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Thread: House Votes to Bulldoze Heart of Alaska's Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

  1. #1

    Default House Votes to Bulldoze Heart of Alaska's Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

    For Immediate Release, July 20, 2017

    Contact: Randi Spivak, (310) 779-4894, rspivak@biologicaldiversity.org

    House Votes to Bulldoze Heart of Alaska's Izembek National Wildlife Refuge

    Bill Is Part of Broad GOP Anti-public-lands Agenda

    WASHINGTON— The House of Representatives approved legislation today that would trade away hundreds of acres, including congressionally designated wilderness in Alaska's Izembek National Wildlife Refuge to construct an unnecessary, harmful and expensive road through the heart of the refuge.

    After extensive study the Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concluded that building a road through the refuge would result in significant, long-term, irreparable damage to the refuge's extensive fish and wildlife habitats. The Izembek is America's most ecologically significant wildlife refuge, home to world-class wetlands that support millions of migrating birds as well as grizzly bears and salmon.

    “This would set a very dangerous precedent in a breathtakingly beautiful and important place,” said Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “People in Congress who want to give away our public lands won't stop with Izembek. If they get a road bulldozed through this pristine wildlife refuge, it'll open the floodgates for undermining other public lands across the country.”

    H.R. 218, sponsored by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), would exchange 206 acres from this globally important wildlife refuge for lower-value state lands to allow construction of a road connecting the towns of King Cove and Cold Bay. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R- Alaska) has introduced a Senate companion bill, S. 101. While larger in acreage, the lands being offered in exchange would not come close to making up for the loss of the world-class habitat found only in the Izembek lagoon complex, since they do not contain any eelgrass and little waterfowl habitat.

    Young is using a legislative trick to deny public input. By stating that the land swap is not a “major federal action,” his bill denies the public its right to have input on the project. A long list of local and national officials opposes the bill because of its cost, the irreversible damage it would do to wildlife and habitat, and the precedent it would set.

    “Rep. Young is one of the members of Congress trying hardest to destroy America's public lands,” said Spivak. “His bill plays into the most extreme anti-public-lands agenda. The unfortunate passage of this bill goes against the values of most Americans, who overwhelmingly support the protection and preservation of our public lands for future generations.”

    In the first five months of the 115th Congress, Republicans have introduced more than 45 bills that attack public lands, weaken environmental safeguards on those lands or turn over control to states and local governments. These attacks come despite the fact that the vast majority of voters across political parties support protecting and maintaining forests, national parks, monuments and other public lands and waters.

    Background
    The federal government has repeatedly studied a proposed land swap and road through the refuge and consistently rejected the project because of its devastating effects on the refuge's ecological resources and wilderness.

    Izembek's lagoon complex is a globally important ecosystem that contains one of the largest eelgrass beds in the world, providing food and habitat for fish and crabs that feed migratory birds from multiple continents. Virtually the entire world populations of Pacific black brant and emperor geese, and a significant number of threatened Steller's eiders, visit the refuge to rest and feed during spring and fall migrations.

    The Department of the Interior determined that these birds would be particularly vulnerable to impacts from road construction and operation on the narrow isthmus. A road across the isthmus would also harm brown bears and caribou.

    The push for this road is not about health-care transport; it's about privatizing public lands for profit from a seafood venture.. Congress has previously determined that a road though Izembek's wilderness is not in the public interest. In 1998 it passed the King Cove Health and Safety Act that rejected a road proposal and instead provided $37.5 million to upgrade King Cove's medical facilities, improve the airstrip in King Cove, purchase a hovercraft and construct marine terminals in King Cove and Cold Bay. Another $13 million in federal funds was appropriated in 2009. There is ample documented evidence that the road proponents want the road to transport seafood from King Cove to Cold Bay's airport.

    The hovercraft successfully completed more than 30 medevac transports in as little as 20 minutes in virtually all kinds of weather. Despite the Mayor of the Aleutians East Borough calling the hovercraft a “lifesaving machine,” in 2010 AEB stopped using the craft for medevac claiming it was unreliable and citing maintenance costs of $1 million annually. They now use it to transport seasonal workers to the Trident Seafood plant, while paying $2.5 million a year in maintenance.

    By contrast, transport by road would be a two-hour trip and the road could only be used in good weather. This area has frequent violent storms. Further, the Army Corps of Engineers' assessment of non-road alternatives also concluded that marine transport via ferry is the most dependable transport, over 99 percent reliable.

    https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/...07-20-2017.php

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-...8%22%5D%7D&r=1

  2. #2

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    All these Republican politicians seem to care about is power and profit. Maybe it's because they believe that all this stuff was put there by God for them to exploit.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Natural Lefty View Post
    All these Republican politicians seem to care about is power and profit. Maybe it's because they believe that all this stuff was put there by God for them to exploit.
    You answered your own question. Greed and mostly power is what it's always been about. How much damn money do you really need until you should just start feeding and educating the rest of the world to make it better. Good grief. The Republicans are still self imposing the greatest transfer of wealth in history and some people seem to believe that will help us working class stiffs. WAKE UP people. These people did not get to be billionaires by sharing 'trickling down' their money. They may share with their 'stock holders', but over half of the country do not own stocks. As for the better pay and more jobs, who do you think is overseas now and fighting against higher minimum wages? The same ones taking corporate welfare for their employees while boasting record profits and stocks. This was a failed experiment by Ronald Reagan that they have resurrected to steal as much money from the American people as humanly possible while in charge and nobody to stop them. How any person with a speck of rational thinking ability would think that what they've been doing is good for the country really needs to look in the 'world wide' mirror.
    I was raised in a Republican family, but as I got older and saw for myself how it affects me, I have slowly moved left of center. I still cannot stand the far left any more than the far right, but the Republicans are destructive and dangerous and the hypocrisy displayed has made me a permanent non believer in the Republican Party. I've also never felt I needed to own a gun to protect my family until now and that bothers me immensely. I'm also pro 2nd Amendment, but feel we have to address the elephant in the room with better controls and not just bans, it's too late for that. Just better checks, balances and laws.

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    I totally agree, Brent.

    I was raised by Republican parents too, but all 4 of my grandparents were FDR Democrats. Honestly, I could never understand why my parents were Republicans. Rebelling against their own parents? That's the best that I can come up with, and my parents were not rebellious types. Also, the Republican Party transformed before their eyes, and they eventually became disenchanted with it. They voted for Obama and really were social liberals, if not economic. I knew I was liberal from the time in my childhood when Ronnie Raygun was governor and I could not stand him. My brothers are both liberals too. It's strange how the family dynamics of politics works out sometimes.

  5. #5
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    Isn't the Center for Biological Diversity the entity that sued our DFG and thus eliminated the stocking of trout from many local streams and creeks?



    Or am i embracing my inner Fox News and talkin' outta my ahole?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkShadow View Post
    Isn't the Center for Biological Diversity the entity that sued our DFG and thus eliminated the stocking of trout from many local streams and creeks?



    Or am i embracing my inner Fox News and talkin' outta my ahole?
    You and I had a pretty legitimate side-conversation about this, and I've deleted my last post because of it.

    I do think we should bring that conversation here. Particularly how in California, resource mismanagement and unyielding opposing view lead to litigation which ultimately overreaches, beyond what was originally intended.

    -LQ
    Last edited by Lady Quagga; 12-19-2017 at 03:36 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Quagga View Post
    You and I had a pretty legitimate side-conversation about this, and I've deleted my last post because of it.

    I do think we should bring that conversation here. Particularly how in California, resource mismanagement and unyielding opposing view lead to litigation which ultimately overreaches, beyond what was originally intended.

    -LQ
    Can't I just call you a snowflake and ask you to "deal with it" then ask you if you believe everything that you read?

    Or shall we wait until the Chucksters shows up?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkShadow View Post
    Can't I just call you a snowflake and ask you to "deal with it" then ask you if you believe everything that you read?

    Or shall we wait until the Chucksters shows up?
    Haha, you confuse me with Chuckles himself.

    In a case like this, it helps to have multiple sources.

    AND SO:




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