Congressional hearing to dilute environmental laws
to bypass environmental protection laws
By Brenda Norrell
Ariz. – San Carlos Apache protested outside a Congressional field hearing and accused Congressman Rick Renzi, R-Ariz.,
of attempting to water down environmental protection laws aimed at protecting the red squirrel and other species in the fragile
environment of sacred Mount Graham.
among the Apaches making statements to protest, said they should look at the Earth to see what is happening.
and the astronomers on Mt. Graham look up at the stars, but they don’t look down at their feet to see what they have
destroyed on the earth beneath them.”
Thompson, retired San Carlos Apache Tribal Council member, said it demonstrates how Congressmen serve the rich and powerful.
long as Congressmen like Renzi are around to serve rich and powerful developers by attacking the country’s cultural
and environmental protection laws, endangered species problems will continue.
would Renzi like us to go to his Church and set up a rodeo or casino beside it or put an Indian crafts shop on top of his
Church’s high altar? What he is doing to our mountain and its endangered red squirrel is no different.
disregard for people and animals is the way the white man has treated Indians since the 19th century.”
said Dzil Nchaa Si An (Mt. Graham) has been part of Apache tribal homeland for centuries.
was also part of the original reservation land given to us in 1871. But when early settlers and squatters came into our rich
lands, they convinced the federal government to take Dzil Nchaa Si An away from us. They wanted it for its water, lumber and
took our fertile Gila River valley from us too, a place where the reports of the early federal Indian Agents said we grew
corn and other crops for as far ‘as the eye could see.’ Congressmen just like Renzi have since 1871, on five separate
occasions, dismembered about two-thirds of our original Apache reservation’s acreage.
wonder we are poor. They stole the best parts of our land. Congressmen like Renzi
don’t care if we go extinct any more than they care if the Mount Graham Red Squirrel goes extinct.”
Carlos Apache elder Erwin Rope said projects such as these get approval because they promise jobs, which never arrive.
the $200,000,000 taxpayer financed telescope project creates some temporary jobs, it creates very few permanent jobs,”
Rope pointed out that according to the official Forest Service’s Arizona Department
of Transportation studies, the most jobs created would be 33 in Tucson and 30 in Safford.
is an extremely inefficient and wasteful way for anybody to help local communities,” he said.
Davis, Apache Survival Coalition member and American Indian, said Apaches must speak up to protect the small creatures.
Indians respect and honor the intent of our Great Spirit, -- for animals to live on this planet. It is wrong to abandon endangered animals that need our help as desperately as the Mount Graham Red Squirrel.”
Cassadore Davis pointed out that Mount Graham has more vegetation life zones than any other mountain in North America, and
that the forest at the summit is the southernmost spruce-fir forest in North America.
Apache also know this place is unique. It has been spiritually a part of us for centuries. But people like Renzi don’t
care about anything except the money that can be made from those places.
at the severely endangered animal like the Mount Graham Red Squirrel, now down to just a few hundred individuals before the
protesters, which included elderly, said it was inappropriate for police to watch over their protest at the hearing with a
police attack dog.
said the Congressmen want to make the living creatures go extinct so the University of Arizona can build a city of telescopes
on the mountain.
it hadn’t been for the squirrel, the University of Arizona would have by now built a city of telescopes all over the
summit of this sacred mountain.”
The League of Conservation Voters recently named Renzi to its "dirty dozen"
list of lawmakers which the group considers to have anti-environmental voting records.