Jim Streeter of the National Wilderness Institute announced that NWI is releasing a major scientific study of the Endangered Species Act at a National Press Club press conference at the National Press Club. The study, which will appear this week in the internationally-respected peer-reviewed scientific journal Environment International, and which will be the second-largest study ever to appear in that publication, reviews the ESA's conservation impact with devastating conclusions. Among the study's six major conclusions: 1) No species has recovered primarily as a result of the ESA, and 2) in only two instances can reclassification of a species from endangered to threatened be attributed to successful management actions and in both of these cases the actions could have been taken without the Act. Streeter, a co-author of the study, commented on what the study shows: "The ESA is not effective as a conservation measure. In many cases, its detrimental to conservation." The study is reader-friendly, with lots of charts. Contact Jim Streeter at 703/836-7404.
Tommy Smith of the Nuclear Energy Institute reported on a pending problem that would adversely affect the environment, taxpayers and electricity ratepayers: the Clinton Administration's opposition, led by Vice President Gore, to fulfilling the federal government's legal obligations regarding used nuclear fuel. The issue: In 1982 Congress passed a law saying that the federal government would accept for storage used nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants beginning in 1998. The program was be paid for through a tax on consumers' electric bills, which by now has raised $13 billion. Because the Administration has declined to follow this law, largely because of Gore's ideological opposition to nuclear power, Congress is expected to approve HR 1270, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, to set the terms for Administration compliance. However, the President is expected to veto the bill, again because of pressure from Gore. Taxpayers should care greatly about this, said Smith, because if Clinton and Gore succeed, nuclear waste will be stockpiled in 81 locations around the U.S., instead of one (a Nevada site where nuclear testing has taken place) and because the government would then incur a liability that could reach $56 billion to be paid for by taxpayers and consumers of electricity. Smith distributed handouts summarizing the issue and the legislation and a fact sheet on nuclear energy's benefits to the environment. Contact Tommy Smith at 202/739-8017 or [email protected] (http://www.nei.org).
Dr. Bonner Cohen of EPA Watch updated participants on Democratic opposition to the EPA's new clean air regulations, saying that 86 Democratic Congressmen have signed a letter opposing the new standards, and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) has requested a meeting with the president (for the first time) to discuss the issue. Including Democrats, 228 Members of Congress have now signed a letter opposing the new regulations. Cohen also reported that EPA Administrator Carol Browner conceded in a recent Congressional hearing that the EPA's new regulations would require local governments to impose lifestyle choices (such as bar-b-que, driving and fireplace limitations) on local residents. "The longer this goes on the worse EPA looks," said Cohen, who nonetheless believes that "the resistance to this among Republicans and Democrats must reach a much higher level for the White House to back down." Contact Bonner Cohen at 202/739-0179.
Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute revealed that the Department of Energy has completed a study showing that the United Nations' Climate Change Treaty, which the Clinton Administration supports, not only would undermine America's global competitiveness (which the Clinton Administration denies) but would "devastate" six major American industries: petroleum refining, chemicals, paper products, iron & steel, aluminium and cement. Contact Marlo Lewis at 202/331-1010 or [email protected] (http://www.cei.org).
Jeff Goodson of Property Development International showed a new 9-minute video examining the ways property rights are impeded by major government programs. Contact Jeff Goodson at 301/929-8938.
Jim Sheehan and Brian Seascholes of the Competitive Enterprise Institute commented upon new CEI reports. Sheehan described "The Yellowstone Affair: Environmental Protection, International Treaties and National Sovereignty" by Cornell Professor Jeremy Rabkin and Seacholes discussed a new report by CEI's Jonathan Tolman on wetlands: "Swamped: How America Achieved 'No Net Loss'." Contact Jim Sheehan and Brian Seacholes at 202/331-1010.
David Ridenour of The National Center for Public Policy Research
reported on the Fly-In for Freedom, a gathering of hundreds of
property rights and wise use activists that will take place in
Washington June 7-11. Contact David Ridenour at (202) 507-6398 or
[email protected] or
visit the Alliance for America home page at http://home.navisoft.com/alliance/afaweb/afahome.htm.
Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), a former U.S. Attorney, discussed his advocacy of a limited preliminary inquiry into an impeachment of the president and vice president. Barr discussed legal precedents for such an inquiry based upon legal work done by Hillary Clinton when she served as a counsel to the Watergate investigation and distributed several items: 1) his letter, reprinted in the April 25 Wall Street Journal, to Mrs. Clinton about how her work 23 years ago provides a roadmap for future impeachment inquiries; 2) his letter to the Judiciary Committee Chairman calling for a preliminary inquiry; 3) his letter to Ken Starr reminding Starr that the law requires him to inform the House Judiciary Committee of anything he finds that may constitute grounds for impeachment; 4) his letterto President Clinton calling upon the president to comply with House subpoenas; 5) a collection of editorials and a press release. Contact Rep. Barr at 202/225-2931 or [email protected]. Two of Barr's letters can also be found at http://www.nationalcenter.org under Hot Topics.
Rep. Mark Neumann (R-WI) and Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) debated
the federal budget agreement.
Neumann, supporting it, distributed handouts and said that that the agreement 1) balances the budget by 2002, 2) restores Medicare for another decade, 3) allows families to keep more of their own money, 4) includes a plan to pay off the $5.3 trillion national debt, and 5) includes a plan to put money back in the Social Security Trust Fund. "I think, all in all, its a pretty fair plan," said Neumann.
Istook, opposing it, said that under the plan "we don't get serious about balancing the budget until after the election in the year 2000." He said that the problem lies not with the economic assumptions of the plan but the political assumptions: "If we want a balanced budget, why do we take a three-year nap before working on it... How can we expect people after the election of 2000 to give up increases in spending when they are not willing to do so now?"
Contact Rep. Neumann at 202/225-3031 and Rep. Istook at 202/225-2132. *