UA student to speak out against Prop. 300 at environmental caucus

By Joseph Altman Jr.

Arizona Daily Wildcat

A UA student will be one of 1,000 students from across the country present at an Emergency Campus Environmental Conference in Philadelphia this weekend.

Alaina Levine, an undeclared sophomore, will be at the Earth Day '95: Free The Planet conference at the University of Pennsylvania today through Sunday.

The main purpose of the conference is to take action "to stop the new Congress' assault on our environment," according to a brochure describing the conference.

Sharon Aller, director of the University of Arizona Recycling Office, said, "It's an emergency caucus of college and university environmentalists to look at the Republican agenda in progress and monitor the threat to the Endangered Species Act, clean water laws and air quality laws."

Levine said students at the conference will concentrate on three things: making preparations for the 25th anniversary of Earth Day this year, discussing lobbying efforts for the clean air and clean water acts, and stopping efforts to allow takings.

Takings, the subject of Proposition 300 in November's general election, would allow a property owner to receive compensation if they felt their property rights had been taken away, Levine said.

Levine will be speaking about takings at the conference, because she helped fight against the proposition in Arizona, she said.

She said takings would allow property owners to sue the government if they felt their rights were violated by laws such as the clean water or clean air acts.

"Takings affect so many things health, safety and civil rights," Levine said.

She explained that a business owner could sue the state for restitution if a law said the business had to follow safety guidelines. The business owner could argue that the regulation costs them money, and sue the state.

"It makes people pay for enforcement," Levine said, referring to the taxpayers.

Although Proposition 300 did not pass in Arizona, other states, including Texas, have it on the ballot, and the Arizona Legislature is currently trying to push the proposition through again because of special interest groups, Levine said.

"They call it 'private property rights,' but we already have protections (against taking private property)," she said.

Levine has also been actively working in the UA Recycling Office, and is the recycling coordinator for the Residence Hall Association. She is also involved with Campus Green Vote, an organization of college environmentalists, and has attended training sessions on making the campus better for the environment.

Aller said she is very pleased with Levine's efforts and especially about her recent invitation to the Pittsburgh conference.

"It's an honor for this university to have a single person chosen to attend," Aller said.

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