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Mountain biker hurt in crash -- suffered spinal and neck injuries

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Old April 5th 07, 03:00 AM posted to alt.mountain-bike,rec.bicycles.soc,rec.backcountry,ca.environment,sci.environment
Mike Vandeman
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Posts: 4,798
Default Mountain biker hurt in crash -- suffered spinal and neck injuries

So much for the alleged "health benefits" of mountain biking!


Mountain biker hurt in crash
Published on 04/04/2007

A 22-YEAR-OLD man from Maryport suffered spinal and neck injuries
after falling from his mountain bike in Setmurthy Woods, near
Cockermouth, yesterday.

He was with a group of work friends riding on a specially-designed
course when he came off his bike at about 6.30pm.

Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team was called to carry the man to an
ambulance waiting at the roadside.

It is not known serious his injuries are. He was being treated in the
West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven.
I am working on creating wildlife habitat that is off-limits to
humans ("pure habitat"). Want to help? (I spent the previous 8
years fighting auto dependence and road construction.)

Please don't put a cell phone next to any part of your body that you are fond of!

Old April 5th 07, 04:01 AM posted to alt.mountain-bike,rec.bicycles.soc,rec.backcountry,ca.environment,sci.environment
Souls Black as Coal
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Posts: 8
Default Coal Interests Fight Polar Bear Action :: Unequivocal, Mike Vandeman, "warming of the climate system is unequivocal"

On Apr 4, 7:00 pm, Mike Vandeman wrote:
So much for the alleged "health benefits" of mountain biking!

Coal Interests Fight Polar Bear Action :: Unequivocal, Mike Vandeman,
"warming of the climate system is unequivocal"

Coal Interests Fight Polar Bear Action

An organization representing companies that mine coal and burn it to
make electricity has called on its members to fight the proposed
listing of the polar bear as an endangered or threatened species.

"This will essentially declare 'open season' for environmental lawyers
to sue to block viirtually any project that involves carbon dioxide
emissions," the Western Business Roundtable said in an e-mail.

To settle a lawsuit by environmental groups, the Department of
Interior announced last month that it would take a year to consider
whether global warming and melting Arctic ice justifies declaring the
bear "endangered" or "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

"This seems a little unfair, pitting all those big coal companies and
power companies against the poor polar bear," sniffed Frank O'Donnell,
president of Clean Air Watch.


Inside the secretive plan to gut the Endangered Species Act

Proposed regulatory changes, obtained by Salon, would destroy the
"safety net for animals and plants on the brink of extinction," say

March 27, 2007 | The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is maneuvering to
fundamentally weaken the Endangered Species Act, its strategy laid out
in an internal 117-page draft proposal obtained by Salon. The proposed
changes limit the number of species that can be protected and curtail
the acres of wildlife habitat to be preserved. It shifts authority to
enforce the act from the federal government to the states, and it
dilutes legal barriers that protect habitat from sprawl, logging or

"The proposed changes fundamentally gut the intent of the Endangered
Species Act," says Jan Hasselman, a Seattle attorney with
Earthjustice, an environmental law firm, who helped Salon interpret
the proposal. "This is a no-holds-barred end run around one of
America's most popular environmental protections. If these regulations
stand up, the act will no longer provide a safety net for animals and
plants on the brink of extinction."

In recent months, the Fish and Wildlife Service has gone to
extraordinary efforts to keep drafts of regulatory changes from the
public. All copies of the working document were given a number
corresponding to a person, so that leaked copies could be traced to
that individual. An e-mail sent in March from an assistant regional
director at the Fish and Wildlife Service to agency staff, asking for
comments on and corrections to the first draft, underscored the
concern with secrecy: "Please Keep close hold for now. Dale [Hall,
director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] does not want this
stuff leaking out to stir up discontent based on speculation."

Many Fish and Wildlife Service employees believe the draft is not
based on "defensible science," says a federal employee who asked to
remain anonymous. Yet "there is genuine fear of retaliation for
communicating that to the media. People are afraid for their jobs."

Chris Tollefson, a spokesperson for the service, says that while it's
accurate to characterize the agency as trying to keep the draft under
wraps, the agency has every intention of communicating with the public
about the proposed changes; the draft just hasn't been ready. And, he
adds, it could still be changed as part of a forthcoming formal review

Administration critics characterize the secrecy as a way to maintain
spin control, says Kieran Suckling, policy director of the Center for
Biological Diversity, a national environmental group. "This
administration will often release a 300-page-long document at a press
conference for a newspaper story that will go to press in two hours,
giving the media or public no opportunity to digest it and figure out
what's going on," Suckling says. "[Interior Secretary Dirk] Kempthorne
will give a feel-good quote about how the new regulations are good for
the environment, and they can win the public relations war."

In some ways, the proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act
should come as no surprise. President Bush has hardly been one of its
fans. Under his reign, the administration has granted 57 species
endangered status, the action in each case being prompted by a
lawsuit. That's fewer than in any other administration in history --
and far fewer than were listed during the administrations of Reagan
(253), Clinton (521) or Bush I (234). Furthermore, during this
administration, nearly half of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
employees who work with endangered species reported that they had been
directed by their superiors to ignore scientific evidence that would
result in recommendations for the protection of species, according to
a 2005 survey of more than 1,400 service biologists, ecologists and
botanists conducted by Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility, a nonprofit organization.

"We are not allowed to be honest and forthright, we are expected to
rubber stamp everything," wrote a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist
as part of the survey. "I have 20 years of federal service in this and
this is the worst it has ever been."

The agency has long seen a need to improve the act, says Tollefson.
"This is a look at what's possible," he says. "Too much of our time as
an agency is spent responding to litigation rather than working on
recovering the species that are most in need. The current way the act
is run creates disincentives for people to get involved with
recovering species."

Kempthorne, boss of the Fish and Wildlife Service, has been an
outspoken critic of the act. When he was a U.S. senator from Idaho in
the late 1990s, he championed legislation that would have allowed
government agencies to exempt their actions from Endangered Species
Act regulations, and would have required federal agents to conduct
cost-benefit analyses when considering whether to list a species as
endangered. (The legislation failed.) Last June, in his early days as
interior secretary, Kempthorne told reporters, "I really believe that
we can make improvements to the act itself."

Kempthorne is keeping good on his promise. The proposed draft is
littered with language lifted directly from both Kempthorne's 1998
legislation as well as from a contentious bill by former Rep. Richard
Pombo, R-Calif. (which was also shot down by Congress). It's "a wish
list of regulations that the administration and its industry allies
have been talking about for years," says Suckling.

Written in terse, dry legal language, the proposed draft doesn't make
for easy reading. However, the changes, often seemingly subtle,
generally serve to strip the Fish and Wildlife Service of the power to
do its stated job: to protect wildlife. Some verge on the biologically
ridiculous, say critics, while others are a clear concession to
industry and conservative Western governors who have long complained
that the act degrades the economies of their states by preventing
natural-resource extraction.

One change would significantly limit the number of species eligible
for endangered status. Currently, if a species is likely to become
extinct in "the foreseeable future" -- a species-specific timeframe
that can stretch up to 300 years -- it's a candidate for act
protections. However, the new rules scale back that timeline to mean
either 20 years or 10 generations (the agency can choose which
timeline). For certain species with long life spans, such as killer
whales, grizzly bears or wolves, two decades isn't even one
generation. So even if they might be in danger of extinction, they
would not make the endangered species list because they'd be unlikely
to die out in two decades.

"It makes absolutely no sense biologically," wrote Hasselman in an e-
mail. "One of the Act's weaknesses is that species aren't protected
until they're already in trouble and this proposal puts that flaw on

Perhaps the most significant proposed change gives state governors the
opportunity and funding to take over virtually every aspect of the act
from the federal government. This includes not only the right to
create species-recovery plans and the power to veto the reintroduction
of endangered species within state boundaries, but even the authority
to determine what plants and animals get protection. For plants and
animals in Western states, that's bad news: State politicians
throughout the region howled in opposition to the reintroduction of
the Mexican gray wolf into Arizona and the Northern Rockies wolf into
Yellowstone National Park.

"If states are involved, the act would only get minimally enforced,"
says Bob Hallock, a recently retired 34-year veteran of the Fish and
Wildlife Service who, as an endangered species specialist, worked with
state agencies in Idaho, Washington and Montana. "States are, if
anything, closer to special economic interests. They're more
manipulated. The states have not demonstrated the will or interest in
upholding the act. It's why we created a federal law in the first

Additional tweaks in the law would have a major impact. For instance,
the proposal would narrow the definition of a species' geographic
range from the landscape it inhabited historically to the land it
currently occupies. Since the main reason most plants and animals head
toward extinction is due to limited habitat, the change would strongly
hamper the government's ability to protect chunks of land and allow
for a healthy recovery in the wild.

The proposal would also allow both ongoing and planned projects by
such federal agencies as the Army Corps of Engineers and the Forest
Service to go forward, even when scientific evidence indicates that
the projects may drive a species to extinction. Under the new
regulations, as long as the dam or logging isn't hastening the
previous rate of extinction, it's approved. "This makes recovery of
species impossible," says Suckling. (You can read the entire proposal,
a PDF file, here.)

Gutting the Endangered Species Act will only thicken the pall that has
hung over the Fish and Wildlife Service for the past six years,
Hallock says. "They [the Bush administration] don't want the
regulations to be effective. People in the agency are like a bunch of
whipped dogs," he says. "I think it's just unacceptable to go around
squashing other species; they're of incalculable benefit to us. The
optimism we had when this agency started has absolutely been dashed."

Bush Administration Rewrite of Endangered Species Act Regulations
Would Gut Protections

Hush-hush proposal "a no-holds-barred end run around one of America's
most popular laws"

Washington, DC -- A secret draft of regulations that fundamentally
rewrite the Endangered Species Act was leaked to two environmental
organizations, which provided them to the press last night An article
in Salon quotes Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman saying, "The
proposed changes fundamentally gut the intent of the Endangered
Species Act."

The changes are fiercely technical and complicated, but make future
listings extremely difficult, redefine key concepts to the detriment
of protected species, virtually hand over administration of the act to
hostile states, and severely restrict habitat protections.

Many of the changes -- lifted from unsuccessful legislative proposals
from then-Senator (now Interior Secretary) Dirk Kempthorne and the
recently defeated congressman Richard Pombo -- are reactions to
policies and practices established as a result of litigation filed by
environmental organizations including Earthjustice.

"After the failure of these legislative proposals in the last
Congress, the Bush administration has opted to gut the Endangered
Species Act through the only avenue left open: administrative
regulations," said Hasselman. "This end-run around the will of
Congress and the American people will not succeed."

A major change would make it more difficult for a species to gain
protection, by scaling back the "foreseeable future" timeframe in
which to consider whether a species is likely to become extinct.
Instead of looking far enough ahead to be able to reasonably determine
whether a species could be heading for extinction, the new regulations
would drastically shorten the timeframe to either 20 years or 10
generations at the agency's discretion. For species with long
generations like killer whales and grizzly bears, this truncated view
of the future isn't nearly enough time to accurately predict whether
they are at-risk now.

"These draft regulations represent a total rejection of the values
held by the vast majority Americans: that we have a responsibility to
protect imperiled species and the special places they call home," said
Kate Freund, Legislative Associate at Earthjustice.

According to several sources within the Fish and Wildlife Service
quoted by Salon, hostility to the law within the agency has never been
so intense. "I have 20 years of federal service in this and this is
the worst it has ever been," one unnamed source is quoted as saying.

In addition, the proposal would allow projects by the Forest Service
and other agencies to proceed even if scientific evidence suggests
that the projects might drive species to extinction so long as the
rate of decline doesn't accelerate owing to the project.

The Bush administration's antipathy to the law is shown by the numbers
of species it has protected, in each case as the result of litigation
-- 57. By comparison, 253 species were listed during the Reagan
administration, 521 under Clinton, and 234 under Bush I.

The administration reportedly had expected to reveal the new
regulations in a few weeks. The draft regulations must be published in
the Federal Register for public comment before they can become final,
which is likely to be at least a year off.


Jan Hasselman, Earthjustice, (206) 343-7340, ext. 25

Old April 5th 07, 01:07 PM posted to alt.mountain-bike,rec.bicycles.soc,rec.backcountry,ca.environment,sci.environment
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Posts: 184
Default Mountain biker hurt in crash -- suffered spinal and neck injuries

Mike Vandeman wrote in

So much for the alleged "health benefits" of mountain biking!


So much for the alleged intelligence of the PhD graduates of this country

Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


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