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Earth Action, 2/9/06 February 09, 2006 10:03 AM

The Bulletin for Environmental Activists

February 9, 2006
In This Issue:

--Action Alerts--

1. Tell the Bush administration not to destroy the wild areas of Wyoming's Red

2. Urge your representative to oppose a destructive logging bill

3. Don't let the Bush administration weaken protections for our public lands

You will also find these alerts in NRDC'S Earth Action Center, which includes
tools for taking action easily online, at

(Please do not reply to this message; see the instructions below for how to
unsubscribe or contact NRDC with questions or comments.)

Action Alerts

1. Tell the Bush administration not to destroy the wild areas of Wyoming's Red

The Atlantic Rim of Wyoming's fabled Red Desert is an oasis of prime wildlife
habitat, providing crucial winter ranges for elk and mule deer, and important
breeding and nesting areas for sage grouse, hawks and eagles. The region also
has a colorful past: it includes the ancestral homelands of the Shoshone and
Ute peoples as well as the site of the Overland and Cherokee trails traveled by
the pioneers.

But the Bush administration is moving forward with an oil and gas project that
would convert important and sensitive wildlife habitat on the desert's Atlantic
Rim into a massive industrial zone with 2,000 wells and 1,000 miles of new
roads. The administration's proposed plan would sacrifice critical wildlands
and wildlife habitat and harm streams and water quality that are essential for
endangered fish. The proposed drilling pads and roads would be so dense, and
the habitat loss so severe, that few of the Red Desert's native wildlife
species would be able to survive.

The Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comments on its drilling
proposal through February 17th.

== What to do ==
Send a message, before the February 17th comment deadline, urging the BLM to
withdraw its proposed plan and to instead ensure that the Red Desert's most
sensitive habitats and other natural resources are protected from harm.

== Contact information ==
You can send a letter directly from NRDC's Earth Action Center at Or use the contact information and sample letter
below to send your own message, and please include your own reasons why
protecting these stunning lands from oil and gas development is important to

David Simons, Project Manager
Rawlins Field Office
Bureau of Land Management
P.O. Box 2407
Rawlins, WY 82301

== Sample letter ==

Subject:  Withdraw the Atlantic Rim drilling project

Dear Project Manager Simons,

I urge you to withdraw your current preferred alternative for the Atlantic Rim
Project, and to revise your proposal to include critical environmental
protections and balance industrial uses of public lands with the needs of
public recreation, clean air and water and desert wildlife.

Any final decision should keep roads and drilling pads safe distances away from
sage grouse breeding and nesting areas (with a 3-mile buffer), sharp-tailed
grouse breeding and nesting areas (1 mile), ferruginous hawk nests (2 miles),
other raptor nests (1 mile), mountain plover nesting areas, 100-year
floodplains, historic Overland and Cherokee trails (3 miles), and prairie dog
colonies. I also urge you to require the strongest protective measures to
prevent salt runoff from roads and soils, the underground injection of salty
wastewater, and other activities that would harm the area's streams.

In addition, the project should use only directional drilling to cluster well
facilities and truly minimize the drilling footprint, and allow only a small
proportion of the project area to be in an industrialized state at any one
time. It is also essential that the Wild Cow Creek proposed wilderness area be
removed from the project.

The BLM should protect those few remaining places that are too special to
drill, and manage remaining areas in an environmentally sensitive manner. Our
natural heritage, including the Red Desert's Atlantic Rim, should be protected
for future generations.


[Your name and address]

2. Urge your representative to oppose a destructive logging bill

The House of Representatives may soon consider a bill that would make it easier
for the timber industry to log parts of our most fragile national forests after
a forest fire or hurricane, or even after a common snowstorm or rainstorm.

Logging after a fire or other natural disturbance is one of the most
environmentally destructive practices occurring in public forests today. After
a fire, forests and their natural resources are fragile, and immediately begin
the process of recovery. Logging at this moment can devastate a forest
ecosystem by crushing seedlings, triggering landslides and removing trees that
are essential to forest recovery, even if they are dying.

Not only is post-fire logging bad for the environment, it can also increase the
risk of additional wildfires in nearby communities. And it's a bad deal for
ta  [ send green star]
 February 09, 2006 10:04 AM

taxpayers: logging after one fire alone -- the Biscuit Fire in Oregon -- is
estimated to have cost the Forest Service at least $9 million, which translates
into a significant subsidy for the timber industry.

The proposed bill could waive the most fundamental environmental protections
for logging projects of any size in our national forests, while making it more
difficult for the public to obtain information and offer input concerning these
destructive projects. Representative Walden (R-OR), who introduced the bill, is
now trying to persuade other representatives to co-sponsor it. With enough co-
sponsors, the bill could come up for a vote as early as March.

== What to do ==
Send a message urging your representative to oppose Representative Walden's
destructive logging bill (H.R. 4200).

== Contact information ==
You can send a message to your representative directly from NRDC's Earth Action
Center at If you prefer to call your
representative, the Capitol switchboard number is 202-224-3121.

3. Don't let the Bush administration weaken protections for our public lands

Our public lands are home to some of the nation's greatest environmental
treasures -- pristine wildlands, towering forests, stunning landscapes. The
National Environmental Policy Act requires the government to review proposed
activities that could potentially harm these lands, and also ensures that the
public has a voice in decisions about how its lands are used. This public
involvement has proved to be an essential tool in protecting these lands from

But the Bureau of Land Management has proposed a new policy that would
eliminate many of the rules that now protect our public lands from harmful
grazing, logging and energy development by excluding these practices from
National Environmental Policy Act review. The new rules would allow
inappropriate grazing and logging practices to pollute streams and watersheds,
and permit 60-thousand-pound "thumper trucks" to cross huge areas in search of
oil and gas. These trucks, with tires 67 inches high and 34 inches wide, leave
a wake of deep ruts, crushed soil and destroyed wildlife habitat.

To add insult to injury, the proposed rules also would eliminate the public's
right to participate in decisions affecting its own lands.

The BLM is accepting comments on its proposal through February 24th.

== What to do ==
Send a message, before the February 24th comment deadline, urging the BLM to
withdraw its harmful proposal and protect our public lands.

== Contact information ==
You can send an official comment directly from NRDC's Earth Action Center at (we'll send a copy of your comment to your senators
and representative, who will be considering this issue later this year). Or use
the contact information and sample letter below to send your own message.

Content Analysis Team
BLM Categorical Exclusions
Post Office Box 22777
Salt Lake City, UT  84122-0777
Fax:  801-517-1014

== Sample letter ==

Subject:  Don't expand categorical exclusions

Dear BLM Content Analysis Team,

I strongly oppose the BLM's proposal to expand the use of "categorical
exclusions" to avoid conducting analyses that are currently required under the
National Environmental Policy Act for grazing, logging, vegetative treatments
and oil and gas exploration activities.

The National Environmental Policy Act requires agencies to look closely at
their proposed actions and decisions. The act is also the best tool citizens
have to learn about federal agency actions that might affect our public lands.

The proposed categorical exclusions, however, would allow the BLM to ignore its
legal duty to seek public input on proposals that could result in significant
harm to the environment. The activities proposed for categorical exclusion,
including grazing, logging and exploring for oil and gas, all can cause -- and
have caused -- serious damage to publicly owned resources.

I urge the BLM not to exempt its proposed categorical exclusions from National
Environmental Policy Act review, and to abandon its proposal to eliminate the
public's voice in decisions that affect our lands.


[Your name and address]

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About NRDC

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a nonprofit environmental organization
with more than one million members and online activists, and a staff of
scientists, attorneys and environmental experts. Our mission is to protect the
planet's wildlife and wild places and ensure a safe and healthy environment  [ send green star]
 February 09, 2006 10:04 AM

all living things.

For more information about NRDC or how to become a member of NRDC, please
contact us at:

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New York, NY 10011
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Also visit:
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A project of the Natural Resources Defense Council
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