Trudy_Harlow at TTC.NBS.GOV Trudy_Harlow at TTC.NBS.GOV
Mon Sep 25 14:10:44 CDT 1995

For Immediate Release           Contact:  Paul Bledsoe
September 22, 1995                        Jamie Workman
                                    (202) 208-3171
                                    (202) 208-6416


    In the manner of "circuit rider" preachers on the prairie, Interior
Secretary Bruce Babbitt will conduct a five-city tour September 26-29 to warn
Americans of unprecedented anti-environmental legislative add-ons -- called
"riders" -- to budget bills pending in the Republican Congress.

    Each stop on Babbitt's tour will emphasize specific Republican riders,
including measures to close national parks, give away billions in public
mineral rights, and curtail the public's right to know about dangerous toxins
released into the nation's waterways.  None of these GOP measures will come to
a separate vote.

    "One thing is obvious:  the Republican Congress will stop at nothing to
tear down America's environmental laws and give away public resources to
special interests," Secretary Babbitt said. "Legislation which would never pass
under normal procedures has been attached to unrelated spending bills and now
may become law. These amendments are called riders.  They are a back-room, back-
door, dead of night way to repeal our environmental laws."

    "For example, just last week the House last week debated and rejected a
commission to close national parks, as it should. That's the democratic
process.  But then, just ten hours later, in the dead of night, the very same
measure was sneaked on to a key budget bill.  No discussion.  No debate.
That's how this Congress is doing business--and people need to know it."

    Babbitt will kick off his tour on Tuesday afternoon, September 26,
traveling to New York City's Wall Street, where he will sign a mining patent
which gives away $67 million in public land minerals rights to a private
corporation for just $540.  A rider to continue this public rip-off has been
attached by Republicans to budget bills in both the House and Senate. Earlier
this month, Babbitt was forced to give away the rights to more than $1 billion
in mineral rights under this same law, which has not been revised since its
inception, in 1872, during the Administration of Ulysses S. Grant.

    The next day, September 27, Secretary Babbitt will visit Orlando,  Florida,
in the morning to highlight a GOP rider which prohibits further listing of
endangered species.  Babbitt will release into the wild a bald eagle, a species
which was on the verge of extinction until it was listed under the Endangered
Species Act and protected.

    Wednesday afternoon, Babbitt will travel to the Chattahoochee National Park
outside Atlanta, Georgia, in the district of House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Babbitt will discuss a bill which calls for a commission to close national
parks. Although this legislation was rejected by the full House earlier this
week, Republicans have now attached it as a rider to the Key house budget bill
and it will never come to separate vote.

    On September 28, Babbitt will go to the shores of Lake St. Clair, in Macomb
County, Michigan, to discuss GOP riders to appropriations bills which will keep
the American public from knowing about chemicals dumped in the nation's water
system. Another Republican rider would prohibit the regulation of radon and
arsenic in drinking water.

    He then goes to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to the Oneida reservation, where he
will discuss with Indian officials the impact of a rider to impose a racially
targeted, 34 percent tax on Indian gaming revenues, revenues which fund the
local school.

    St. Louis and the Gateway Arch National park will be the final stop of the
tour.  Under the famous arch symbolizing the settlement of the West, Babbitt
will discuss the way in which the Republican assault on public resources has
perverted America's tradition of stewardship of public lands and resources.

    "Billions in mineral rights, closure of national parks, spewing unknown
toxins into our air and water--that's what these riders are about.  Somehow I
don't think that's what the people who settled this country believed in, and
its certainly not what Americans thought they voted for in 1994,"  Babbitt said.

    "The riders are really just giveaways to rich lobbyists and corporate
interests who donate thousands to congressional campaigns.  These bills could
never flourish in the light of day, so they have been hidden, as riders, in key
budget bills.  But sunshine is the best disinfectant."

    Specific sites and times for each event will be made available beginning
Monday, September 25, 1995.


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