world we love and value.
-- Kris Bertelson-Williams, McArthur, CA

TT: Congressman Herger is quite wrong.  The bald eagle and the American alligator are two species that were not only saved from extinction by the Endangered Species Act, but today have healthy and thriving populations.  These two species, and hundreds of others, owe their survival to the law.  Please visit for more Endangered Species Act success stories.

Why is it that those who most fervently think that the teaching of intelligent design belongs in science classes are those most willing and eager to destroy or endanger many forms of life in exchange for profits?  Are they telling God, "yes, you created everything in the universe but you didn't really use very good judgment and we're going to have to straighten out some of your mistakes?"
-- Bruce A. Stegman

TT: Good question. I have no answer.

This next letter came to Buck Pa  [ send green star]

 September 27, 2005 6:43 PM

This next letter came to Buck Parker, but I thought you would enjoy it.

As I was going through your web page I saw the note on Fred Fisher [an Earthjustice founder, who passed away August 16] and donated. What an amazing fellow. In 1980 while lobbying for wilderness in DC I met David Brower. When he found out that I grew up a fifth generation Utahan and saw Glen Canyon and Cathedral in the Desert before it was flooded, he walked across the room, gave me a big hug that lifted me off the floor, looked at me with those deep blue eyes and said, "Then you know." It was an amazing experience. 
-- Jerry S. Dixon

Theodore Roosevelt said "Speak [not walk] softly, but carry a big stick."
-- Eldon Ball (correcting a letter-writer last month)

Your site is absolutely splendid.  Every part of it.  I only wish I had money that I could contribute to your organization.  In any case, I send you hugs and jolly wishes.
-- Carole Jones

 Please write. Send letters to


2005 Earthjustice | 426 17th Street, 6th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612 | 510-550-6700 |

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