ISSN 1188-603X

No. 319 December 23, 2003 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2

LEON E. PAVLICK (1939-2003)

My former colleague in the Royal BC Museum, botanist Leon Pavlick, died at the beginning of December 2003 of lymphoma. He made a significant contribution to our knowledge of the genera Festuca and Bromus in the Pacific Northwest and North America. For his biography and the bibliography of his works see the following web sites:

PROLOGUE TO THIS BEN: In my attempts to edit BEN, I tried to avoid two issues - politics and the technical aspects of human reproduction (to stay away from the word that can trigger your anti-minced-meat programs). In this issue I could not resist to venture into the politics and this issue is actually PEN (Political Electronic News) rather than the traditional BEN. You do not have to unsubscribe BEN, the next issue of BEN will be back to BEN. Or will it be? Stay tuned, you might be surprised again. - AC, BEN Editor.



David Alexander Anderson was born on August 16, 1937 in Victoria, British Columbia, the son of James William Anderson and Sheila Gillespie..

While growing up in Victoria David developed an early passion for the environment as a frequent visitor to the Provincial Museum. He learned to speak Mandarin while living in China, and at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, and was very involved in athletics.

David attended Victoria High School and then Victoria College, the predecessor to the University of Victoria. He eventually transferred to the University of British Columbia where he obtained his Law degree, and then went on to post graduate studies at the Institute for Oriental Studies at the University of Hong Kong. During his time at UBC David was a member of Canada's National Rowing team and, along with his crew members, brought home Silver medals for Canada in both the Rome Olympics in 1960, and at the 1959 Pan America Games.

His first work in government was with the Department of External Affairs where he was stationed in Vietnam, Hong Kong and eventually Ottawa as the External Affairs officer responsible for China.

He eventually returned to British Columbia and in 1968 was elected as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Esquimalt-Saanich. As a backbench MP, he founded and chaired the Special Committee on Environmental Pollution, and worked hard on the creation of Vancouver Island's Pacific Rim National Park.

In 1975, and until 1993, David worked as a law professor at the University of Victoria and as an environmental consultant. During this time he served on several government commissions and boards, including the Immigration Appeal Board, as the sole commissioner of the Inquiry into Fraser Valley Petroleum Exploration, and as an advisor to the Premier of British Columbia on tanker traffic and oil spills.

In 1993, David was elected as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Victoria and appointed Minister of National Revenue and Minister responsible for British Columbia. As Minister of Natural Revenue he streamlined border operations through the introduction of CANPASS, increased enforcement on international smuggling and brought forward new measures to combat the underground economy.

In 1996, he was appointed Minister of Transport where he developed links between transportation and tourism, and implemented the transfer of airport management across Canada to regional authorities.

David was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Victoria in June 1997 and appointed Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. He has been recognized internationally for his efforts during this tenure for his exceptional work on salmon conservation. He also secured the Pacific Salmon Treaty with the United States, established Canada's first Marine Protected Areas, and initiated efforts to improve boating safety through mandatory training and certification.

In 1999, Mr. Anderson was appointed Canada's Minister of the Environment. In this role he has distinguished himself locally and internationally as a passionate advocate for Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species. These key priorities are all focused on ensuring that future generations of Canadians, and young Canadians, are left with a strong environmental legacy that keeps them healthy, and able to enjoy all that Canada has too offer.

David is married to Sandra Anderson, and they have two children: James and Zoe.


From: Gwen Barlee [] December 15, 2003

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - Western Canada Wilderness Committee heaped praise on government leaders, BC Premier Gordon Campbell and Delta Mayor Lois Jackson, for their roles in offering to buy Burns Bog to turn it into a nature park. Premier Campbell's Liberal government, often criticized by environmental organizations, such as the Wilderness Committee, for rolling-back environmental legislation, announced December 11 that an offer had been made for the purchase of Burns Bog. The offer - more than $77 million - is to ensure that the bog, totaling 5,436 acres, is protected as a nature park.

Under the proposal the BC government is kicking in the biggest share at $28.6 million, followed by the Federal government at $28 million, then the Greater Vancouver Regional District at $14.2 million with the city of Delta providing $7.9 million. Western Delta Lands (WDL), the private land owner, has been ordered by the courts to sell the Bog by the end of January 2004 in order to pay back mortgage holders $50 million, including the provincial government, which is the primary mortgage holder.

"All the government leaders and bureaucrats who worked so hard to get this offer on the table deserve a great deal of praise. People will rejoice and remember their efforts for generations to come," enthused Joe Foy, campaign director of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee.

"Will the people of Greater Vancouver find a protected Burns Bog under their Christmas tree come Christmas morning?" mused Foy "Probably not. But with the continued high level of support (85% of citizens of Vancouver want the Bog protected according to the Burns Bog Conservation Society) and the support of leaders like Premier Campbell and Mayor Jackson it looks likely that the Bog will be protected early in 2004 - at least that's my New Year's prediction. We'll see if it comes true! " said Foy.

Declaring the Burns Bog Conservation Society "Eco Heroes" for working tirelessly for almost two decades to preserve Burns Bog, Foy urged members of the public who donate to environmental groups to be extra generous to the Conservation Society this year. "They've done a great job on a shoestring budget and deserve every penny of support they can get to keep doing their good works," said an appreciative Foy.


From: Joel Connelly [], originally published in Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Friday, December 12, 2003

The Bush I administration perfected Stealth military technology and deployed it to devastating effect as U.S. planes, invisible to Saddam Hussein's radar, began Gulf War I by destroying Iraqi infrastructure.

Bush II has taken a giant leap further. It has extended the reach of Stealth tactics into American domestic policy, delivering lethal blows to environmental and health regulations while presenting only the tiniest of targets.

The administration's new, political Stealth can be recognized by the familiar set of initials TGIF: Thank God It's Friday.

The end of the workweek has come to be the time to announce far-reaching regulatory changes.

"They do it on Friday afternoon because they know that is when it will get buried in the news cycle, when it will get the least attention," Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., explained earlier this year.

The latest Friday fix came just a week ago. Interior Secretary Gale Norton relaxed Clinton-era rules designed to halt overgrazing by ranchers who pay a pittance to run their livestock on federal land.

In baseball lingo, Bush II has hit for the cycle on Fridays this fall, weakening protections on four different fronts.

On Friday, Oct. 31, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture let out a precedent-setting decision. The feds will trust testing for water pollution from atrazine -- one of America's most applied weed killers -- to the chemical's manufacturer.

Two weeks earlier, on Friday, Oct. 17, the EPA announced that it would not be regulating dioxins in sewage sludge used in farm fertilizer, on grounds there are no health or environmental risks.

The home run of Friday decisions was on Friday, Oct. 10, start of the Columbus Day weekend.

The Interior Department overturned a policy that had strictly limited the amount of public land that can be used for dumping mining waste, which is the largest volume of toxic material unleashed annually in the United States. The limitation had blocked a large open-pit mine in Okanogan County.

An environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, has tracked more than 100 environmental rollbacks implemented under Bush II: 58 have been disclosed on Fridays, just before holidays or during holiday weekends.

"It's not just the Friday timing," said Rob Perks of NRDC. "Decisions are announced by low-level officials. They are released in the late afternoon. On the grazing decision, we called up the agency and it would give us no information. Details were made available on Monday, when everyone had moved on."

With such tactics, TGIF-Stealth technology puts a "spin" on stories, keeps flak to a minimum and discourages pursuit of stories.

For instance, the lineup for weekend capital talk shows is usually set by early afternoon on Friday. The usual array of talking heads has been apportioned among the networks. And network TV isn't that interested in public health and the environment to begin with. Washington, D.C., talks about and to itself.

The Feast of the Nativity and coming of the New Year were, in 2002, occasions for additional demonstration of political Stealth technology by Bush II.

On Christmas Eve, the administration changed rules to make it easier for state, county and local governments to gain control of long-abandoned mining roads on federal land -- a change that could bring dirt bikes into backcountry of Grand Canyon, Denali, Death Valley and North Cascades national parks.

New Year's Eve was occasion for Bush II to announce that a fishing practice (favored by Mexican fishermen) that entails encircling dolphins with nets would have no significant adverse impact on dolphin populations in the Pacific Ocean.

Only a single national journalist -- Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory -- caught the administration's fishy decision.

TGIF-Stealth technology is useful even when it comes to suppressing good news -- in cases where upbeat findings are at odds with the administration's agenda.

Friday, Sept. 26, saw the (very) quiet release of a new Office of Management and Budget study. It found that environmental rules are well worth the costs they impose on industry and consumers, resulting in major public health benefits and other improvements.

Major strikes against pollution and health regulations can require more than one Friday and/or holiday.

On Friday, Aug. 22, the Bush administration made final its decision to let America's most polluting coal-fired power plants and refineries upgrade facilities without installing state-of-the-art air quality controls.

Original announcement of the plan came from an underling just before Thanksgiving of last year. New rules formally easing requirements on polluters were issued on New Year's Eve.

Bush II picked Friday, Jan. 10, to propose guidelines "redefining" what constitutes a wetland entitled to preservation under the Clean Water Act. The guidelines could result in loss of federal protection for as many as 20 million acres of swamps and bogs across America. A final announcement is expected this Christmas season.

The list goes on: The Interior Department picked Friday, April 11, to announce "settlement" of a lawsuit with the state of Utah.

Under the accord, Bush II removed millions of acres of Bureau of Land Management property -- most in the Inland West and Alaska -- from being evaluated for protection as wilderness. The settlement opened the door to expanded oil and gas leasing in canyonlands of the Southwest.

It's all very skillful -- and cynical.

In the 1980s, loudmouth Interior Secretary James Watt -- "I don't like to paddle and I don't like to walk" -- taught the drillers, diggers and polluters that the public can get mad.

"Americans want clean air and clean water," said Perks. "You can't have a full frontal assault on environmental protection. Soccer moms like to go to parks. NASCAR dads like to hunt and fish and hike. If you want to weaken protection, you've got to go below the radar screen."


From: BBC News - posted here courtesy of BBC NewsOnline

The tree, a eucalyptus known as El Grande [Swamp gum - Eucalyptus regnans F. Muell. - Myrtaceae], was damaged earlier this year when a burning operation designed to regenerate surrounding woodland got out of control.

Conservationists pronounced the tree dead in May but Forestry Tasmania was waiting to see whether the eucalyptus would recover in the spring. Forestry Tasmania general manager of operations, Kim Creak, admitted on Wednesday that their hopes were misplaced. "A group of forest scientists has conducted an assessment of the condition of the tree. Unfortunately, it is deceased," he said. Although there are taller trees on Tasmania, El Grande - which stood at 79 metres (260 feet) - is thought to be the largest tree in Australia in terms of volume.

Environmentalists in Tasmania, where the Greens' party attracts 20% of the vote, have accused the authorities of being unfit to protect one of the world's most diverse rainforests. "It is significant that Forestry has confessed to killing the largest known living thing in Australia," said Geoff Law, a spokesman for the environment group Wilderness Society.

"They have confessed to killing it through their own incompetence," he said. Mr Creak said the tree's death was a "learning experience" and that the department had written new guidelines for woodland clearance exercises. The fate of El Grande has intensified scrutiny of the burning of Tasmania's forests to provide wood chip for export. Fires are started to clear the undergrowth.



FERN is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) created in 1995 by the World Rainforest Movement. NGO representatives from different European countries make up our board and we work closely with many national and international NGOs.

FERN promotes the conservation and sustainable use of forests and respect for the rights of forest peoples in the policies and practices of the European Union. We co-ordinate several NGO networks and works co-operatively to achieve change.

Currently, our main campaign areas are climate change, forest certification, export credit agencies, WTO & trade agreements, intergovernmental agendas, aid & development co-operation and rights of forest peoples. For more information about these issues visit our Campaigns page.

FERN stands for Forests and the European Union Resource Network, although we are more widely known by our acronym - the name was chosen for its symbolic value, as ferns are among the few plant families found in all forest types.

Join FERN's mailing list to get our newsletter EU Forest Watch at

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