Magazine article State Legislatures

Eco-Terrorists Take Toll

Magazine article State Legislatures

Eco-Terrorists Take Toll

Article excerpt

No place is safe--not urban centers nor rural towns--from attacks of "domestic terrorists."

According to the FBI, since 1977 some 1,000 crimes in the name of the environment or animal rights have caused $100 million in damages.

Recently, the rhetoric has grown bolder and attacks more destructive. Organizations such as Earth First, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and Earth Liberation Front have torched luxury homes, condominiums and ski resorts from New York to Colorado to California; destroyed agricultural research plots; freed caged animals; and vandalized expensive fur coats.

Arsonists set fire to the agricultural hall at Michigan State University in 1999 to protest biotech developments. Damage totaled $1 million. Fires in empty luxury homes in rural areas of California, New York and Pennsylvania have cost several million in the past year. In San Diego, where fires decimated four homes under construction in an upscale neighborhood, culprits erected a sign opposing development. SUV dealerships were vandalized in Los Angeles and Santa Cruz, Calif., to protest "gas guzzling" vehicles and their contribution to air pollution.

Earth Liberation Front, one of the more violent eco-terrorist groups that began in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, has moved to cities. It claims responsibility for a string of arsons in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Detroit, San Diego and Philadelphia over the past 12 months. The group is the FBI's No. 1 domestic terrorism priority. …

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