Bill opens door to attacks on rodeos

The concern of Jordan Valley, Ore., residents over Senate Bill 835, which is politically referred to as gateway legislation, is potentially far-reaching.

The bill is not only misleading with its "horse tripping" title but opens the way for future anti-rodeo legislation.

Disturbing is the apparent lack of support from pro rodeo. True, Sen. Bill Hansell of Pendleton inserted "right to rodeo" language to protect the Pendleton Round-Up. The Jordan Valley Rodeo is known as the "Big Loop," which makes one reason that if "Big Loop" is offensive, then where does "Let 'er Buck" fit in?

If critics don't like horse roping, then what about steer roping, bull dogging and steer busting?

Mike Hanley

Jordan Valley, Ore.

ESA a resounding success for species

In his highly fictionalized account of the Endangered Species Act's success record ("ESA's birthday a time for reflection" in the April 12 edition), James Burning ignores critical facts while misrepresenting others -- a practice for which his employer, the Pacific Legal Foundation, is notorious.

Burning opens by contending that, looking back over the 40 years since its enactment, the act's accomplishments are "hard to identify." This statement alone demonstrates how little he actually knows about the act and its history of successes.

The undeniable truth is that 99 percent of the more than 1,400 plants and animals under the act's protection have been saved from extinction, including California condors, bighorn sheep, pelicans, butterflies, songbirds, whales, turtles, sea lions and countless other species. In fact, scientists estimate that without the act, at least 227 additional species would have gone extinct since 1973.

The act has not only prevented extinction, but has also helped imperiled species to recover. A study last year of more than 100 protected species showed the great majority to be meeting or exceeding the recovery timelines set by federal scientists. Additionally, the study revealed that the number of species delisted to date has no correlation with its success given that species recovery is frequently measured in decades.

Burning also grossly exaggerates any negative economic impact of the act. For example, describing the Pacific Northwest timber industry as having been "decimated" by the spotted owl listing, he ignores the significant factors that are to blame, including falling demand for timber products and mill closures due to new technologies and improved mechanization. Burning further disregards the enormous benefits of species protection to the tourism industry and the billions of dollars in ecosystem services from the protection of keystone species and critical habitats.

So, don those party hats. It's time to celebrate!

Brett Sommermeyer

Lincoln City, Ore.

U.N. threatens rural Americans

The recent front-page story about ranchers and their concerns about U.N. Agenda 21 and its impacts upon private property should raise a warning flag to all rural residents.

The United Nations was founded in 1945, and today has 193 member countries. The annual budget is $5.15 billion and it has 10,400 paid employees. It has programs about how to regulate food, agriculture, health, ad infinitum, that impact all facets of life.

Agenda 21 is the 21st century plan for "The New World Order" through global governance.

I have worked hard to be in the middle class and use all the modern benefits the U.N. opposes. I have no interest in some U.N. person from Mali, Zimbabwe, or other Third World country telling us how we should govern our lives, while through our generosity and hard work, we donate millions of tons of grain, to keep those countries' people from starving.

William Riley

Soap Lake, Wash.

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