March 16, 2005

Alaskan Wildlife Refuge

The Senate vote to defeat Senator Cantwell's amendment to protect the Alaskan wildlife refuge went down 51-49, very close, and a dKos diarist has a Plan B.

I didn't write about this the last couple days because our own Senator Cantwell proposed the amendment, and there's no way she out-Democrats our other Senator, Patty Murray. Washingtonians calling their offices wasn't going to tip the balance, I think they both knew the mountain of hate mail that would follow any other vote.

The suggestion to boycott the two gas companies that haven't pledged not to drill in the refuge is interesting. I don't know if that will work, open to argument. There may be some possibility of getting a Senate filibuster going, we'll see how that transpires. My Senators stood with the judicial filibusters, maybe they'll stand up for this. I'll call, you can call, we could still save this beautiful wildlife refuge.

... The oil companies have their sights on the biological heart of the refuge, its Arctic Ocean coastal plain, an area critical to the survival of many birds and mammals. About 160 bird species, including species that visit each of the lower 48 states, find breeding, nesting or resting places on the coastal plain. The plain is the most important on-shore denning area in the United States for polar bears. It is the principal calving ground of the 130,000-strong migratory Porcupine caribou herd, the second largest caribou herd in the United States and a key source of food, clothing and medicine for the Gwich’in Indians, one of the world’s few remaining subsistence cultures. Grizzly bears, wolverines, wolves, arctic foxes, whales and other species also thrive in the region. ...

As much as 90% of the nearby coastline has been developed for oil explaration, and global warming is rapidly degrading the quality of all the arctic habitats. A single tire track in these areas can remain for a decade or more because the soil is so fragile and the plants grow slowly.

It's a treasure that deserves to survive the Bush administration.

Posted by natasha at March 16, 2005 07:45 PM | Environment | Technorati links |

As if the defeat of the Cantwell amendment and the likely subsequent despoiling of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge wasn't bad enough, the Bush Administration has also been working to undercut Poodle Blair's effort to protect the world's dwindling forests.

A secret US plan to wreck Tony Blair's G8 initiative combating illegal logging in the world's threatened rainforests has been revealed in a State Department memo leaked to the BBC's Newsnight programme.

Damn, you hardly have a chance to catch your breath with these people.

Posted by: Bragan at March 17, 2005 09:59 AM