Friday, December 02, 2005

Off-roading holiday of death & destruction at dunes


People & child killed, land trashed, yet Bush Interior Dept. wants to expand off-roading

GLAMIS, CA – Over 200,000 off-roaders mobbed the Algodones (Imperial) Sand Dunes over the Thanksgiving holiday. At least six people were killed in off-roading incidents in Imperial County, including a five-year-old boy. At least one off-roader overdosed. The environment, air, and endangered species habitat were trashed.

Hospitals in Imperial and Yuma County were slammed. Imperial County Deputy Coroner Henry Proo called it “the worst weekend I have ever seen.” (Yuma Sun, Nov. 27).

Despite all the death and environmental destruction, the Bush Interior Department is still aggressively pushing to expand off-roading at the dunes by reversing a five-year-old conservation agreement.

“What doesn't BLM (Bureau of Land Management) understand about Glamis? Despite spending millions of dollars out there, an irreplaceable national landmark is being destroyed, children are being killed, mayhem continues, and BLM acts like everything would be just hunky-dory if they could just have more off-roaders out there. It's madness!” said Karen Schambach, California Director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). PEER represents the concerns of many affected Interior Department biologists and staff.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced it will reconsider an off-road industry demand to end Endangered Species Act protection for the Peirson’s milk-vetch, an endangered attractive flowering plant found only at the Algodones Dunes.

Off-road industry lobbyists pushed for the de-listing before, but just last year FWS biologists said it was not justified. But this spring, Bush Interior Department political appointee Julie MacDonald took a trip to the dunes with off-road lobbyists to discuss ending Endangered Species Act protection for the milk-vetch.

Several months ago, the Center for Biological Diversity's Deserts Program filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking details of MacDonald’s trip, but Interior has not released the records. U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, who represents Imperial County, has been asked to investigate.

A federal court recently ruled that the flat-tailed horned lizard must be considered for Endangered Species Act protection in part due to off-roading damage in Imperial County.

In addition to the Peirson’s milk-vetch, the desert tortoise and dozens of endemic dunes plants and animals are imperiled by extreme off-roading at the Algodones Dunes. Hikers, birdwatchers, photographers and other people are displaced from the dunes by hordes of off-roaders and related dangers.

Watch for more problems and deaths every weekend, but especially over Christmas & New Years, Presidents Day, and Easter. At least two off-roaders were killed at the dunes over Halloween.

The Algodones Dunes are a fragile and scenic place being sacrificed to ‘Mad Max on meth’ mayhem. People and the environment are being killed out there due to Bush administration and industry anti-conservation ideology, and it has to stop.


Anonymous said...

I just dont understand why you are blaming president bush for white trash motor heads. People are getting killed, ruining the enviroment, getting arrested because... consider the source. I HATE quads, motorcycles, motorhead stuff too, but there are actualy people out there that can enjoy these things and respect the enviroment. As the population grows, so the numbers of idiots. I have asways said that. Unfortunalty the west has become a center piece for motorheads riding their shit in the dunes. Kinda like out here where we are suffering from city folk wanting a taste of counrty life.... now our beautiful farm land and awsome water refuge is being turned into cookie cutter houseville with uptite city folk telling us how they want our landscape to be. Pisses me right the hell off but who am I to tell people where to live ...... dude it sucks. I'll just change my voting tactics, and a few other things. lol

Jeneiene Schaffer said...

Bush is to blame for this mostly because he appoints Department of Interior people to increase the availability of public lands to these motor freaks. The vast public opinion in this country is against opening up more land to this kind of 'wreckreation', but Bush and his cronies want to incourage more use of oil, not less. And, they couldn't give a damn about the environmental damage it causes.

I don't buy the argument that we can't tell people how to live. Yes, we can. It happens all the time. One example is called city ordinances. Another would be for Bush to set an example for others to follow. Unfortunately, his example is devastation for the environment and the quality of life for 99% of our people who wish to enjoy nature without the madmax roar and gas and dust clouds.

LiberalismIsAMentalDisorder said...

Blame Bush for everything...Liberal handbook, page 23 paragraph 3 sentence 3.

Dude, that is a stretch to blame Bush for the deaths of 6 people ... a REAL stretch. You claim to not be a liberal, but maybe you should re-assess your views because you damn sure sound like one.

Off-roading events such as this one are regulated at the STATE level...they determine where, when and how these events go down. You want to blame someone? How about Nancy Pelosi whose district this is in.

DRP said...

Mental Disorder -- You are flat wrong. This is on fed. public land, and the feds (BLM) manage it, not the state. It is not in Pelosi's district, but Rep. Filner, who is concerned but BLM is not responsive.

Bush is to blame because his admin. wants to undo a 5 year old conservation agreement at the dunes. This would make the situation even worse. Bush Interior Dept. only favors more off-roading, and more death and destruction is the result.

LiberalismIsAMentalDisorder said...

"This is on fed. public land, and the feds (BLM) manage it, not the state. "

Is that right? If this event is on federal land, then explain to me why the Imperial County Sherriff is making an arrest in the picture you posted? They have no juridstiction on federal land as they are not federal officers.

The they in the pudding

DRP said...

They have a law enforcement agreement (MOU) with BLM.

LiberalismIsAMentalDisorder said...

"They have a law enforcement agreement (MOU) with BLM."

I respectfully disagree, California law does not allow for it. I was in law enforcement for 10 years in Califonia, and we were NEVER allowed to make an arrest on federal land unless a federal officer was making the arrest in which case we were allowed to assist but only when the federal officer specifically asked for it. State peace officers in California are not authorised by statute to enforce federal law. Its why you always see DEA going in first on a drug search warrant, or the US Marshalls going in first on a fugitive warrant

DRP said...

Due to the out-of-control problems at the dunes, BLM has requested local LE help. Local LE officers often work directly with BLM and other fed officers out there. Contact BLM El Centro office or Imperial County Sheriff for details of the arrangement.

Feds are in the lead out there, with local backup.