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Lay of the Land

Wind-power Politics | Roads to Nowhere | Consumer-product pollutants | Columbia River Swimmer | Pinstripes Against Pollution | UNESCO's Danger List | Bold Strokes | WWatch | Updates

Updates

SEASHORE IDEA WASHES OUT
The largely undeveloped Gaviota Coast, stretching 76 miles north from Santa Barbara, is chock-full of rare plants and animals, as well as some of California’s most important Native American archaeological sites. On that, both activists and the National Park Service can agree. But in April, the federal agency issued a report concluding that Gaviota was not national-seashore material, because of strong opposition from local landowners and "commitments of the U.S. President [and] Secretary of the Interior . . . to address other national financial priorities." Public comments on this draft feasibility study will be accepted through July 18. Visit www.nps.gov/pwro/gaviota for details. (See "The Sierra Club Bulletin," May/June 2002.)

DOLPHINS CATCH A BREAK
In April, a U.S. district court temporarily blocked the Bush administration’s effort to loosen labeling standards for "dolphin-safe" tuna. According to the judge, commerce secretary Don Evans acted "contrary to the best available scientific evidence" and was likely influenced by international trade considerations instead. The ruling, which assures consumers that tuna with the ecofriendly label was caught by methods that did not endanger dolphins, will stand until a suit filed by environmental groups goes to trial. (See "Lay of the Land," May/June.)

CONSERVATION INSECURITY
Last year, Congress passed a multibillion-dollar farm bill that was primarily a boon to corporate growers with poor environmental practices. This year, our elected representatives plundered one of the legislation’s few good elements: the Conservation Security Program, which would have rewarded landowners who conserve and improve plant and animal habitat, along with soil, water, and air quality.

Much of the program’s funding–a scant 4 percent of the overall ag budget–was diverted in April to reimburse farmers for drought-related crop losses. (See "Lay of the Land," September/October 2002, and "Lay of the Land," January/February 2002.)

For more environmental news, updated every weekday, visit www.sierraclub.org/currents.

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