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Polis Report

Land Attack

By Elizabeth Pepin

As Americans went back to work and school after the Labor Day break, most left the nation's public beaches and parklands behind them.

But Congress won't. Although the 104th Congress' gives lip service to green issues, the nation's public lands and the environment continue to be a target for budget cuts. According to "Stewardship Under Siege: The Coming Attack On Our Public Lands," Congress is pursuing at least 18 public land attacks. The report, by Robert Dewey and Mary Munson of the Washington, D.C., group Defenders of Wildlife, details legislative proposals endangering natural areas in all 50 states.

Dewey and Munson warn that the nation faces a "September Surprise" of proposals weakening protection for the entire National Wildlife Refuge System and setting dangerous precedents for the National Park System and the National Wildlife Preservation System. From national seashores on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to Boundary Waters wilderness lakes in Minnesota, and Colorado riverbeds that provide wildlife habitat, the proposals would take away resources belonging to all Americans for the benefit of big corporations and other local interests.

Said Defender's President Rodger Schlickeisen: "Although the public may think that Congress is turning green before the elections, we're seeing red for danger ahead. At least as far as public lands issues are concerned, the 104th Congress continues to be the most anti-environmental Congress in history."

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From the September 12-18, 1996 issue of Metro

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