Date: 9/21/17 10:41 pm
From: Russ Oates (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Follow up #1 on "Important conservation issues" (August 23 posting)
Betsy Kane, Maggie Strickland, Dennis Burnette, et al,

Thank you very much for your interest in these conservation issues!

In response to your request for contact information, I am excerpting some
information from my earlier email *that relates to an issue that is in play
right now.* I'm sad to say I learned tonight that the initial public
comment period (to the Bureau of Land Management) on a different issue, the
threat to the Teshekpuk Lake Goose Molting Area, closed on September 7. I
will let you know if I learn of any future opportunities to comment on
this. I will try to keep abreast of the other issues and let you know when
and whom to contact.

The current issue:

*Issue:* Opening the Coastal Plain (commonly referred to as the “1002 {ten
oh two} area”) of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil
exploration and development.

*Desired outcome:* Stop the current administrative action. Ultimately, we
should protect the entire Coastal Plain area of Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge with wilderness designation.

*Status:* The Secretary of Interior has sent a memorandum the the Acting
Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service instructing him to rescind the
regulations prohibiting further oil exploration on the coastal plain of the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Acting Director, in turn, has
instructed the Alaska Regional Director to amend the regulations to allow
for the resumption of exploration. This is the first step in the process.
Congress will have to pass a law opening the Refuge to actual oil
development. Thus, this action can and should be fought in the Department
of Interior and the US Congress. *Calls or letters to the Secretary of
Interior should occur now. *Calls to your US Senators (NC: Thom Tillis
202-224-6342 <%28202%29%20224-6342>, Richard Burr 202-224-3154
<%28202%29%20224-3154>, SC: Lindsay Graham 202-224-5972
<%28202%29%20224-5972>*, *Tim Scott 202-224-6121 <%28202%29%20224-6121>)
should be made when the legislation is before the Senate. I will notify
you when this occurs if I learn about it in time.

*Background:* (Key points in *bold* below) The coastal plain portion of
ANWR is approximately 1.5 million acres in size, and represents about 5% of
the coastal plain north of the Brooks Range. Most of the 95% not within
the Refuge is already open for oil exploration and development. Why would
it hurt to develop the coastal plain portion of the Refuge? The coastal
plain is *the* calving area for the 150,000-strong Porcupine Caribou Herd,
a herd that is key to the coastal plain ecosystem and a vitally important
subsistence resource for the Gwichin Athabascan Indians that live south of
the Brooks Range in Alaska and Yukon Territories (where this caribou herd
winters). The herd concentrates on the Arctic coastal plain during a mass
birthing in late June/early July, and the cows tend to their young and try
to protect them from a whole host of predators (brown bears, wolves,
wolverines, and Golden Eagles converge for this annual feast.) The caribou
are also an important subsistence resource (second to bowhead whales) for
the Inupiat Eskimos of the Alaska North Slope. Despite the deliberate
misrepresentations of the affected area (particularly by former Secretary
of Interior under George W. Bush) and research done on caribou response to
oil pipelines (by multiple pro-development administrations), a prominent
caribou researcher told me that *pregnant female caribou and females with
calves stay away from oil pipelines (based on work done in the Prudhoe Bay
area). A spider web of pipelines connecting production wells, and
associated structures and airfields, would likely cause the abandonment of
the calving area and have dire long-term consequences for the herd and
associated predator populations (not to mention the subsistence hunters).
The coastal plain is also an important migration area for Yellow-billed
Loons (Endangered Species Act Candidate Species) and nesting and migration
habitat for a host of different shorebird species (for example:
Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Black-bellied Plover, American Golden Plover,
Semipalmated Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper, Semi-palmated Sandpiper,
Long-billed Dowitcher, Stilt Sandpiper, Red and Red-necked Phalaropes,
Bar-tailed Godwit, and Baird’s Sandpiper.) The coastal plain is important
in some years for as many as 350,000 Lesser Snow Geese (that nested in a
western Canada colony) to fatten on sedge rhizomes before migrating south.
*
*Bottom line: Oil development on the coastal plain of the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge would be very detrimental to the calving area of the
Porcupine Caribou Herd. This herd is vital to the coastal plain ecosystem
and thus must be protected as mandated by the Refuge enacting legislation.*



I agree with much of what Dennis Burnette said about Audubon. Audubon's
(and I never worked for them either) National Office and both of their
State Offices that I have worked with (Alaska for decades and only very
recently NC), are top notch. Audubon Alaska, who I partnered with
frequently when I was working for USFWS, had (and still has) truly
outstanding leadership and very talented staff. I credit them with playing
a crucial role in protecting the Teshekpuk Lake Goose Molting Area. They
continue to provide timely alerts on pending legislation and Executive
Branch actions and do a great job of describing the issues. You can Google
Audubon Alaska for more complete information.

We are now in a time when the threats to conservation (and to the survival
of life on Earth) are being initiated, encouraged, and enabled by THE MOST
HOSTILE ADMINISTRATION BY FAR that I have ever seen! As the Cabinet
members gain their footing and reveal their policies, and the
anti-environment measures in developing legislation in the US Congress come
to light, we find ourselves with an Administration that has no inkling of
the implications of what they are doing. They appear to feel no
responsibility for future generations or for the health of the planet. I
think we have to fight for our children and grandchildren. That is why I
am doing this.

I thank you (as do my 2 children and 2 grandchildren) for anything you can
do to help.

Russ Oates
Burnsville, NC



--
*Conserve wild things, protect wild places.*

to Carolinabirds

[image: Description: https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__mail.google.com_mail_u_0_images_cleardot.gif&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=ymRCw6Q-sBitug_rdeO1Tokz-I_SX2LQN2_Ocvlal9U&m=r1VmkKiKdKr96s7tdMnfmVjv_84nCEMZ3LqzmXm2RgA&s=CSf00UkonzTvQ_h34nhcVqrPeeZrBBAF_HFr0-hnkSU&e= ]

National Audubon Society sends out Action Alerts on issues that affect
birds and wildlife habitats. The alerts usually summarize the issues and
suggest steps members can take. One of the cool things about Audubon is
that the enormous national membership spans the whole political spectrum.
There are state Audubon offices both in North Carolina and South Carolina
that send out alerts of more regional interest. Joining National Audubon
automatically confers membership in a local chapter, if there is one
nearby. (There are 9 chapters in North Carolina and 6 in South Carolina.)
Even if there isn’t a chapter nearby, a national member still can get
action alerts and be active in conservation. Membership is only $20 a year.
The National Audubon Society website is https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.audubon.org_&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=ymRCw6Q-sBitug_rdeO1Tokz-I_SX2LQN2_Ocvlal9U&m=r1VmkKiKdKr96s7tdMnfmVjv_84nCEMZ3LqzmXm2RgA&s=wWwQM8j2OoNtoU1diu8Bz_KRoFy-92OcgmbF4an7cbc&e= ; click on
“Conservation” to see a pull down menu describing all the good work Audubon
is doing. Audubon NC and Audubon SC are very active in conservation at a
more local level. The websites are https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__nc.audubon.org_&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=ymRCw6Q-sBitug_rdeO1Tokz-I_SX2LQN2_Ocvlal9U&m=r1VmkKiKdKr96s7tdMnfmVjv_84nCEMZ3LqzmXm2RgA&s=Ho2IgkiB6Vc0NFFpLF0_N5PtGfvZdrR_Gzh_npopd4I&e= and
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__sc.audubon.org_&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=ymRCw6Q-sBitug_rdeO1Tokz-I_SX2LQN2_Ocvlal9U&m=r1VmkKiKdKr96s7tdMnfmVjv_84nCEMZ3LqzmXm2RgA&s=NwCPqyM_V6NQzJxAem1zM0M0gLLvV1FZlQrOyzmRAEM&e= . The websites have a wealth of information about
conservation activities in each state. Clicking on the words under the
banners will provide a quick tour of what’s going on.



By the way, I don’t work for Audubon, I’m just an active member of my local
chapter.



Dennis

--

Dennis Burnette

Greensboro, NC

Guilford County

<deburnette...>



*From: *<carolinabirds-request...> on behalf of Carolinabirds
<carolinabirds...>
du <carolinabirds...>>
*Reply-To: *Betsy Kane <oldurbanist...>
*Date: *Thursday, August 24, 2017 at 12:37 PM
*To: *Russ Oates <rmoates54...>
*Cc: *Maggie Strickland <gallinasviejas...>, Carolinabirds <
<carolinabirds...>
*Subject: *Re: Important conservation issues



Russ,



Thank you for these details. I want to take action, but I don't have time
to dig deep into the issues or figure out the process from scratch, as I am
committed to other efforts. Would it be possible for you to advise, or can
someone you k now advise, on specific actions to be taken when the time is
right? I would be extremely grateful and ready to call or submit comments
if I could know 1) what to say (very briefly) 2) when to say it, and 3)
who to say it to.



Betsy Kane

Raleigh



On Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 8:30 AM, Russ Oates <carolinabirds...> wrote:

Maggie,

Thank you for your response. You are absolutely right about the EPA. I
was remiss in omitting the EPA from my comments on "Continuity of Executive
Branch Natural Resource Management." Administrator Pruitt is intent on
destroying the agency. His efforts to remove science from the dec ision
making process are dumbfounding. We should prepare for deadly smog and
burning rivers....the clock is turning back to the 1950s.

Truly overwhelming...

Russ



On Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 7:46 AM, Maggie Strickland <gallinasviejas...>
wrote:

Russ,

Thank you so much for this clear and specific information. While most of my
recent contacts with our senators and representatives has concerned other
matters, I am horrified at the sweeping changes at the EPA. The wholesale
retreat from preservation and conservation is so disheartening. I promise I
will take action on these issues.



Sincerely,

Maggie Strickland

Harmony, Maine






On Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 8:39 PM, Russ Oates <carolinabirds...> wrote:

CBC Members,



There are several nationally or internationally important bird-related
issues in Alaska that are currently approaching decision points in the
Congress and/or the Executive Branch. Given the anti-conservation
statements and actions of the current Administration and the likely
willingness by the Congress to follow suit, I am asking you to review these
issues and to consider contacting the appropriate Executive Branch agencies
and especially your US Congressional delegation to encourage them to act on
the side of responsible conservation. Many of these issues will be decided
in the US Senate. Currently-proposed legislation and executive actions
will cause irreparable damage to Important Bird Areas. Much is at stake.



A significant proportion of members from both parties in Congress are
conservationists at heart but the Republicans will be under severe pressure
to roll back environmental protections nationwide. We only need 3
Republican senators to vote against an ill-advised development project or
management action to block it, so your calls or letters to your US
Congressional Delegation could be crucial.



Alaska is a hugely-important nesting area for birds from all four North
American flyways (especially Pacific and Central) as well as the East
Asia/Australasia and East Asia/East Africa flyways. Bird band reports
(returns) have shown that some of the Tundra Swans and at least 4 species
of ducks that breed in Alaska also spend the winter in NC. Although I
couldn’t easily check banding data for other species, AK and NC share at
least 16 species of shorebirds. Also, Alaska has historically been a safe
haven for species depleted elsewhere in their ranges (for example: Bald
Eagles, Trumpeter Swans, Peregrine Falcons) and for many years provided
eggs and/or young to the lower 48 states for restoration.



I present each issue by identifying it, followed by the desired outcome.
This will be followed by a brief explanation of what’s at stake and why
there is an issue. If you need more information, you can Google Audubon
Alaska or the names of the locations of concern.



*ISSUES:*



1) *Issue:* Beaufort/Chukchi Sea (off the north shore of Alaska) offshore
petroleum drilling.

*Desired outcome:* Block offshore development in Chukchi and Beaufort
seas.



I know of no oil spill anywhere in an area of broken or solid ice cover on
marine water that was effectively cleaned up or even contained. *Current
spill clean up technology doesn’t work in ice-choked waters. * Historically,
ice has been present in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas more than 200 days
per year. In addition to the threats to whales, seals, and polar bears, an
offshore or nearshore spill occurring in late winter or early spring poses
a tremendous threat to at least 2 million spring-migrating Long-tailed
Ducks and King and Common eiders. Also threatened would be Endangered
Species Act (ESA)-listed “Threatened” Spectacled and Steller’s eiders (the
entire North American breeding population of Steller’s Eiders) and ESA
listed “Warranted But Precluded” Yellow-billed Loon. Large numbers of many
species of shorebirds, gulls, terns, and jaegers would be at risk from
floating oil and oiled shorelines. Here is the nightmare scenario: We
know that essentially all of the bird species mentioned move to northern
breeding grounds as early in spring as conditions will allow. These birds
fly north along the Bering Sea coastline and turn east into the Chukchi,
using any open water patches to rest and feed while enroute to their
breeding grounds in arctic Alaska and Canada. If a spill occurs at an
offshore rig or seabed pipeline in late winter or early spring, the
floating portion of the spill could be waiting as a death trap there for
the migrating birds. This could affect tens to hundreds of thousands of
birds and there could be no way to stop the spill, clean up the spill, or
rescue birds. There is clearly potential for population level impacts on
several species (at a minimum: King Eider, Spectacled Eider, Steller’s
Eider, Common Eider, Yellow-billed Loon).



2) *Issue:* Opening the Teshekpuk Lake Goose Molting area to oil
development. *Desired outcome:* Maintain the moratorium on development of
this area.



Teshekpuk Lake, the second-largest lake in Alaska, is located within the
23.5 million acre National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska (NPRA, administered by
Bureau of Land Management), and sits about 15 miles south of the western
Beaufort Sea coastline (175 miles west of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge).
The 200+ lakes loosely clustered between Teshekpuk Lake and the coastline
constitute the largest arctic goose molting resort in North America,
supporting multiple species of flightless molting birds (Mid-continent
White-fronted Geese, Pacific Black Brant, Lesser Snow Geese, and Cackling
Geese) for several critical months each summer. Frequently, up to 100,000
geese molt in these lakes. During the annual wing molt, these birds are
exceptionally sensitive to disturbance, and an on-the-ground research
scientist during the 1970s reported birds reacting (avoidance behavior) to
a person walking across the board-flat tundra at a distance of one mile.
With that high level of sensitivity, it’s no wonder that the geese picked
one of the most remote locations in Alaska to undergo the 2-3 week
flightless period. The area appeared to be secure from large-scale
disturbance until winter seismic work revealed the possibility of extensive
oil deposits directly under the molting area. I have seen a detailed
proposed development scenario prepared by the petroleum industry that I
strongly believe would result in the complete abandonment of the molting
area. Over the years, scientists (from government and conservation
organizations) have successfully defended this important molting area
against several industry and pro-development administration attempts to
open it for oil development. I credit Audubon Alaska with leading the
effort that resulted in the latest stay of execution. During the Obama
Administration, a ten-year moratorium on development was instituted in this
area to protect the geese, shorebirds and the 60,000-head Teshekpuk Lake
Caribou Herd’s calving area. Due to the intense pressure from the current
administration to open currently closed areas of Alaska to petroleum
development, it is very likely that the moratorium will be cancelled.



3) *Issue:* Opening the Coastal Plain (commonly referred to as the “1002
{ten oh two} area”) of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil
exploration and development.

*Desired outcome:* Protect the entire Coastal Plain area of Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge with wilderness designation.



The coastal plain portion of ANWR is approximately 1.5 million acres in
size, and represents about 5% of the coastal plain north of the Brooks
Range. *Virtually all of the 95% not within the Refuge is already open for
oil exploration and development. * Giving this relatively small area
Wilderness status would permanently protect a complete arctic ecosystem
from the shoreline on the Beaufort Sea coastline, south across the coastal
plain, through the foothills and the north slope of the Brooks Range (it’s
all tundra from the divide north to the Beaufort Sea), and sweeping down
the south slope to the boreal forests and the northern floodplain of the
Yukon River. Most of this area looks as it has for thousands of years, and
it is ecologically complete and intact with a full suite of life including
a complex of top-level predators. Why would it hurt to develop the coastal
plain portion? The coastal plain is *the* calving area for the
150,000-strong Porcupine Caribou Herd, a herd that is a vitally important
subsistence resource for the Gwichin Athabascan Indians that live south of
the Brooks Range in Alaska and Yukon Territories (where the caribou herd
winters). The herd concentrates on the coastal plain during a mass
birthing in late June/early July, and the cows tend to their young and try
to protect them from a whole host of predators (brown bears, wolves,
wolverines, and Golden Eagles converge for this annual feast.) The caribou
are also an important subsistence resource (second to bowhead whales) for
the Inupiat Eskimos of the Alaska North Slope. Despite the deliberate
misrepresentations of the affected area (particularly by former Secretary
of Interior under George W. Bush) and research done on caribou response to
oil pipelines (by multiple pro-development administrations), a prominent
caribou researcher told me that pregnant females and females with calves
stay away from oil pipelines (based on work done in the Prudhoe Bay area).
A spider web of pipelines connecting production wells, and associated
structures and airfields, would likely have dire long-term consequences for
the herd and associated predator populations (not to mention the
subsistence hunters). The coastal plain is also an important migration
area for Yellow-billed Loons and nesting and migration habitat for a host
of different shorebird species (for example: Buff-breasted Sandpiper,
Black-bellied Plover, American Golden Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Pectoral
Sandpiper, Semi-palmated Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Stilt Sandpiper,
Red and Red-necked Phalaropes, Bar-tailed Godwit, and Baird’s Sandpiper.)
The coastal plain is important in some years for as many as 350,000 Lesser
Snow Geese (that nested in a western Canada colony) to fatten on sedge
rhizomes before migrating south.



4) *Issue:* Approval of the Pebble Mine.

*Desired outcome:* Maintain the EPA position protecting the area from
mining and provide permanent protection to the watershed.



Pebble is a massive mining project proposed for Alaska state lands in the
middle of the watershed containing the spawning area of the largest sockeye
salmon stock in the world (and the other 4 species of salmon as well). In
addition, sockeye hatchlings live 1-2 years in connected lakes until they
are large enough to go out to sea. Roughly half of the world’s wild-caught
salmon comes from Bristol Bay. If developed, the mine will be the largest
mine in North America and the highly toxic tailings will be stored behind
the largest earthen dam in the world (over 700 feet tall and several miles
long.) This is a seismically active area, and independent scientists doubt
whether the dam would survive a major earthquake on the order of the one
that severely damaged Anchorage and several other southcentral Alaska
coastal communities in 1964. Needless to say, the failure of this dam would
be catastrophic for the salmon and potentially for the many species of
marine birds (including Emperor Geese and ESA listed Steller’s Eiders) that
use Bristol Bay as a foraging area during migration.) After extensive
investigations, this area was declared by the EPA to be too valuable and
vulnerable to mine, but the Trump administration resurrected the project.
If you like to eat wild salmon or support sustainable management of wild
salmon, you have a dog in this fight. Please, take a moment to check out
this web site: https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.savebristolbay.org_home_&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=ymRCw6Q-sBitug_rdeO1Tokz-I_SX2LQN2_Ocvlal9U&m=r1VmkKiKdKr96s7tdMnfmVjv_84nCEMZ3LqzmXm2RgA&s=l_Dr91gRGl0L6p0ruG7gA4Ny7Gbaa3CrqpUeaWXJZw0&e=
<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.savebristolbay.org_home_&d=DwMFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=ymRCw6Q-sBitug_rdeO1Tokz-I_SX2LQN2_Ocvlal9U&m=7EO4BVk-XJ7NwcinUfmYJ6IqVyRpdxRLrIOCGxsI31Q&s=UivxUYuxxj67rL43Q6khgMRE3p-5W3cZUbqTdOKj7ls&e=>



5) *Issue:* The State National Forest Management Act of 2017 (SNFMA) and
the Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Transfer Act (AMHT).

*Desired outcome:* Defeat both bills.



SNFMA, (HR 232, sponsored by Rep. Don Young of Alaska) was introduced in
January of this year. I don’t understand all of the details, but I read
the text and this is my take: While there are some specific Alaska
provisions, much of the bill applies to all states and national forests in
North and South Carolina could be profoundly affected. As written, this
bill would allow each state to select up to 2,000,000 acres of National
Forest within their respective state boundaries for transfer to state
ownership and management with the mandate to supply the needs of all wood
processing operations in the state. Potentially, 100% of NC’s 1.255
million acres of National Forest could be transferred to the state. This
legislation would also permit mining in the “former” national forests.



AMHT, sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski, has been developed in the Senate
to the point that it can be added as a rider to another, more urgent bill.
The bill is intended to allow the transfer of old growth acreage to private
(Alaska Native) corporations in exchange for their corporate-owned
logged-over areas. This will facilitate the rapid destruction of the
magnificent old growth trees, some of which are more than 1,000 years old.



The Alaska congressional delegation has, for decades, done everything in
their power to open up the remaining old growth trees of the magnificent
Tongass National Forest to logging. Only 3% of the Tongass is old growth,
so we must act now to save it.



6) *Issue:* Building a road to the village of King Cove through the
Designated Wilderness portion of Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

*Desired outcome*: Prevent the road from being built.



Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, one of Alaska’s oldest refuges, is the
principal fall staging area for essentially 100% of the Pacific Black Brant
population. The area is also a vital staging area for Emperor Geese, which
winter to the west on the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands and breed
almost exclusively to the north on the Yukon Delta National Wildlife
Refuge. Izembek lagoon provides lush eelgrass beds that allow the brant
to accumulate huge amounts of body fat (nearly doubling their weight)
necessary to enable the birds to survive the 60+ hour direct flight to
overwintering areas principally in the bays of the Pacific coast of Baja
and mainland Mexico. Most of the historic wintering areas on the west coast
of the Lower 48 states have been destroyed or dramatically reduced by
dredging and other development.



Never since the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964 has a designated
Wilderness Area been compromised for the purpose of road construction. A
federal Judge ruled in 2015 in favor of the Department of Interior’s
decision to deny permission for construction of the road. The US House of
Representatives recently passed legislation that would open the area to
road construction. This bill sets a very dangerous precedent by
potentially opening the door to road construction in Wilderness Areas
nationwide. *The bill now goes to the Senate where we will have our final
chance to defeat it.* Please contact your US Senators and encourage them
to protect the Refuge.



Read more at the following site:

https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__l.facebook.com_l.php-3Fu-3Dhttp-253A-252F-252Fbit.ly-252F2vyb6j&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=ymRCw6Q-sBitug_rdeO1Tokz-I_SX2LQN2_Ocvlal9U&m=r1VmkKiKdKr96s7tdMnfmVjv_84nCEMZ3LqzmXm2RgA&s=Y4l8eg_q-TP1HiZ2Bv1FtZBVT7FV8BBtKcUHmnGzV3U&e=
U&h=ATMupmgV-v_gK4pynARMjWZyRCHtlXoqa7HSyzJ7Eavxean6O-cr04Ho
hyVXHZ_oF7nxNLuA34P3lHvMs55XcmyuWsxwFL30mx32Pkg_QoLMSrT5MESK
ygZxJ5oqNn1lyGzfHnR37nhUVShgv23woUDpVuyhOmuUCZtb0MhUtBu8GzaU
XLsOStYb3xPBORlIrV6NCdt30E7sS2WX4NTdCTOG99wIOm0DyrRNOAMCSHnLUVn1wDC28--kUtg
<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__l.facebook.com_l.php-3Fu-3Dhttp-253A-252F-252Fbit.ly-252F2vyb6jU-26h-3DATMupmgV-2Dv-5FgK4pynARMjWZyRCHtlXoqa7HSyzJ7Eavxean6O-2Dcr04HohyVXHZ-5FoF7nxNLuA34P3lHvMs55XcmyuWsxwFL30mx32Pkg-5FQoLMSrT5MESKygZxJ5oqNn1lyGzfHnR37nhUVShgv23woUDpVuyhOmuUCZtb0MhUtBu8GzaUXLsOStYb3xPBORlIrV6NCdt30E7sS2WX4NTdCTOG99wIOm0DyrRNOAMCSHnLUVn1wDC28-2D-2DkUtg&d=DwMFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=ymRCw6Q-sBitug_rdeO1Tokz-I_SX2LQN2_Ocvlal9U%20&m=7EO4BVk-XJ7Nwcin>



7) *Issue:* Climate change.

*Desired outcome:* The US fully engages in the Paris Climate Change
Accords.



Alaska is home to vast amounts of glacial ice, sea ice, and permafrost. If
these melt, and they certainly are melting at this point, they will make a
huge contribution to a warming climate. The threat of melting permafrost
is probably least known by the public. When permafrost melts, it releases
not only carbon dioxide the but also large amounts of methane (molecule for
molecule, far more problematic than carbon dioxide.) The consequences of
extensive permafrost melting across the northern hemisphere are unthinkable.



8) *Issue:* Continuity of Executive Branch Natural Resource Management.

*Desired Outcome:* Full funding for natural resource conservation functions
for Department of Interior (especially US Fish and Wildlife Service, US
National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management) Department of
Agriculture (US Forest Service and the Farm Bill) and Department of Energy;
cessation of the “reshuffling” of senior leadership positions among
agencies; retain the designations of the National Monuments currently under
“review” by Secretary of the Interior Zinke.



In my recent summer trip to Alaska to visit family, I visited with former
colleagues from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and learned that the
President’s budget as well as statements and actions by the top
administrators in EPA, Energy, and Interior send clear signals of a desire
to significantly damage or eliminate important federal conservation
programs. Interior Secretary Zinke has engaged in a policy of shuffling
occupants of senior leadership positions, removing leaders from areas of
expertise and placing them in positions in other agencies that do not
relate to their experience or training. Clearly, the intent is to cripple
the agencies at the top, create chaos, and stop them from conducting and
disseminating scientifically rigorous science that is inconvenient to the
Administration’s ideology. The extent of this effort is beyond anything I
saw in my 31 year federal career.



I regret the great length of this post. These are incredibly difficult
times. There is so much at stake! Thank you for any help that you can
provide!



Russ Oates (USFWS Alaska, Retired)

Burnsville, NC

 
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