A two-and-a-half year escalation of acts of so-called eco-terrorism began to slow down last summer — but inquiries into the acts have sped up, as federal lawmakers have used Sept. 11 as a reason to go after eco-terrorists with unprecedented energy. Last month, you could have been forgiven for confusing a congressional hearing on eco-terrorism with one on Al Qaeda. Speaking of organizations like the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front, Rep. James Hansen (R-Utah), said, “They hate American freedoms, including … the freedom to prosper. They will commit arson, vandalism, and set bombs to express their hatred for our freedoms.” And referring to other environmental organizations that have been accused of providing legal or financial support to eco-terrorists, Rep. George Nethercutt, Jr., (R-Wash.), said, “Financing and harboring terrorists is no different from directly committing the acts. These dangerous and misguided zealots must be left without aid or comfort.”