Endangered species are threatened by House measure
On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act (HR 3824). Despite its title, the bill would gut the Endangered Species Act. The honu, silversword, and nene are a few of the many species that could lose ground if the bill passes.
» HR 3824 eliminates critical habitat protections. Experience in Hawaii and elsewhere has shown that one of the most effective ways to protect and recover endangered species is to protect the places where they live. Rather than eliminate protection for essential recovery habitat, Congress should require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to eliminate the listing and critical habitat backlog and provide the necessary funding to do so.
» HR 3824 undermines the scientific validity of recovery plans by stacking recovery teams with industry representatives and others who have a direct interest in the economic and social impacts of recovering endangered species.
» HR 3824 repeals all ESA provisions that protect endangered species from the harmful effects of pesticides. Pesticides are implicated in the decline of an array of species including sea turtles and Pacific salmon.
» HR 3824 ignores the importance of scientific modeling and creates a new set of hurdles scientists must surmount to list and recover endangered species.
» HR 3824 allows the administration to exempt categories of federal agency actions from the requirement to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service before actions are taken that could undermine the survival or recovery of endangered species.
» HR 3824 requires the federal government to use taxpayer dollars to pay developers and corporations for complying with the ESA's prohibition on killing or injuring listed species, and sets no limits on these payments. This provision would quickly drain funding needed to recover endangered species. We should not pay developers to follow the law.
» HR 3824 places endangered species at risk whenever the federal government fails to meet a 180-day deadline for telling developers whether their actions would harm or kill endangered species. If the government misses the deadline -- no matter what the reason -- developers are permanently exempted from the ESA.</blokquote>
As a member of the House Resources Committee, Rep. Neil Abercrombie voted for HR 3824 last week. We hope citizens will express their concerns about the bill and that he will reverse his position. We urge both Abercrombie and Rep. Ed Case to oppose the bill on Thursday.
Those who signed this letter are listed below.
President, Hawaii Wildlife Fund
Dr. Charles Burrows
President, Ahahui Malama I ka Lokahi
Hawaii field organizer, U.S. PIRG
Executive director, Life of the Land
Staff attorney, Earthjustice
Hawaii representative, National Wildlife Federation
Director, Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter
Dr. Steven Lee Montgomery
Treasurer, Hawaii Coalition of Conservation Voters
Executive director, Aquatics, Hawaii Audubon Society
Executive director, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance
Outreach coordinator, Pacific Fisheries Coalition
Sharon Sue White
President, Greenpeace Foundation
Executive director, Hawaii's Thousand Friends
Executive director, Conservation Council for Hawaii
Seen at http://starbulletin.com/2005/09/28/editorial/indexletters.html
Another sad story:
Push for city light at Kailua school fails
By Crystal Kua
About two dozen supporters seeking the installation of a flashing yellow caution light in front of St. John Vianney Parish School in Kailua were disheartened to hear the city won't be funding the project.
"We're very disappointed. We had hoped we would be able to get on the budget for one of the years following. What we were basically told was no," said Principal Jane Ann Quinn, who met with Transportation Services Director Ed Hirata yesterday.
Supporters said the light was promised under the previous city administration, but the project was cut from the most recent budget. They demanded to meet with Hirata last week, but he was out of state.
City officials said that they have to prioritize projects, and there are other areas with more pressing traffic safety needs.
"We are very much concerned about safety, but we have to look at it on an islandwide perspective," said city spokesman Mark Matsunaga.
Matsunaga said that city engineers have studied that stretch of Keolu Drive. A median curbing was installed as a traffic-calming device several years ago, and there are traffic signals on both ends of the block where the school is located.
"There are many other spots around Oahu that have nothing. We have to look at those first," he said.
In the meantime, Quinn said the school will continue looking for someone to replace the crossing guard who retired.
Brandais Jones, a mother of a first- and second-grader at the school, said she remains concerned about her daughters' safety when they walk to school. "It's not (a) safe walk on their own," Jones said.
"We will pray that our students will be safe when they cross," principal Quinn said.
Seen at http://starbulletin.com/2005/09/28/news/index.html
Then this pic:
"Roshni Prasad fed her daughter, Shiloh, 3, a sundae yesterday during an ice cream party sponsored by Meadow Gold and KSSK at Shriners Hospital for Children. Jonathan White won the ice cream party through a radio contest, but chose to donate the party to the hospital."
Seen at http://starbulletin.com/2005/09/28/news/index2.html
I guess some people do care about other people which is cool.