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How to Support the Sage Council’s "No Surprises" Campaign
1. Join the Spirit of the Sage Council. Your membership, financial contribution and/or donation of services is a very good place to start. Your name will automatically be added to the list of nearly 800 individuals, conservation groups, scientists, farmers, Native Americans and religious institutions opposed to No Surprises and other changes to the Endangered Species Act. Join Now.
2. Call, write and send letters, in opposition to No Surprises, Safe Harbors, Candidate Conservation Agreements and such changes to the Endangered Species Act as proposed in Senate Bill 1180 (S. 1180 by Kempthorne), to President Clinton , Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt, and your U.S. Congressional Representatives.

United States Senate

United States House of Representatives

Project Vote Smart has a complete list of U.S. Representatives mailing addresses, phone, fax and email.

Example Letter

Dear Mr. President, Secretary Babbitt and U.S. Representative,

I am writing to you today to request that the U.S. government, including the Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (Services), abandon the current use of "No Surprises," "Safe Harbor" and "Candidate Conservation Agreements" when implementing the Endangered Species Act on privately held public trust lands. In addition, I most strongly urge the Clinton/Babbitt administration and U.S. Congress to oppose Senate Bill 1180 as introduced by Senator Kempthorne.

Furthermore, I oppose all "riders" being placed in the Interior Appropriations Bill as a back ally approach to change and weaken the Endangered Species Act. Apparently, the "Safe Harbor" approach has already been placed in the Interior Appropriations Bill along with corporate welfare subsidies totaling $17 million (tax payers) dollars. Please take corrective actions immediately to prevent codification of "Safe Harbor" programs and agreements. All public funds, especially those held in the Land and Water Conservation Fund, must be used for acquisition of habitats essential to endangered species survival and recovery -- not for the development and implementation of plans or programs that result in a net loss of habitat acres and decline in numbers of endangered species populations.

As an American citizen, lover of wildlife and the great outdoors I must tell you how deeply disappointed I am in my government and you, as representatives of "We the People." I remind you that our nations plants, fish and wildlife are held in "public trust" and are not privately owned. It is an outrage that American Bald Eagles, our country’s symbol, and over 400 various other species are being killed through the expanded use of Incidental Take Permits and Habitat Conservation Plans with "No Surprises" guarantees, affecting more than 19 million acres nationwide.

I am greatly offended that my government representatives would place the whims, desires and private economic gain of corporate land holders over the "public trust" to conserve endangered species and America’s natural heritage. Corporate domination over the land and politics is consuming the heart of this, once great, country. Corporate landholders, such as International Paper that control over 6.4 million acres of forest habitats, and other private landholders are not "sovereign nations" exempt from federal regulations. These corporate and private landholders must be held accountable and responsible, just as all Americans, to protect our natural heritage.

I am asking you, as my government representative, to take a leadership position in standing up for the common good and public trust by defending and protecting endangered species. More than 84% of the public polled have stated that they want protection for endangered species. More than 300 of the country’s scientists, and world renowned conservation biologists oppose "No Surprises" guarantees and changes to the Endangered Species Act. More than 400 conservation organizations oppose "No Surprises," including Sierra Club, National Audubon, National Endangered Species Network, U.S. PIRG, Humane Society of the U.S., Defenders of Wildlife, National Wildlife Federation, Endangered Species Coalition and grassroots groups.

I will be watching how you vote and what position you take on this matter. How you vote, will make not only an impact on endangered species protection, but also on how my friends, work colleagues, family and I will vote during the November elections for political offices.

Thank you for your consideration. Please respond in writing as to how you are going to address this most important and urgent matter.


Name _______________________________
Address _____________________________



Example Letter [4k]

"How Do I Comment On A Proposed
Habitat Conservation Plan, Implementation Agreement
and Incidental Take Permit Application?"
Because each plan and agreement vary in relation to the habitat type, acreage and species involved, your comments will also vary. In 1991, when the Sage Council began reviewing and commenting on planning documents there were no examples for us. Only one lawsuit had been filed, against the San Bruno Mountain HCP, so that's where we began. The U.S. House of Representative Conference Report (No. 97-835, 97th Congress, 2d Session) regarding the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 1982 (pp.29-33) refer to the San Bruno HCP as the paradigm approach to implementing all HCPs to follow. In combination with 50 CFR Parts 13 and 17, the Conference Report clarifies what must "legally" be included in an HCP document in order for U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to issue an Incidental Take Permit.

The Sage Council has reviewed and commented on dozens of HCP/ITP proposals since 1991, in California and throughout the U.S.. Over the years we have taken the best comments made by our legal and scientific advisors (Brian Gaffney, Lawrence Silver, Kelli Drumm, Charles Steven Crandall, Eric Glitzenstein, Kimberley Walley Delfino, Dr. Shawn Smallwood and Dr. Dan Holland) in combination with our own. Thus, creating extensive and comprehensive comments on some of the largest and most ecologically destructive HCP/ITP proposals

Because our comment letters are in-depth and numerous pages, the Sage Council has selected a few for your review that we believe will be most helpful. Please do not hesitate to Email the Sage Council with any specific questions…we are here to help YOU defend the wild ones also.

San Diego County -- Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) Program EIR/EIS, MSCP/NCCP Implementation Agreement, Section 4(d) Natural Communities Conservation Plan/ Interim Take HLMP, and Application for Incidental Take Permits (ITPs) for Urban Growth (Sprawl) in San Diego, California.

International Paper Company -- Incidental Take Permit Application (PRT-833203), Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)/Safe Harbor Program, Implementation Agreement (IA), Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for Timber Harvesting Activities (Logging) in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.

El Coronado Ranch -- Incidental Take Permit Application (PRT-837858), Draft ), Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)/Safe Harbor Program, Implementation Agreement (IA), and Environmental Assessment (EA) for Cattle Grazing On Private and Publicly Held Lands in the Coronado National Forest, Arizona.

The Sage Council also recommends that you read "Science Missing In the No Surprises Policy" by Dr. Shawn Smallwood, that is found on menu of the "No Surprises Campaign" web page.