- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2000

Chicken and veggies

You might have read where chicken magnate Frank Perdue was hospitalized in serious condition last week after a traffic accident on Maryland's Eastern Shore, where Perdue Farms Inc. is headquartered.

Well, amid the stack of get-well cards the recovering 79-year-old Mr. Perdue opened, we're told, was one from Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

"I heard that you were in an accident," Miss Newkirk wrote. "I called [the hospital] last night and found that you had been released from intensive care. I hope you are not in pain and that you are healing well."

(You can guess where this card is going).

"Were you scared? Was the pain awful? Did you perhaps think, if only for a moment, how it must be for the millions of little life forms you have deliberately scared out of their minds, injured, and killed over the years?

"A chicken is like you in a lot of ways," she told Mr. Perdue, sending him in lieu of flowers a box of vegetarian patties.

Church and social

It's the Rev. Daniel P. Coughlin's first public appearance since filling the suddenly controversial post of chaplain of the House of Representatives the Republican National Committee this evening hosting a 5:30 Mass and reception for the Catholic priest at St. Peter's Church on Capitol Hill.

Pews, no doubt, will be filled with politicians Republicans more than Democrats, ironically, given the recent rhetoric surrounding the appointment.

Father Coughlin is Congress' first-ever Catholic chaplain, named to the post only after Democrats spent weeks accusing Republicans of being anti-Catholic.

Among the well-wishers expected at Mass: Thomas P. Melady, ambassador to the Vatican under President Bush.

Behold golden arches

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright was sporting another secretary's hat yesterday.

Participating in a World Resources Institute/National Defense University "Earth Day" event at Fort McNair, Mrs. Albright said too many people are using too much land, polluting too much water, consuming too much energy, emitting too many chemicals into the air, and crowding too many creatures into extinction, "a relentless trend that is both local and global."

"I have a farm over near the border with West Virginia," she said. "Not that long ago, the drive to it passed mostly trees and open land. Now, there are mostly malls, town homes and fast-food joints."

Divot replacement?

In "celebration" of Earth Day 2000," bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response may undertake "at least one hour" of environmental volunteer service on Uncle Sam's dime.

In a memo, EPA Assistant Administrator Timothy Fields Jr. suggests activities like "cleaning up a stream" or discussing the environment with a group of schoolchildren.

EPA policy, he notes, authorizes supervisors to approve a limited amount of excused absence per year during normal working hours for volunteer activities.

"Of course, excused absence, as always, for volunteer activity is a matter of supervisory discretion," Mr. Fields adds, "so discuss your proposed volunteer activity and anticipated excused absence with your supervisor prior to scheduling."

Now they know

We see where Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage, Idaho Republican, has written the introduction for the 2000 edition of the National Directory of Environmental and Regulatory Victims, a publication listing 100 stories of personal tragedy resulting from excessive or unreasonable regulation.

"Most Americans don't know about these abuses," says Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage, who's made anti-regulatory abuse her congressional crusade.

The directory arrives on Capitol Hill just days before the 30th anniversary of Earth Day 2000 on April 22, a date intended to raise environmental awareness, not serve as a reminder that even the best-intentioned regulations can have unintended effects.

"No one disputes the value of clean air, clean water and abundant wildlife," says the directory's author, John Carlisle, director of the Environmental Policy Task Force. "But our heavy-handed system … ruins the lives of people who have done nothing to hurt the environment."

Among the 100 examples, a local couple named John and Anita Mastandrea, of Easton, Md. They built a brick path on their own property, 25-feet inland from a creek running behind their home, so their 19-year-old daughter, Leah, confined to a wheelchair by muscular dystrophy, could enjoy her back yard.

But last June, three years after the brick walk was built, the Talbot County Circuit Court ruled much of the path violated Maryland's Critical Areas Act, which forbids almost all construction with 100 feet of the water line.

Calling it "one of the most unpleasant cases I've had the misfortune to rule on," Circuit Judge William Horne ordered that most of the path be torn up within the year.

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