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SUV Owners of America Call on Attorney General Ashcroft To Take Action Against Escalating Domestic Eco-Terrorism

Statement Attributable to Ron DeFore, SUVOA Communications Director

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 -- Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America (SUVOA) today called on Attorney General John Ashcroft and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge to step up intelligence and federal enforcement action against The Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a militant environmental group, that today defiantly took responsibility for destroying sport utility vehicles (SUVs) at a Santa Fe, NM Land Rover dealership, and U.S. Forest Service construction equipment.

The President told the nation, 'We have the terrorists on the run. We're keeping them on the run. One by one, the terrorists are learning the meaning of American justice.' Unfortunately within our borders a roving band of eco- terrorists is indeed on the run -- to the next SUV dealership or owner that they have targeted for devastation.

This is just the latest in an escalating series of attacks aimed at SUV owners and businesses by eco-terrorists that operate with impunity from within our borders. It's just a matter of time before their actions cause personal injuries or loss of life.

While security is heightened at airports and countless other vulnerable facilities around the nation, we must not overlook organized terrorism not linked to al Qaeda but threatening domestic security just the same. Terrorism is terrorism, plain and simple. If we are truly at war against terrorism of all kinds, increased federal resources must be brought to bear against this dangerous organization.

The group this week released a list claiming responsibility for 75 such acts of domestic terrorism and claimed responsibility for some 75 other domestic terrorist acts around the country. To date, SUVs have been destroyed at dealerships in California, Texas and Virginia, in addition to the latest incident in New Mexico. On its Web site, the group boasts of causing upward of $55 million in damages for acts of terrorism.

Last week, in Richmond, VA three men pleaded guilty to vandalizing SUVs at construction sites and fast food restaurants. They admitted that their actions were conducted on behalf of ELF. Their criminal acts caused more than $200,000 in damages to SUV owners and businesses.

The FBI, which considers the Earth Liberation Front as its No. 1 domestic terrorism priority, is offering up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the vandalism to the Santa Fe Land Rover dealership.

SUV owners should not let these cowardly acts shake their confidence in their choice of vehicles which are among the safest available, in addition to providing them with exceptional versatility.

SUVOA was formed to give voice to the 24 million SUV owners whose rights are being trampled by special interest and activist groups, as well as to provide consumers with practical information about their SUVs. Founded in 1999, the group actively defends the rights of SUV owners and rebuts false charges regarding the safety and environmental record of SUVs. For more information, visit .