People for the West -Tucson Newsletter- Information and commentary on the environment, property rights, and multiple use of federal lands.

Volume 9, No. 10, October 2003

Our Constitution is the contract with America

People for the West - Tucson

PO Box 86868

Tucson, AZ 85754-6868

Pima Pols vs. The People

by Jonathan DuHamel

Some Pima County politicians need an attitude adjustment. Between pampering pygmy-owls, proposing tunnels for toads, protecting peaks, and pandering to GangGreen, these politicians seem very anti-human. They seem to forget that they are public servants, hired to serve people, not pygmy-owls. Just consider some recent events and policies and see if you agree.

For the last several years it has been Pima Policy to pamper pygmy-owls by requiring property owners to set aside up to 80% of their land when building a house. Protection of the pygmy-owl was touted as a major reason to devise a habitat conservation plan, the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. But now that the owl may be removed from the Endangered Species list, county officials see no reason to change their grand scheme. They cite many other critters deserving protection, but the pols seem less enthusiastic in protecting property rights of citizens.

Pima County is fretting that too many toads are becoming road kill; so, in one of their more ridiculous schemes, even for them, they propose to spend $625,000 of our tax money to build tiny tunnels for toads under east Speedway Boulevard. They refuse, however, to build a bridge for people across the flood-prone CaÁada del Oro wash, an area recently made more dangerous because burned forests have increased runoff.

Recently a gasoline transmission line ruptured, filling a wash with raw gasoline and dousing several houses. The pipeline company wants to replace the aging line along the existing right-of-way, a portion of which runs along Tumamoc Hill, a botanical research area of the University of Arizona. The UofA and Pima County officials opposed using the existing right-of-way because construction would disturb the grass and weeds that have grown up since the pipeline was first constructed. Instead, the county wanted to relocate the new line closer to residential areas and schools. They even got the Indians to try the “sacred mountain” gambit in that campaign. Fortunately, the Tucson City Council, which has jurisdiction in this case, had more sense and told the pipeline company to use the existing right-of-way.

Pima County is concerned about our “viewshed.” They want to restrict home construction on peaks and ridges, lest they disturb the harmony of mountain vistas. Property owners are not thrilled. In a marathon county supervisor’s meeting, the county backed off the most stringent restrictions proposed by GangGreen after hearing from dozens of irate property owners (and maybe counting votes). The Supes recommended a slightly less restrictive ordinance which they and the Arizona Daily Star called “middle ground.”

The folks over at the Wildlands Project held a press conference announcing their new “Room to Roam” program (see to read all about it). County employee Julia Fonseca was on hand to explain how the county’s Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan (SDCP) fits right into this scheme to push people off the land. “Room to Roam” is not actually new, it’s just a repackaging of the Wildlands Project goals.

By any name, the Wildlands Project is very anti-human. It will have detrimental effects on property rights, businesses, jobs, and our freedom. It is really a religious quest that ignores evolution and attempts to regain an imagined Eden that never was. Pima County has embraced this anti-human religion. Among the many papers written by the county concerning SDCP is a tome on “environmental justice.” County Administrator Huckelberry writes, “The Environmental Justice study is one of the most profoundly important research documents in the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan series....SDCP is in harmony with all of the applicable concepts [of environmental justice].” Note that the first principle of EJ states, “Environmental justice affirms the sacredness of Mother Earth...” It seems Pima County has an official religion.

Radical environmentalism is a rather Puritanical movement which frowns on human "interference" with nature. But humans are as much a part of nature as anything else, and this is our time, in the geologic sense; we are the keystone species. This eco-religion is impractical, because we cannot return to the past. Nature evolves; apparently greens don’t see that. The Wildlands Project, and each of its pieces, such as the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, do not enhance nature, but rather interrupt and stifle evolution by imposing Soviet-style government control to gain what

people would not do of their own accord.

One of the biggest problems with environmentalism, as it is practiced, today is that radical Greens suffer from moral relativism. They lack a sense of value. They think that human values are equivalent to, and no better than, some intrinsic "value" in all things: a bug is just as important as a human. Tell that to Truly Nolan. But "values" are a human invention based on reason and moral principles. Wild nature is a place where you have to kill for your dinner every day. Wild nature is amoral; it’s eat and be eaten.

A patient at county-run Kino hospital was killed due to incompetent management and staffing. The death was ruled a homicide. The county will be sued, and we taxpayers will have to pay for their mismanagement.

Pima County recently received more revenue than expected and will increase county spending rather than decrease property tax rates which are the highest in the state.

Do you see a pattern in these stories? Are our Pima County officials serving us, or some mystical, pseudo-religion, and themselves? Yes, some Pima Pols need an attitude adjustment, or an adjustment in their employment status. '

Participate in Federal Land Use Planning

by Cindy Coping

How is federal land use planned, and why should vested stakeholders participate? Why does planning take so long?

The planning process for Ironwood Forest National Monument (IFNM), being controlled by National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), will somewhat mirror the planning process for Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. Anyone interested should participate early and often. If all else fails, written comments enable legal recourse in case of personal harm. Silence implies consent. BLM will soon send out an IFNM planning bulletin. To get on the mailing list, e-mail or call 520-258-7200.

IFNM planning progressed through its first public comment period a year ago. That “scoping” process sought issues, impacts and methods for evaluation. Scoping continues throughout planning, so anyone can raise new issues at any time in the process.

Initial comments are still under review and analysis. Each comment will be considered and filed in the “Administrative Record” which by law forms the basis of IFNM planning decisions.

BLM will draft four or five alternatives to manage each land use. The required “No Action” alternative is the existing Phoenix Resource Management Plan (RMP), plus restrictions imposed by the Proclamation and BLM’s Interim Management Guidelines.

BLM will hold abundant public meetings so all interested may collaborate on alternatives. BLM will screen alternatives internally for legal compliance, public support, monitorability and feasibility; evaluate each impact; gather data and compare the surviving alternatives.

BLM will use no official advisory board for IFNM, preferring to maximize public participation. The Resource Advisory Committee (RAC), however, significantly influences BLM decisions. BLM will decide the “preferred alternative” to include in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and will be solely accountable.

Next, BLM will send the Draft EIS to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who will grade its quality. A low grade can trigger White House review. EPA then publishes the Draft EIS in the Federal Register.

NEPA requires public outreach and a minimum 90 day public comment period on the Draft EIS. “Environmental justice” rules could require translated oral delivery for illiterate non-English speakers, and videos for the deaf.

BLM must respond to every substantive comment submitted. New significant information can trigger a Supplemental Draft EIS.

Following comment review, BLM may modify the preferred alternative. BLM will convert the Draft Plan into a Proposed Plan. The Proposed Plan must meet

stated goals and objectives, policy objectives of NEPA and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), and be compatible with other governmental

jurisdictions. Next, the Arizona Congressional delegation will be briefed.

A final EIS will be sent, with the Proposed Plan, to relevant federal agencies and all other interested parties for review. The Governor of Arizona will be allowed 60 days to review and 30 more to protest.

EPA will publish a Public Notice of Proposed Plan and Final EIS in the Federal Register. Anyone may protest for 30 days following the Federal Register Notice. However, the protester must have raised the specific issues earlier. The BLM points with pride to the Empire/Cienega National Conservation Area Plan, which received only one protest.

BLM will produce a Record of Decision explaining the final plan, alternatives and factors considered. The Approved Plan may incorporate protest resolutions.

Finally, the BLM will publicize the Approved Plan through a press release. The Approved Plan, no longer open to protest, will replace the existing RMP. Specific implementation actions may require further planning and NEPA review.

The NEPA process provides infinite opportunities to protect our rights and privileges, but only if we participate. Otherwise NEPA could allow a few to take control of vital raw material resources while others pay.

Source: Cindy spent four days attending BLM’s “Nuts and Bolts of Planning” course. In addition to the article above, Cindy provided a note from Tony Herrell, the IFNM General Manager, which follows:

The article accurately reflects the material the instructors presented in the class; however the material they presented did not really touch on how to develop a collaborative plan.

I want to achieve the greater objective to have a plan that is not only legally defensible, but one that the community supports. The only way I know how to do this is by building strong relationships--where I can bring the community together in a forum where issues can be discussed--agree or disagree--in a respectful manner so as to promote rational thought processes.

Many times groups or individuals have positions they would like to have implemented, but I'm always amazed at how these positions shift with time when people sit down together and work through the information: the best available information, both scientific and qualitative.

I may seem idealistic in my point of view, but in my career I have always been amazed at how much trust I can place in people to do the right thing. Sometimes it just takes a little time to figure out what the right thing is. I believe everyone has ideals we must strive for, but in the end we must base our decisions upon the physical on-the-ground realities that at least everyone understands and can live with. We must do this by looking in the same direction--together. '


Church, state and nature's cathedrals

by Cathy Young

Being pro-environment, kind of like being pro-family, is a good way to score political points. Who can possibly be against environmental protection? Everyone wants to breathe clean air and drink clean water, and few of us would like to see every acre of wilderness paved over to make way for shopping malls and condominiums. The Republicans are perpetually vulnerable to charges of being anti-environment when they propose, for instance, to open a part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas drilling.

But is some environmentalism a radical ideology or even a form of religious fundamentalism in moderate clothing? This is a charge made by writer and journalist Robert Bidinotto on his new website with the provocative title and the equally provocative slogan "Individualism—not environmentalism." Explains Bidinotto, "Most people think of themselves as 'environmentalists.' But by that term, they mean something far different—and far more innocent—than do the most prominent philosophers, founders, and leaders of the modern environmentalist movement."

What those environmentalists want, he asserts, is not just an environment beneficial to humans but an environment untouched by humans, whose activity is seen as destructive to "wildness." He quotes an eyebrow-raising comment from John Muir, co-founder of the Sierra Club: "I have precious little sympathy for the selfish propriety of civilized man, and if a war of races should occur between the wild beasts and Lord Man, I would be tempted to sympathize with the bears." Some modern environmentalists have gone even further, calling humanity a "cancer" on the earth.

Bidinotto argues that much environmentalism is based on a fantasy of an idyllic and unspoiled Garden of Eden, and in that he certainly has a point. Take two recent pieces by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof (which Bidinotto dissects on his site) addressing the issue of exploratory oil drilling in Alaska and recounting his trip to the refuge. Kristof writes that, in his view, the danger drilling would pose to wildlife has been exaggerated by environmentalists; he also points out that it would benefit the local Eskimo population. Yet ultimately, he comes down on the anti-drilling side, arguing that development would damage "the land itself and the sense of wilderness"—the sense of "a rare place where humans feel not like landlords or even tenants, but simply guests."

The refuge, in other words, is something like a living temple, which is not to be desecrated.

Some environmental writings have explicit religious overtones. A popular idea among environmentalists is writer James Lovelock's "Gaia hypothesis"—the idea that the Earth is a living entity with a super-consciousness of its own, of which we are all a part. (Gaia was, of course, the ancient Greek goddess of the Earth.) Native American religions with their nature worship are popular as well. Some people who turn away from traditional religion and then embark on a spiritual quest in a need to fill the void say that they find that spirituality in environmental activism.

Environmentalist philosophy has a religious dimension other than the fantasy of the Garden of Eden. Its anti-consumerist animus reflects, to some extent, the puritanical notion that material pleasures and comforts are wicked and corrupting, and self-denial is ennobling for the soul.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with religiously or spiritually based beliefs. But perhaps some forms of environmental philosophy and activism should raise questions about introducing religion into public policy—or public schools, where environmental education programs often have elements of Earth worship and moralist condemnation of consumerist sins.

In his individualist manifesto, Bidinotto unabashedly asserts that nature should be seen as having no intrinsic value other than its benefit to humans, because "value" is itself a human concept rooted in rational and moral principles. This idea is not quite as radical or as anti-environment as it seems: His concept of "value" certainly includes a clean and healthy habitat, as well as human enjoyment of wilderness. Indeed, in that sense, he and Kristof may not be as far apart as he thinks: Kristof wants to preserve the coastal plain of Alaska as an American heritage. (He also admits, however, that the part of the land where the drilling is proposed is not particularly scenic and is valuable mainly for its untouched state.)

The preservation of our natural heritage is undoubtedly a worthy goal. But when seen from the perspective of human benefit, it is one of many competing values that must be balanced—including the need to alleviate our dependence of foreign oil. To treat wilderness as something mystical and sacramental short-circuits the debate as surely as an appeal to biblical principles.

Cathy Young is a Reason Magazine contributing editor. This column appeared in the Boston Globe on September 22, 2003. '

Not So Pristine Rain Forest:

Amazon was settled before Columbus' time

Excavations and maps confirm forest housed advanced society.

by Betsy Mason

The Amazon was densely populated before Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World, confirms new evidence unearthed in Brazil. The finds lay to rest the notion that the region was pristine forest when the explorer landed in 1492.

Support had been growing among archaeologists for the idea that parts of pre-Columbian Amazonia had sophisticated settlements, but hard evidence was lacking.

Now Michael Heckenberger, of the University of Florida in Gainesville, and his colleagues have excavated and mapped 19 villages, roads, trenches, bridges, agriculture, open parklands and working forests in the Upper Xingu region of central Brazil. "The folks who lived there were clearly not simple," says Heckenberger.

The area's indigenous people are still around today, but in much smaller numbers - one reason for the misconceptions about their past. "Cultural anthropologists were extrapolating backwards," explains archaeologist Jim Petersen of the University of Vermont in Burlington. "Heckenberger's work helps us understand, virtually for the first time, that there was a higher degree of cultural complexity than today."

The team mapped the area using global-positioning technology. They found a regular pattern of villages with large central plazas linked by 20-meter-wide, curbed roads that line up precisely with the movement of the Sun.

This implies a complex society capable of advanced engineering. Some of the villages could have housed up to 5,000 people, Heckenberger estimates. The roads divided the region into a patchwork of cultivated land, fallow fields, open spaces and managed forest. Satellite images of the area bear the lasting stamp of this land use.

Although there was probably some untouched forest in the region, Heckenberger reckons that most was managed by the inhabitants and kept for cultural and symbolic, rather than economic, reasons. "It was probably very important to them just as Central Park is important to New Yorkers," he says. [from Nature News Service] '

Mahogany, Peru & Poverty:

NRDC's Eco-Lies Continue

by Alan Caruba

According to the website of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Tahuamanu Rainforest of Peru is a tropical paradise that "until recently, has seen no human impacts beyond those of traditional, sustainable communities." That is, according to the NRDC, until the Newman Lumber Company of Gulfport, Mississippi, arrived for the sole purpose of destroying "old-growth forests", its wildlife, and "robbing locals of their traditional livelihoods."

However, in 2000, if you had asked Santiago Solls, the mayor of Inapari, Peru, he would have told you that, "Since the government annulled our logging contracts, we're not living, we're barely surviving." Inapari is a remote village in the Peruvian area, Madre de Dios, a heavy jungle border with Brazil and Bolivia. If you asked Rosa Hidalgo, a lawyer representing Newman's partner, Industrial Maderera Tahuamanu, she would have asked, "How can the government say the forest wasn't authorized for logging when we have a contract issued by them?" Good question.

It turns out that the complaint lodged against Newman and its partner came from its key competitor in the mahogany business and one whose president, some three years ago, was the brother of the director of the Peruvian National Institute for Natural Resources (Inrena). This issue is not about protecting natural resources, but rather who gets to cut down those trees in Madre de Dios. The claim that the rainforests of South America are all disappearing has long since been disproved. In neighboring Brazil, less than five percent of its enormous Amazon rainforests were cut and that was undertaken for agricultural expansion. I keep reminding everyone, people have to eat and live somewhere, even in Peru and Brazil.

NRDC this is not some modest, little group of Green holy rollers. It is an organization that, in 1998, had assets of $55,071,547. Unlike Newman Lumber, it's tax exempt. If you like ironies, the NRDC was founded in 1970 with money generated by the auto industry, a $400,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. It is perhaps best known for being the source of an enormous and costly apple industry hoax about Alar. The NRDC has designated the Peruvian rainforest a "BioGem" and with the help of "BioGem Defenders", it floods companies like Newman with thousands of emails protesting their trade in mahogany. Perhaps you might

want to protest NRDC by emailing

The NRDC is, however, just one of a huge network of international and national environmental organizations dedicated to shutting down the timber industry no matter where it harvests trees. They go by names like Sustainable Northwest, EcoTrust, the Forests Forever Campaign, the Forest Stewardship Council, Global Green USA, the Rainforest Alliance, Friends of the Earth, Worldwide Fund for Nature, and Greenpeace, to name just a few.

If they succeed, the cost of everything made from wood will increase, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, and more catastrophic forest fires will be guaranteed. This isn't about forests, it's about inducing as much poverty worldwide as possible.

Founded in 1947, Newman Lumber is a respected member of the timber import industry. The company has about fifty employees and indirectly provides employment to thousands in South American nations through its suppliers. In October 2002, its president, Roy Newman, wrote to the NRDC, demanding that they stop lying about the company on its Internet site. They were and still are accused of clear-cutting, threatening the environment, and the lives of indigenous peoples. A NRDC law firm replied, denying that it was lying, but wanted to "discuss" Newman's "concerns." Whether this becomes a lawsuit or not is as yet undecided. It's a burden to a company like Newman to go up against a multi-million-dollar group of lawyers like the NRDC.

That, however, is the purpose of all such environmental groups working to shut down the timber industry in North and South America, and elsewhere around the world. If they can create enough burdensome obstacles, they win. And you lose.

This effort has been going on a very long time. Does it surprise anyone anymore that the United Nation's environmental program is the coordinating entity behind all this? Since 1995, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Forests has been meeting for the alleged purpose of curbing "over-logging." Between 1995 and 1997, it held ten meetings on five continents! Its purpose was to declare ten percent of the world's forests "protected" against logging by 2000.

In 2001, international environmental groups came together in Belem, Brazil, to create the Forest Certification Council (FSC) as a private, Mexico-based

group, intended to establish new restrictions on logging. The FSC is the brainchild of the World Wide Fund for Nature. If it were to become an international

clearinghouse for standards affecting the timber industry, it would be an eco-dictatorship and just one more stealthy effort to impose the Green agenda on the


Environmental groups like the NRDC have a long history of being less than candid regarding their deeply felt concerns. Wringing donations out of the unwitting is one reason for this. That's why their website is filled with photos of cute, fuzzy wildlife and beautiful vistas.

The other reason is the core purpose of the environmental movement to attack all forms of free enterprise and undermine the economies of rich nations and poor. Just ask the villagers of Inapari, Peru. If there are any left.

Alan Caruba is the author of "Warning Signs", published by Merril Press. His commentaries are posted on, the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. '

Environmental Scientists Must Stop Crying Wolf

by Iain Murray

There is a crisis emerging in the scientific community. The ideals of science are being sacrificed to the god of political expediency. Environmental scientists are becoming so obsessed with the righteousness of their cause that they are damning those who wish to use science as an objective tool in public policy decisions. The latest example comes in a Science article (False Alarm over Environmental False Alarms, S.W. Pacala et al, Science, Vol. 301, No. 5637) that advocates nothing less than promoting alarmism over environmental hazards, on the basis that the end justifies the means. The article uses economic analysis to argue that the benefits of environmental alarmism outweigh the costs. Yet, as well as endorsing the political reasoning of Niccolo Machiavelli, this paper offends against the ethics of science itself.

The argument goes like this. Our society balances risks and benefits. In the area of the environment, these decisions are informed by environmental science. Many possible disasters have a very low risk of occurrence, which means that many warnings from scientists will turn out to be unfounded. When this happens, skeptics such as Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, will argue that we should ignore similar warnings in future. The authors contend that this would be a mistake. The potential benefits of averting disaster are so great that scientists should continue to issue what they know may be false alarms.

We have heard this argument before. Stephen Schneider of Stanford University, who provided "helpful comments" on a draft of the paper, told Discover magazine in 1989 that "to capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest." The latest study is essentially that statement dressed up in fancy economic terms.

Despite its academic pretensions, it is still unprincipled nonsense. It is nonsense because it exaggerates the benefits and underestimates the risks of alarmism. The authors argue that each life saved is worth $3m-$6m, suggesting massive benefits for environmental programs that have saved lives, such as those that deal with air pollution. Yet those values of life pertain to whole lives, not to the average of about eight months by which life has been extended for those benefitting from pollution controls.

In contrast, the authors assert that needless environmental programs have "highly uncertain marginal costs". This ignores the opportunity costs of spending on needless programs, and the fact that alarmism could delay access to technologies that make life-and labor-saving products and procedures widely available.

The argument is unprincipled because it ignores the basic idea that there are certain things that we do not do in public discourse. The public does not take kindly to being misled, even with the best of intentions.

Yet the argument is even more offensive to science than it is to democratic principle. For science is founded on an objective search for truth. As Richard Lindzen of Massachusetts Institute of Technology has said: "Science is a tool of some value. It provides our only way of separating what is true from what is asserted. If we abuse that tool, it will not be available when it is needed." The tale about the boy who cried wolf is of particular relevance to scientists. Without objective truth, science and scientists have little value to society.

Why, then, is the scientific community so intent on going down this self-destructive path? We should remember Thomas Kuhn, the philosopher of science, and his characterization of the ruling paradigm, which scientists are almost required to subscribe to and defend. Sadly, environmental alarmism has become such a paradigm, with consequences similar to those described by the great thinker C.S. Lewis in his dystopian novel That Hideous Strength. A good young scientist goes to work for a research institute that requires him to lie to gain more powers for the institute. He ends up seduced by "that intimate laughter between fellow professionals, which of all earthly powers is strongest to make men do very bad things before they are yet, individually, very bad men."

Scientists who argue for alarmism, on the whole, are not very bad men but the course of action they propose is very bad indeed - for science, for scientists and for society as a whole.

This article was published in the Financial Times September 17, 2003. Iain Murray is Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. '


Audubon Hypocrisy:

Once again, another environmental activist group, the Audubon Society, is showing its true colors. Its website touts that "special interests support opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for drilling" without telling their donors that on two of their own bird sanctuaries wells have been producing oil and gas for years.

The sky is not falling:

The U.S. EPA has released its annual air trends report and new acid rain data, both of which, the Agency says show steady and significant air quality improvement. EPA pointed out that this environmental progress comes even as the country has experienced a 164 percent increase in gross domestic product, a 42 percent increase in energy consumption and a 155 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled.

The sky is falling:

We are facing environmental assaults from the Bush Administration and the Congress unlike anything we have witnessed. The Sierra Club Board of Directors and the Conservation Governance Committee have resolved that our efforts to stop these attacks, and then to defeat George Bush in 2004, should be our our highest organizational priorities. [Sierra Club news release]

Sierra Club Gets More Radical:

The Sierra Club is one of the nation's most powerful environmental groups. Its campaigns against livestock agriculture, modern crop farming, and even vineyards have been devastating to farmers across America. While the Sierra Club uses aggressive tactics, its activities aren't against the law.

But in April, the Sierra Club elected "Captain" Paul Watson -- one of the fathers of environmental terrorism -- to its Board of Directors. Watson's methods of environmental and animal-rights activism include ramming fishing boats and firing shotguns at fisherman in a way that is "not defensive." And he has hatched a plan to wrest control of the Sierra Club. At the Animal Rights 2003 conference in Los Angeles, Watson explained his strategy:

“One of the reasons that I'm on the Sierra Club board of directors right now is to try and change it ... we're only three directors away from controlling that board. We control one-third of it right now. And once we get three more directors elected, the Sierra Club will not, no longer be pro-hunting and pro-trapping and we can use the resources of the $95-million-a-year budget to address some of these issues. And the heartening thing about it is that, in the last election, of the 750,000 members of the Sierra Club, only 8 percent of them voted. So, you know, a few hundred, or a few thousand people from the animal rights movement joining the Sierra Club -- and making it a point to vote -- will change the entire agenda of that organization.” Watson also said that he "owed no allegiance to humanity." Malaria Coming Back:

Malaria, the ancient mosquito-borne disease that was rolled back by medical advances in the mid-20th century, is making a deadly comeback.

Strains of the disease are becoming increasingly resistant to treatment, infecting and killing more people than ever before -- sickening as many as 900 million last year, according to estimates by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Only AIDS kills more people worldwide. Among children, malaria kills even more than AIDS. [AP] Yet, DDT, the most effective preventative is banned in major countries thanks to environmentalists.

Roadless Ruling:

The federal government will not appeal a court ruling that struck down a Clinton-era ban on building roads in a third of the country's national forests, Wyoming Attorney General Pat Crank said.

The roadless rule, issued in the final days of the Clinton administration, limits timber harvesting and other development on 58 million acres of remote forest land controlled by the Forest Service.

The ruling would open the land to oil, gas and mineral exploration. He issued a decision in July concluding the rule illegally created wilderness areas and should be overturned. [Cheyenne Tribune]

Nothing Special:

A study by two Harvard researchers quietly published last January in a small research journal has set off a political storm that has led to debate on the senate floor and internal wrangling at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The study, co-authored by two scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, concluded that the 20th century has been neither the warmest century of the past millennium nor the one with the most extreme weather. [Irene Sanchez, Harvard Crimson]

A Burning Issue:

Environmental activists unveiled a plan to ban commonly accepted fire suppression tactics, placing people’s lives and homes in jeopardy. On May 5, the Western Environmental Law Center, representing a left-wing environmental group called the Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, filed a notice of intent to sue the federal government under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) 1) to stop the use of aerially applied chemical fire retardants and 2) to halt the use of bulldozers to create firebreaks in our national forests. [Pacific Legal Foundation]

Friendly Fire:

The Pentagon is spending millions of dollars to develop "environmentally friendly" lead-free bullets for all of the US Armed Forces. They will still kill you, the thinking seems to be, but the environment will not suffer so much.

The Pentagon is paying Minnesota-based Alliant, the world's largest ammunition maker, $5m to develop lead-free combat bullets. This year, the company won a $25m contract from the US Air Force for copper polymer bullets that will not ricochet if fired in an urban area. []

Banning Tourism:

Remember how greens said we should ban extractive industries and switch to tourism? Now this: DURBAN, South Africa - A boom in world tourism is posing a huge threat to some of the planet's most sensitive ecosystems, according to a study released last week. [Reuters]'


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