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A sneak attack on the environment

October 04, 2005

Re "U.S. House Votes to Revamp

Endangered Species Act," Sept. 30

The House's gutting of the Endangered Species Act signals an all-out assault on environmental laws. Soon, the House of Representatives is expected to try to rip key enforcement tools from the Marine Mammal Protection Act, a statute that has significantly reduced losses of dolphins, whales, manatees and other animals since the 1970s.

The revised Endangered Species Act was rammed through the House in 10 days. With members of both parties objecting to Marine Mammal Protection Act changes, House leaders now talk of rolling the language into the massive budget bill addressing the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, forcing lawmakers to vote against sound environmental policy in order to help hurricane victims!

Americans must demand that Congress deal with environmental matters in the full sunshine of public debate, not sneak them through under the smokescreen of other essential but unrelated legislation.

MICHAEL F. HIRSHFIELD

North American Vice President

Oceana, Washington

Oceana is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring and protecting the world's oceans.

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Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Tracy), an advocate for property rights who has been fighting the Endangered Species Act, titled his book "This Land Is Your Land."

This land is, in fact, not your land. We do not literally own land; we are merely granted permission from the community to use it exclusively, providing that we pay our taxes on it and do not cause extinctions by our activities on it.

Our first duty is to the land, not the land user.

KATHY HARTY

Arcadia

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