Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wildlife Refuges

I believe that in another post I indicated that I had decided when I started this blog that I would not address politics. There are a gazillion blogs and other resources for politics, and they do it far better than I could ever hope to. However, on reflection, I'm going to amend my no politics rule, to read, unless it impacts or affects birding and nature.

I strongly believe that our national wildlife refuge system is one of the most wonderful assets of our country. A post over at Refuge Watch today torques my jaw sideways.

Back in 2003, the National Wildlife Refuge System celebrated its centennial anniversary with various events held around the country that showcased the amazing collection of 535+ refuges that formed the System. Many laudatory speeches were made at that time, including ones by former Secretary of Interior Gale Norton and President George W. Bush, during which they applauded the many benefits of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Now four years later, the Bush administration is pursuing its agenda to cut 565 jobs from the Refuge System — a 20% reduction — which will result in over 200 refuges having no staff at all and many visitor services and conservation programs ceasing to exist. (emphasis supplied)

This is a friggin' travesty. (yeah I know, why don't I say how I really feel about it?)

The article goes on to discuss the documented positive financial impact on the communities in the area of the wildlife refuges. The article ends by saying

Contact your representative and senators today, and remind them that you support a budget increase for the Refuge System. The annual increase that the Refuge System needs each year to keep up with inflation — $15 million — is what we spend in Iraq about every two hours. Americans can afford to invest more in this vital federal land system.

On my budget, and probably the budget of anyone reading this blog, $15 million sounds like a chunk of change. But in government spending it is less than the equivalent of whatever small change we might find in our pocket at any given moment.

I'll be calling my representative and senators in the morning, will you?

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