24. THE FINAL BATTLE TO SAVE WILD AMERICA

As never before in the history of the United States have so many of its ecosystems been threatened with disruption. The lands in trouble include almost every type of natural ecosystem found in the Lower 48 states. We are finally paying the price for too many years of uncontrolled growth. Following are just some of the threatened areas:

Cascade Forests of the Northwest -- threatened by the logging industry for timber production.

The Prairie Pothole Wetlands of the Dakotas and Minnesota -- threatened by agricultural development.

The Bridger-Teton National Forest of Wyoming -- threatened by oil and gas exploration.

The 300 Barrier Islands Along the Coast from Main to Texas -- threatened by housing development.

The Columbia River Basin (once one of the world's greatest anadromous fish production systems) -- threatened by another dam.

The Delicate California Desert -- threatened by housing development and recreational exploitation.

The Chesapeake Bay Seafood Resource -- threatened by toxic chemicals, municipal sewage, and a proposed oil refinery.

The Nation's Tallgrass Prairie -- threatened by housing and agricultural development.

The Adirondack Lakes -- threatened by acid rain.

The Mississippi Delta -- threatened by the construction of levees and drainage canals.

The threat to America's environment is so great that ten of the nation's leading environmental organizations were forced to join together to indict President Reagan and his administration for dismantling the environmental laws and programs they are charged with administering.

The ten groups, with more than one million members, are trying to get word to Congress and the American people that the current pattern of environmental destruction is frightening.

The failure of the news media to report the extent of environmental destruction occurring in the country and its impact on future generations qualifies this story for nomination asone of the "best censored" stories of 1981.

SOURCES:

National Wildlife Federation, Aug/Oct 1981, "The Battle to Save Wild America, by Mark Wexler; S.F. Chronicle, 4/1/82, "10 Environment Groups Attack Reagan, Aides" by Dale Champion.