Grassroots Movement Against Anti-Environmental Riders Grows

(12/12/1995) - Two hundred and fifty local, state and national organizations today asked President Clinton to reject anti-environmental riders attached to the Interior Appropriations bill being considered by a House-Senate conference this evening. The House has twice re- committed the Interior bill because of riders that would continue federal giveaways under the 1872 Mining Act and allow unsustainable practices in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.

The letter, spearheaded by the newly created Grassroots Environmental Effectiveness Network (GREEN), a project of Defenders of Wildlife, reflects an increasing mobilization of citizens across the country as they learn about the hidden anti-environmental agenda of leaders in the 104th Congress, according to GREEN.

Roger Featherstone, GREEN director, said today, "Environmental supporters from every corner of the country are united in our message to the President: reject the destructive riders attached to unrelated spending bills. Congress is trying to roll back twenty years of natural resource and endangered species protections under cover of darkness. Let them just try to do so in plain view and they will encounter the wrath of the American public."

Although anti-environmental riders do not address federal spending limits, they nonetheless are favored by Members of Congress seeking to avoid public hearings, testimony and scrutiny. Today's letter to the President identified Interior Appropriations riders that would:

  • Extend a moratorium on new listings and critical habitat designations for endangered species;

  • Exempt a controversial telescope project in Arizona from conservation and cultural protection laws;

  • Undermine the 1994 California Desert Protection Act;

  • Hinder salmon and trout conservation measures in the Columbia River Basin;

  • Curb scientific protocol on wildlife protection in the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest;

  • Eliminate the National Biological Service;

  • Nullify administrative rules on public land grazing;
  • Place a moratorium on energy efficiency standards;

  • Override a court settlement relating to old growth forest protection in Idaho; and

  • Increase cutting on the Tongass National Forest in Alaska without regard to science.

GREEN is a new "support team" in Washington, D.C. providing information and assistance to activists around the nation who work on wildlife, biodiversity, and public lands issues. GREEN is advised by Jim Jontz, a former Member of Congress and director of the Endangered Species Coalition and Citizens Trade Campaign. GREEN's director, Roger Featherstone, previously served as director of the Mount Graham Coalition and grassroots coordinator of the Endangered Species Coalition.

A copy of the letter and signatories and more information about GREEN is available from Roger Featherstone at 202-789-2844 x290.



Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270