Activities at the February 13 Environmental Policy Task Force meeting chaired by David Ridenour of The National Center for Public Policy Research (202/543-4110 or [email protected]).
Bonner Cohen of EPA Watch alerted participants to plans by the Environmental Protection Agency to stop Americans from driving Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs). The EPA wants to do this in order to comply with the unratified Kyoto Global Warming Treaty, Cohen said, but in order to avoid blaming something unpopular on a treaty for which they will presumably seek ratification the EPA is claiming instead that it is motivated by safety concerns. On a related note, Cohen noted that the President is trying to end-run the Senate's constitutional authority to approve treaties by including in his proposed FY98 budget funds to implement the unratified Kyoto Global Warming Treaty. Contact Bonner Cohen at 202/739-0179.
Brian Seascholes of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and David Ridenour of The National Center for Public Policy Research discussed Senator Dirk Kempthorne's S. 1180, the Endangered Species Recovery Act. Seacholes said Senator Kempthorne has been distributing "unbelievable disinformation -- I will call them lies" about the content of the legislation. Seacholes reported "disturbing rumors" that if the Senate approves the bill the House might "hold it's nose and support it." Ridenour complimented Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) for his vocal opposition to approving the bill without the addition of property rights protections. He also pointed out that supporters of the bill ran a full-page ad in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call listing over 200 organizations and companies as backers of S. 1180. The problem is, Ridenour said, that a number of the organizations listed do not support the bill. Ridenour distributed two National Center National Policy Analysis papers, numbers 184 and 185, describing problems with the bill, and Talking Points on the same subject. The materials describe the bill, saying it "would reauthorize the Endangered Species Act for another six years but fail to address underlying flaws in the law that make it both ineffective in species recovery and an unbearable burden on many small property owners." Contact Brian Seacholes at 202/331-1010 (www.cei.org) and David Ridenour at 202/543-4110 (www.nationalcenter.org). The National Policy Analysis papers can be accessed at www.nationalcenter.org/NPA184 and www.nationalcenter.org/NPA185 and the Talking Points at www.nationalcenter.org/TP37.
John Rishel of the House Resources Committee distributed the League of Conservation Voters' voter guide. Among the LCV's listed "environmental" votes for which they grade Members of Congress as, in their opinion, either pro or anti-environment, are two abortion votes (pro-abortion votes are ranked as pro-environment). Another supposedly pro-environmental vote is one increasing the authority of the United Nations. The LCV gives campaign money to candidates, about 95% of whom are Democrats. Contact John Rishel at 202/226-7388.
Brian Seascholes of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Doug Farry of the National Association of Homebuilders discussed Senate action on a counterpart to H.R. 1354, Rep. Elton Gallegley's private property bill, already approved by the House. The bill expedites property owners' access to the courts for more speedy resolutions of takings claims. The Senate bill, S. 1204, is sponsored by Senators Paul Coverdell (R-GA) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and has 32 co-sponsors (including 5 Democrats). Senator Lott says he strongly supports it and wants a vote before the April recess, assuming the bill is approved by the Judiciary Committee. Contact Brian Seacholes at 202/331-1010 (www.cei.org) or Doug Farry at 202/822-0259.
David Ridenour distributed National Center National Policy Analysis #177, "The Myth of Scientific Consensus on Global Warming." Contact David Ridenour at 202/543-4110 or go to www.nationalcenter.org/NPA177.html.
Brian Seascholes of the Competitive Enterprise Institute provided an update on the American Heritage Rivers Act, which, thanks to the Mountain States Legal Foundation, is presently undergoing a court challenge. Seacholes referred participants to briefing materials he has prepared on the issue, available at www.libertymatters.org. Contact Brian Seacholes at 202/331-1010 (www.cei.org).
Bulletin Board: Publications, statements, activities and plans of conservatives in Washington.
Jim Boulet of Coalition against Puerto Rico Statehood is circulating Top Ten Reasons Why Conservatives Should Oppose H.R. 856, the Puerto Rico Statehood Act:
1. Bill Clinton has endorsed H.R. 856 and demanded that Congress pass it.
2. Al Gore and Dick Gephardt support H.R. 856.
3. Statehood for Puerto Rico means at least six Congressmen from the island -- which makes Puerto Rico statehood six times worse than D.C. statehood.
4. Abortion is legal in Puerto Rico although Roe v. Wade did not apply to the Commonwealth.
5. Firearms are registered in Puerto Rico and many are banned.
6. Puerto Rico's Statehood Party Governor just unionized all its government's employees.
7. At least 50% of the island's population is on food stamps. Under statehood that number would increase, as would the cost to the U.S. taxpayer ($3-4 billion annually).
8. Under statehood, most Puerto Ricans will still pay not income taxes, thanks to low incomes and tax credits.
9. The island's independence movement, which includes terrorist elements, will still exist.
10. Nine out of ten high school graduates in Puerto Rico cannot speak English. Puerto Rico would be America's own Quebec.
Boulet has an information kit available. Information on the issue, including an op/ed by Pablo Gersten in the March 2 Washington Times and press releases, is also available from the Center for Equal Opportunity. Contact Jim Boulet at 703-321-8818 or [email protected] or www.englishfirst.org and Jorge Amselle at the Center for Equal Opportunity at 202/639-0803.
The National Center for Policy Analysis has released a new
26-page study, "The Nightmare in Our Future: Elderly Entitlements."
The study says that when today's 20-year-olds reach retirement
age, their government retirement benefits may consume as much
as two out of every three dollars earned by the people still working.
The study predicts that if Social Security continues its current
pay-as-you-go approach, by 2045: 1) Workers will have to pay between
17% and 22% of their wages to fund Social Security. 2) Workers
will have to pay between one-third and one-half of their wages
to pay for Social Security and Medicare. 3) When other programs
for the elderly are included (V.A., Medicaid, etc.), the burden
will be between 40% and 67%. Contact Jil Hicks at 972/386-6272
or visit www.ncpa.org. *