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July 13, 1985 - Image 5

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Michigan Daily, 1985-07-13

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OPINION

The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCV, No. 30-S
95 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by Students at
The University of Michigan
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board
Fair play
TT HAS ALWAYS been an unwritten rule that if an
athletic coach doesn't produce a winning team for a
particular school, that coach is encouraged to find another
job. Eastern Michigan University has recently added a
new twist to this unwritten rule. The merit raises for
coaches at Eastern will be based, in part, on stadium at-
tendance, adherence to budget and conference rules, the
academic standing of athletes, and the conference stan-
dings at the end of the year.
Eastern's new plan is unfair to the coaches and may
cause the school to lose several coaches before the plan
takes effect August 1.
The administration at Eastern has put more pressure on
the coaches to produce a winning team, but have neglected
to give them the resources to do it. The problem is that the
athletic resources at Eastern are not equal tdf the resour-
ces available to other schools in their division.
Various sports at Eastern do not have as much money
for recruiting or the newest facilities or the best equip-
ment.
To force the coaches to work under a handicap isn't fair.
This plan will also increase the coach's role as a
cheerleader. Not only will they have to coach and manage
a team, they will have to attract bigger crowds to the stan-
ds.
Too many of the criteria for the raises are out of the
coach's control. The coach can only do so much to influen-
ce the academic standing of an athlete or the year's
schedule. The coach might be tempted to schedule scrim-
mages against weaker teams to assure a winning season.
Eastern has had trouble before with athletics. The foot-
ball team almost lost conference support because ef low
attendance figures. But Eastern was able to gather enough
student and alumni support to raise attendance at the
games. This new proposal casts a shadow on Eastern's
image.
It is a shame that Eastern is attempting to increase their
standing in the conference at the expense of the coaches.

Saturday, July 13, 1985

Page 5

Odd allies save rain forests

By James Ridgeway
WASHINGTON, D.C. - It is one of
Washington's oddest alliances: a
leading conservative senator has
joined environmentalists and an-
thropologists to block further destruc-
tion of Brazil's rain forest, and force
the stolid World Bank to change its
ways.
Their target is the Northwest
Regional Developmental Project -
known in Brazil as Polonoroeste -
which encompasses some 1tt,00
square miles of Amazon jungle in the
states of Rondonia and Matogrosso.
The building of BR-364 - a 900-mile
road that cuts deep into that territory
- was an early stage of the project.
Now, ina nation where 43 percent of
farmland belongs to one percent of
the population, thousands of poor
Brazilians trek BR-364 in search of a
piece of land of their own. Urged by
the Brazilian government to clear
and farm the region, they have come
at the rate of 13,000 a month. Bet-
ween 1978 and 1983, more than a
quarter million would-be farmers
poured into Rondonia via BR-364.
Many have been forced off small
holdings in the south, where rich far-
mland is being reorganized for export
agriculture as part of an effort to
bolster Brazil's foreign exchange and
reduce an enormous foreign debt.
But there is no El Dorado at the end
of BR-364. Instead, newcomers have
found the soil poorly suited to cash
crops like rice and coffee. Despite
government promises, towns never
materialize and vital services -
credit, medical care, schools - are
for the most part insufficient.
Applicants for the tiny parcels of
forest are now backed up two and
three deep. Upon arrival, many of
them find themselves poorer than
when they began their journey. And
still more come.
The project was financed in large
part by the World Bank, which com-
mitted $500 million in seven different
loans. More than half of that money
went to pave the road, the only part of
the project actually to be completed,
and another international lending
agency, the InterAmerican Develop-
ment Bank (IDB), is providing more
money to stretch BR-364 westward in-
to the state of Ocre.
The Anthropology Resource Center
BLOOM COUNTY

and Cultural Survival, both based in
Cambridge, Mass., worried that In-
dians in the Amazon might be
uprooted by Polonoroeste and were
the first to try to stop it. An-
thropologists abroad joined the op-
position, Defenders of Wildlife, and
the Environmental Policy Institute.
Early last fall this coalition per-
suaded New York Democratic
Congressman James Scheuer, head of
the House Subcommittee on Natural
Resources and the Environment, to
conduct hearings and help make their
criticisms public.
Scheuer tried to put some pressure
on the World Bank, but his subcom-
mittee has no direct authority over its
operation. Next, the group wrote A.
W. Clausen, World Bank President,
pointing out the dangers of the project
and arguing that by not applying the
Bank's own environmental
guidelines, the Brazilian government
had violated the terms of the loan.
A World Bank executive responded
by vaguely pledging "needed
modifications" to the project "if and
when appropriate."
That is when Bruce Rich, staff at-
torney for the Natural Resources
Defense Council and principal
strategist in the effort to block the
project, approached Wisconsin
Senator Robert Kasten, the conser-
vative Republican who chairs the
Senate subcommittee with direct con-
trol over World Bank funding. Few
would term Kasten an ardent en-
vironmentalist.
To Rich's surprise, Kasten was not
only sympathetic to the group's
arguments but quickly wrote Clausen
a letter, pointing out that the en-
vironmentalists had "raised a num-
ber of legitimate concerns and
suggested some legitimate ap-

proaches to alleviate those concer-
ns."
The response from World Bank, ac-
cording to Kasten, was a best a brush
off, but more correctly described as
an insult.
Kasten then enlisted to support of
former Treasury Sec. Donald Regan
and later his successor Jim Baker.
For the first time, the World Bank
began to pay attention. In a meeting
that included Clausen, Kasten repor-
tedly ordered Bank bureaucrats to
answer the environmentalists'
questions.
This spring, the Bank abruptly cut
off funding for Polonoroeste. A Bank
spokesperson said the loan was
faulted "by mutual consent" until
Brazil's government could put the
trouble-plagued program "on cour-
se."
At the same time, the U.S.
representative at the IDB began ap-
plying pressure to kill a separate $72
million loan to extend BR-364 still
further into the rain forest. Part of the
loan eventually was vetoed,
Now Kasten and environmentalists
have teamed to fight the World Bank
again, this time in an attempt to block
funds for a huge hydroelectric project
in India, and a transmigration
scheme in Indonesia.
Just how firm the alliance will
remain is not clear. But the environ-
mentalists show few qualms about
their partner's rightwing credentials.
"To tell you the truth," says Bruce
Rich of the Natural Resources Defen-
se Council, "some conservatives like
Kaston are much more straightfor-
ward, and have produced more, than
some of the liberals."
Ridgeway wrote this for Pacific
News Service.

Letters to the Daily should be typed,
triple-spaced, and signed by the in-
dividual authors. Names will be withheld
only in unusual circumstances. Letters
may be edited for clarity, grammar, and
spelling.

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