FW: UN Dioxin POPs: Send an Urgent Fax to U.S. Secretary Madeleine K. Albright before Friday, September 3rd!

Craven, Jim jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Tue Aug 31 12:49:12 MDT 1999





INDIGENOUS ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORK URGENT ALERT!

U.S. Department of State Bows to Chemical Industry; Will Propose
Plan But No Action in Global POPs Treaty

U.S. Department of State Fails to Fulfill Secretary of State Madeleine
K.
Albright's Committment on July 14, 1999 to Consult American Indians and
Alaska Natives in the Shaping of Foreign Policy When It Affects Treaty
Rights, Health and Resources of Indigenous Peoples.

Send an Urgent Fax to U.S. Secretary Madeleine K. Albright before
Friday, September 3rd!

In just a few days, the U.S. and more than 100 governments will meet in
Geneva, Switzerland to continue international negotiations toward a
treaty
meant to reduce or eliminate persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Indigenous Peoples from throughout the world including North America
Indigenous delegates will be participating along with over 50 other
non-governmental organizations (NGO's).

POPs are a class of chemicals that includes highly toxic dioxins. These
inadvertent by-products of waste incineration and other industrial
processes have become common pollutants around the world. They have made
headline news in Europe in recent months at the center of a food
contamination scare, but are also a problem in the U.S. In fact, most
Americans now carry enough dioxins in their bodies to cause serious
health
problems, including cancer and immune system disruption.

This is an issue that disproportionately affects Indigenous Peoples of
the
U.S., especially those tribes that still maintain subsistence culture.
High levels of dioxin poisoning have been found in fish populations in
the
traditional territories of the Yakama (Northwest), Penobscots (Maine),
and
many tribes within the Great Lakes water basin region and villages in
Alaska.  Indigenous Peoples already have weakened immune systems from
diabetes and alcoholism causing more concern for greater health risks.
The
United States nor any of its federal agencies have never consulted the
tribes and villages of the U.S. on it's policy position concerning
dioxins
and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

The United States has an opportunity to take a leadership role in moving
the world toward reducing and eventually eliminating man-made sources of
toxic dioxins. But in a Department of State briefing last week, the U.S.
delegation on POPs put forward its proposal for treaty language going
into
negotiations in Geneva next week.  As outlined, the U.S. position on
dioxin
(or more generally, the by-product POPs) is extremely weak.  Under
intense
pressure from industry lobbying groups including the Chemical
Manufacturers
Association and the Chlorine Chemistry Council, the U.S. State
Department
plans to propose removing existing language from the draft treaty, and
replacing it with language that would require countries ONLY to develop
action plans for dioxin and other by-products.  While action plans are
important and necessary, they are not a substitute for real action.
There
would be NO obligation to actually implement these action plan
strategies
or to achieve any emission reductions.  Without bold steps to reduce
dioxin
emissions in all countries, we would be left with a treaty that takes no
action at all on dioxin!

There is still time to influence U.S. negotiators before they put their
proposals on the table in Geneva. Representatives of environmental and
public health groups from the U.S. and 30 other countries will be in
Geneva.  Representatives with the Indigenous Environmental Network will
be
there.  But what is really needed is pressure from concerned citizens
and
tribes at home.

Call, fax or e-mail a letter to Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
before the close of business, Friday, September 3, 1999.  Send a copy of
the letter via fax to the lead Department of State negotiator, Brookes
Yaeger, at his hotel in Geneva.  The fax number of his hotel in Geneva
is
listed below. Tell them that an action plan without any action is no
plan
at all. If you like, use the attached sample letter - but be sure to
personalize your message for greater impact, and include your full name
and
address. Your letter, e-mail or faxes sent this week from the States
will
be waiting for the head of the U.S. delegation, Brookes Yeager, when he
arrives in Geneva over the weekend for negotiations that start on Monday
morning.  Just 100 faxes calling for real action to eliminate sources of
dioxin will make a powerful statement at a key moment in the
negotiations!

THE UNITED STATES - DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS HEARD THE VOICE OF
INDUSTRY-NOW
THEY MUST HEAR THE VOICES OF CONCERNED TRIBES, NATIVE ORGANIZATIONS,
TRIBAL
CITIZENS AND HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUPPORT GROUPS ACROSS THE COUNTRY!
WE
DON'T WANT THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY TO WRITE THE FIRST GLOBAL TREATY ON
DIOXIN.  MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT MUST RESPECT HER COMMITTMENT TO CONSULT
WITH
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF THE U.S. AND FOR HER STATEMENT FOR INCREASED
RECOGNITION AND RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AFFECTED BY MAINSTREAM
FOREIGN
POLICY ISSUES (statement made July 14, 1999 to U.S. Tribal Leaders, find
at: <http://secretary.state.gov/www/statements/1999/990714.html>

SEND YOUR FAXES, LETTERS OR EMAIL ON OR BEFORE SEPTEMBER 3RD!


IMPORTANT: Because of Labor Day holiday, we're asking you send faxes on
or
before this Friday.

For more information on the issues of POPs, dioxin, and the UN Treaty
Meeting on POPs:

http://irtc.unep.ch/pops
www.psr.org/IPEN-Homepage.htm
www.essential.org/cchw/campaign/campaign.html
www.epa.gov/nceawww/dioxin.htm
www.greenpeace.org/toxics.html
www.worldwildlife.org/toxics
www.alphacdc.com/ien





THIS IS THE SAMPLE FAX -----> (you could re-format to your need, e-mail
it,
or snailmail)

FAX

To: Madeleine K. Albright, Secretary of State  Fax: (202) 647-7120
cc: Brooks Yeager, U.S. Department of State,
 c/o Intercontinental Hotel, Geneva, Switzerland
 Fax: 011 41 22 919 38 38
 Trigg Talley, U.S. Department of State, Ofc of Environmental Policy
 Fax: (202) 647-5947

From: [ENTER YOUR NAME, ORGANIZATION OR TRIBE HERE]

Re: POPs Treaty/U.S. Position on Dioxin

Date: September 3, 1999


Dear Secretary of State, Madeleine K. Albright:

 On July 14, 1999, you established rapport with American Indian and
Alaska
Native leaders by making a commitment to Indigenous Peoples as
summarized
in your quote, "As Secretary of State, my commitment is to ensure that
this
Department consults and works in good faith with you, just as I know you
want to do with us.  Because my mission is a foreign policy for America
that reflects the aspirations of all the peoples in our midst."

 I am writing to express my concern about the proposed U.S. position on
dioxin and other by-product POPs in international negotiations taking
place
next week in Geneva toward a treaty on reducing or eliminating
persistent
organic pollutants (POPs). This is the third treaty making session of
the
United Nations Environmental Programme's International Negotiating
Committee (INC3) scheduled for September 6-11, 1999.  As you know,
dioxin
is a pollutant of particular concern around the world, including in the
U.S., where 46 states have issued advisories against eating local fish
because of dioxin contamination. The average American adult receives 300
to
500 times the daily "safe" dose of dioxin through diet, and
breastfeeding
infants receive 50 times that amount. Dioxin has been linked to serious
health problems, including cancer, immune system disruption, and
reproductive and developmental problems.

 I am concerned about the elevated impact and greater health risk that
dioxin contamination has upon our American Indian/Alaska Native
population.
 Those tribes that still maintain subsistence and land-based culture are
in
great danger if action isn't taken that either reduces or totally
eliminates dioxin emissions. Dioxin and other by products of POPs
impacts
almost all tribes that hunt, fish, gather, and that maintain livestock
and
agricultural practices.   It is unfortunate the U.S. Department of State
didn't consult with tribal leaders on this important issue that concerns
the healthy future of tribal nations and the inherent right of tribes to
practice traditional culture.

 The United States has an opportunity to take a leadership role in
moving
the world toward reducing and eventually eliminating man-made sources of
toxic dioxins. But the Department of State's proposal that countries
develop national action plans without reduction targets and timetables
falls far short of this goal. As intergovernmental negotiations next
week,
please reconsider this proposal.

 If it is to be effective, a global POPs treaty must require more than
plans for action - it must require real action to eliminate sources of
dioxin. The U.S. should propose treaty language that emphasizes
pollution
prevention and a gradual phase-out of dioxin-producing materials and
technologies. Emission reductions should be required where possible, and
as
soon as feasible, with the ultimate aim of elimination.  This issue is a
life and death issue to many of the Indigenous Peoples within the Arctic
circle, the greater part of North America and throughout the world.

 Thank you for your attention to this very important issue.

     Sincerely,







Contact names and addresses of the US Department of State delegation:

Ms. Madeleine K. Albright    (not going to be in Geneva)
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C. Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: (202) 647.5291
Fax: (202) 647.7120
e-mail: secretary at state.gov

Ms. Brooke S. Yaeger (head of U.S. Team)
Office of Environmental Policy
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: (202) 647-2232
Fax: (202) 647-5947

Mr. Yaeger will be staying at the International Hotel, Geneva,
Switzerland
Fax: 011 41 22 919 38 38

Mr. Trigg Talley
Office of Environmental Policy (OES/ENV rm. 4325)
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: (202) 647-5808
Fax: (202) 647-5947
e-mail: LTALLEY at state.gov

Mr. Brain Muehling
Office of International Activities
US Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, DC 20460
Tel: (202) 564-6468
Fax: (202) 565-2409
e-mail: muehling.brain at epamail.epa.gov

Mr. Dick White
Office of Pesticides, Prevention & Toxic Substances
US Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, DC 20460
Tel: (202) 260-3046
Fax: (202) 260-1847
e-mail: white.ed at epa.gov






Indigenous Environmental Network
P.O. Box 485
Bemidji, Minnesota 56619-0485  USA
Phone (218) 751-4967
Fax (218) 751-0561
email: ien at igc.org
Internet Web Site: http://www.alphacdc.com/ien

"An alliance of Indigenous Peoples empowering Indigenous communities
towards sustainable livelihoods, environmental protection of our lands,
water, air and maintaining the sacred Fire of our traditions."


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