An eco-terrorist group is becoming more active in the Midwest. TheEarth Liberation Front has been attacking developments it feels aredamaging the environment. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s LesterGraham reports:
An eco-terrorist group is becoming more active in the Midwest. The Earth
Liberation Front has been attacking developments it feels is damaging
environment. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham
The ELF has been active in western states since at least 1997. In fact,
in late 1998 the group claimed responsibility for burning down a 12-million
dollar resort complex under construction in Vail, Colorado. Since last
Year’s Eve, the Earth Liberation Front has been active in the Midwest, claiming responsibility for burning an animal research lab at Michigan
University, and hitting several sites around Bloomington, Indiana. John
Dovenmeuhle is the president of the Monroe County Building Association
in Bloomington, where a house was burned earlier this year.
“There’s concerns about it because it is a violent act, you
know, arson. And now we’ve had some spikes that were put in trees, and then
some heavy equipment that’s been destroyed and thousands of dollars—
hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage with those.”
The FBI is investigating the Earth Liberation Front actions as domestic
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.
Front claimed responsibility for burning this house under construction
other sites near Bloomington, Indiana. Photo courtesy Herald-Times, by
Rosebraugh, left, acts as a spokesperson for the E.L.F. He says he is
member of the eco-terrorist group, but supports its goals. Photo
Herald Times, by David Snodgress.
An eco-terrorist group is becoming more active in the Midwest.Until recently, the secretive ”Earth Liberation Front” had chiefly beenactive in Western states, but for the last several months has beenmakingits presence felt in university towns in Michigan and Indiana. TheGreatLakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports on the spate of attacks:
An eco-terrorist group is becoming more active in the Midwest. Until
recently, the secretive “Earth Liberation Front” had chiefly been active
western states, but for the last several months has been making its
felt in university towns in Michigan and Indiana. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Lester Graham reports on the spate of attacks.
The Earth Liberation Front has gained national attention since 1997
a number of violent actions in the west. Including the burning of a
12-million dollar resort complex under construction in Vail, Colorado.
But, in the past several months the group has begun attacking sites in
Midwest. The ELF claimed responsibility for burning an animal research
facility at Michigan State University last new year’s eve. The arson
400-thousand dollars in damage.
Since January, the group has begun hitting sites around Bloomington,
Indiana, home of Indiana University. The first major target was a large
house under construction. This WTIU TV report included comments
owner as he stood in front of his burned home, and the vandalized
construction sign in the yard.
“On it is scrawled ‘NO SPRAWL’ and ‘E.L.F,’ the Earth
Liberation Front, an Oregon-based group that is known for burnings and other
acts against those it considers harmful to the environment. HOMEOWNER ‘I
think that they need to come forward and solve these things the right ways
which is in the court of law, not by violence.’”
The people responsible for the fire have not been caught. They
relay press releases about their actions through a spokesperson named
Rosebraugh. Rosebraugh is based in Portland, Oregon. But, he recently
visited Indiana. Rosebraugh told public tv and radio reporters the
motivation for the ELF’s actions is clear. He said the environmental
movement can no longer rely on legal tactics alone to save the earth.
“Obviously, these are not working. Something else has to be
done. And I would argue, as folks involved in the E.L.F. would argue, direct
action in the form of economic sabotage, targeting entities destroying our
environment, working hand-in-hand with above ground legal tactics is the way
to go now.”
Besides the house arson, the ELF also claimed responsibility for a
half-million dollars worth of damage to heavy equipment used to work
controversial highway extension near Bloomington. And about a month
ELF faxed a statement to media outlets saying trees marked for cutting
the Yellow Wood Indiana State Forest near Bloomington had been
Large metal spikes were driven into the trees to make logging
[start woods sound] John Winne is the assistant property manager at the
“Some conservation officers and the property manager went out and
checked it with a metal detector and found a total of 60 trees that were
Since then timber companies and construction firms have added security.
[hammering sound] if the purpose of the ELF actions is to halt
construction, it’s apparently not working. Construction sites are still
active. The contractor is rebuilding the house that was burned earlier
year. He’s mounted security cameras on the trees at the job site to try
prevent any future sabotage. And, he’s wary of people visiting. He would
grant an on-tape interview, only saying he’d lost weeks of work and
added security costs.
The president of the local building association, John Dovenmuehle says
homebuilders and construction company owners continue building
threat of violence, they’re worried.
“There’s concern that there’s gonna be retaliation again back
to them, that their buildings might be burned, their houses might be burned,
or that their families might be in danger.”
Dovenmuehle says contractors in the area are also confused. They don’t
understand why they’ve been targeted.
“We’re always in compliance with our building codes. Our
contractors go to great lengths trying to learn about greenspace, trees,
landscaping. We’re definitely very concerned about the environment. We just
really go the extra mile.”
Mainstream environmentalists acknowledge the Bloomington, Indiana
contractors are doing a better job than in some other places. But the
environmentalists say sprawl is still a problem around Bloomington,
environmental damage still occurs because of development.
Allison Cochran is the director of the Bloomington-based environmental
group, Heartwood. Cochran says she does not condone the violent
But, she says because many environmentalists feel government planners
contractors show little regard for the environment, she understands
people could be pushed past the point of reasonable protest.
“People are deeply disillusioned with our government, with leaders.
They see a lot of posturing and catering to industry and corporate control.
And so, I can’t help but think that these kinds of activities rise out of
that sense of powerlessness.”
For their part, county officials say they’re using progressive planning
Strategies, that they’re incorporating greenspace in their plans and
protecting the environment.
The fall-out from the ELF’s violent actions is ironic. The sabotaged trees
it hoped to save will be cut down and destroyed so future timber
not hurt by the spikes. More lumber and natural resources were used to
rebuild the burned house. And, perhaps the most damage has been done
environmental movement in the Bloomington area. Environmentalists are
over the ELF’s actions. Some people who’ve worked together on
environmental issues for decades are now not speaking because of
over whether violence is an option to stop environmental destruction.
Meanwhile, the FBI is investigating the Earth Liberation Front’s
actions as domestic terrorism.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham.
Wolf advocates are rejoicing. The gray wolf has made a remarkable comeback in the Great Lakes states. Humans nearly drove them to extinction by the 1960s. But under the strict protection of the Endangered Species Act, gray wolves have slowly rebounded in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. This recovery led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose last week (July 11, 2000) more lenient protections for the wolf. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Rebecca Williams explains what the increased presence of wolves and their new status may mean for the human residents of the Great Lakes region:
A recent Canadian study shows that U.S. shipments of hazardous
industrial waste into Canada have increased dramatically in recent
years. In 1994, it was 100,000 tons. In 1998, shipments increased to
more than 235,000 tons. The majority of this waste comes from nearby
Great Lakes states, with 37 percent coming from Michigan alone. Meanwhile, the
City of Toronto is running out of places to put its residential
garbage. Ironically, landfills in Michigan are topping the city’s list
of options. Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Suzanne Elston
wonders if it isn’t time to stop this trans-border trash trade:
The EPA is using the Great Lakes as a model to clean up waterways across the nation. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports the new push to clean the nation’s rivers and lakes is meeting resistance:
The Wisconsin Historical Society is busy building trails this summer around Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. But if you plan to hike these trails, you’d better have a swimsuit handy. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Mike Simonson has more:
A new study issued by the National Academy of Sciences has confirmed
what many environmentalists have long known – that mercury is persistent
in the environment and that it can be a health risk for some people.
The major sources of mercury are coal burning electric power plants –
many of which dot the shores of the Great Lakes region. The new study
could clear the way to regulate mercury emissions – and reduce the
amount that makes its way into the Great Lakes system. The Great Lakes
Radio Consortium’s Jackie Northam has this report:
Around the region, farmers and consumers are joining together to work
toward a new model for food production- one where consumers support
local farmers by buying a share of their harvest. As the Great Lakes
Radio Consortium’s Wendy Nelson reports, community supported agriculture
is about food and a whole lot more:
Do the media make or break environmental issues? That has been hotly
debated for years. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Julie Halpert
takes a look at the role the media play in bringing major environmental
stories to light:
For years many well-intentioned Americans have been patiently sorting
their glass and paper, before placing it on the curb for recycling.
Recycling, once looked down upon, has become fashionable. As a result,
materials that once went to the landfill are now being recycled into new
products. But as Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Suzanne
Elston says, all that effort just isn’t enough: