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No Friend of Fauna, Fundamentalist Dannemeyer Should Remember Noah

March 08, 1992

Re Dannemeyer at the gnatcatcher hearing ("Debate on Gnatcatcher Flares Anew at Hearing," Feb. 26): God help us! Rep. William Dannemeyer believes that living things other than humans are dispensable, that in Genesis God gave man license to murder, at will, species such as the endangered California gnatcatcher.

I was present at the gnatcatcher hearing sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when the contentious congressman testified. When opening the hearing, an agency official outlined the rules. He reminded participants that the Endangered Species Act of 1973 limits relevant testimony to biological data.

About 40 minutes into the hearing, Dannemeyer showed up and immediately was given preferential treatment. The congressman preempted others who had arrived earlier, the Fish and Wildlife official abiding by, I suppose, a code of political protocol that says that an elected official is more important than the ordinary citizen.

Then Dannemeyer spoke well beyond his five minutes. In a long-winded speech, he ridiculed both agency and law, charging that the Endangered Species Act repeals Christian doctrine as outlined in the Book of Genesis. God places man above "critters," stormed the congressman, and if man thinks a "critter" is dispensable, well, that's too bad.

An equally contentious Dannemeyer supporter rose out of turn, shouting, "You're all a bunch of environmental wackos!"

What I want to know is this: When the federal agency charged on the public's behalf with endangered species protection gives Dannemeyer preferential treatment, does that mean it thinks Dannemeyer has something more valuable to say than the average law-abiding environmentalist who follows the rules and defends endangered species with sound scientific information?

Who, here, is the wacko?

SHAREN HEATH, Laguna Beach

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