Peak & Prairie
February / March 1998
Group Holds Allard Accountable
by James Dennison
On January 6, several Poudre Canyon Group Members attended the Senator Allard town meeting at the Lory Student Center at CSU. To say we had a productive time would be an understatement!
As you probably know, Sen. Allard has a miserable voting record as a Colorado senator and in prior sessions as a Congressman. In the past he has supported legislation which included: suspension of environmental laws to allow salvage logging and logging of old growth, takings provisions which would divert environmental enforcement funds to pay landowners to comply with the Clean Water Act and ESA, two attempts to rollback EPA regulations over air and water and eliminate EPA wetlands protection, the very harmful "Dirty Water Act," a moratorium on any new listings of threatened or endangered species, exempting California private lands (including the ancient redwood Headwaters forest) from the Endangered Species Act, logging road subsidies, eliminating EPA funding on climate change research, eliminating various national monuments including nine in Colorado, and subsidizing nuclear power. The list goes on. Indeed, Allard only voted pro-environment on one relatively minor bill in each session. At the same time, he voted for every damaging bill, some of which were extremely harmful. An excellent synopsis of his and other representatives' voting records may be found at http://www.lcv.org/
At the town meeting, citizens brought up a variety of issues of personal concern. Environmentalists, however, almost dominated the meeting, with perhaps about a third of all the questions from members of our group. Mark Easter adeptly held Allard accountable for his miserable overall voting record. Mark explained that Allard has received an 8/100 grade from League of Conservation Voters. Naturally, Allard had excuses, but I think the point got across. The next day, the Coloradoan ran a big feature printing Mark's comments, and this surely acquainted numerous readers with Allard's record.
Allard's stance on global warming was critiqued by Ramon Ajero and Janna Six. Ramon asked Allard what his stance was on CAFE standards (improved gas mileage) and Janna followed up with other issues on the topic. Will Walters scored some points by reminding Allard that he had voted (more than once) to subsidize the logging industry with roadbuilding (and habitat-destroying) funds. Finally, the last comment made by a constituent was a very effective critique of Allard's position on endangered species. We were all wondering who this well-informed and eloquent individual was, until after the meeting, when we learned that he was a Sierra Club member we didn't know! No surprise there, though.
All in all, the group's efforts were extremely successful. What Allard heard was that fully one-third of his audience was upset with his environmental voting record. What we heard was that Allard doesn't care about the environment, and will hide behind any available obfuscation to work for the interest groups who contributed over $300,000 to his last campaign. And most importantly, what the audience heard was that there is essentially no environmental issue worthy of his approval, and that every other factor (property rights, reduction of Federal authority, national sovereignty, corporate welfare, economics, etc) always outweighs environmental protection. I expect we are looking forward to his next town meeting more than he is. Hopefully, members from other groups will also have the opportunity to influence the political process by attending such meetings, in the hopes that Congress will stop its attack on the environment.