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"engage in the work of digging this canal. His
"Other provisions of the treaty add to the
"Further, it is said that the boundaries of
Yet no one
Comment: Firstly, the Supreme Court quotes directly from the language of the treaty, which language indicates that the United States has absolute sovereign power over the canal zone and that United States sovereignty is "to the entire exclusion" of Panamanian sovereignty. Secondly, the Supreme Court holds that it is fallacious
to argue that there are imperfections in the title of the United
RECENT FEDERAL DECISIONS HAVE REAFFIRMED THAT THE
A 1971 United States Court of Appeal decision, United States v.
"The Canal Zone is an unincorporated
Before Congress acts, Congress should understand that this
1/ The most recent reflection of public opinion concerning the
July 21, 1977
Hon. James B. Allen
Dear Senator Allen:
In view of the planned hearings by your Subcommittee on Separation of Powers on the negotiations for a new Panama Canal Treaty, we of the Panama Audubon Society would like to bring to your attention the threat posed by such a treaty to the Canal Zone's valuable biological resources.
During the current talks between the United States and Panama, there has been no indication that the U.S. negotiators have considered the ecological impact on the Canal Zone of the proposed new treaty. This fact has caused great concern on the part of many persons here, as well as in the States, who realize that the forests of the Canal Zone harbor one of the world's richest treasures of tropical bird, animal and plant life. Robert S. Ridgely, ornithologist and author of A Guide to the Birds of Panama, describes the Canal Zone as "a naturalist's paradise... ..(with)probably the most extensive, readily accessible lowland forests in Middle America."
It is our understanding that under United States law the State Department should have prepared an Environmental Impact: Statement prior to entering into negotiations with Panama to change the political status of the Canal Zone. to our knowledge, was not done. Considering Panama's almost total disregard of environmental conservation within the area of the Republic, there can be little doubt that Panamanian control of Canal Zone lands would pose a grave threat to the survival of the Zone's forests and their wildlife populations. Their destruction would be a great loss to mankind. Equally important, removal of the forests would have a disastrous effect upon the operation of the Canal itself, reducing the precipitation so vital to the Canal's water supply and promoting rapid erosion of the floodplain and silting of Canal channels.
We, therefore, urge you and your subcommittee to give serious consideration to the ecological implications of the proposed Canal Treaty. For whatever further information it may provide on the subject, I am enclosing a copy of the letter I sent to President Carter on June 21, 1977, plus a copy of the reply I received from Mr. Hodding Carter of the State Department.
We wish you and your fellow senators success in the task you are undertaking, and hope for your support in our efforts to preserve the Canal Zone's important environmental
June 21, 1977
President Jimmy Carter
Doar President Carton
I an writing to you because I know that you are deeply concerned about conservation and the preservation of our natural environment for future generations on this earth. Everything you have said and done in this area since taking office has been very encouraging, from your wise energy conservation policies and your efforts to reduce spending on wasteful water projects to your recent strong environment message supporting many important conservation goals.
For these reasons, I feel sure that you will be receptive to this urgent plea for your help in dealing with an inpending environmental disaster here in the Panama Canal Zone.
With the political tensions that have developed around the current treaty nogotiations, it is difficult to talk about Canal Zone matters in anything but a political context. However, my concern is not with political questions but with the need to save for posterity one of the world's few remaining and relatively unspoiled tropical forest ecosystems. The concern of many conservation-minded persons in the Canal Zone has grown steadily in recent months as the canal treaty talks have gained momentum for there bas been no indication whatsoever that the negotiators, on either side, have considered environmental questions.
It is my understanding that the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 would require the preparation of an environmental impact statement evaluating the probable effects upon the Canal Zone's environment of the proposed new treaty with Panama. Certainly such a statement should include a realistic assessment of the value and extent of tropical wildlife resources and how they will be affected by the treaty's provisions. Among the hundreds of bird and animal species found here are a number that are considered endangered species and should receive the same protection in the Canal Zone that is given endangered species, and their habitats, in the United States under the Endangered Species Act passed by Congress in 1973.