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Friday, March 10, 2006

Birds in the Political Winds

I don't usually comment about political news here, but have to wonder how the resignation of Interior Secretary Gale Norton will impact birds and bird habitats. The Interior Secretary oversees huge amounts of public land including the National Parks, as well as the United States Fish and Wildlife Service that is charged with protecting the our nation's birds. Regardless of where you fall on the issues that Norton has been involved with, including increased drilling for oil and gas on BLM land, the ANWR drilling controversy, or shifting conservation funds from other projects to fund Ivory-billed Woodpecker recovery efforts (mentioned in Jackson 2006 and Dalton 2005--see some of the programs that were cut to help fund IBWO recovery work in the proposed budget justification here), the Interior Secretery has an impact on birds, and this resignation will have an impact, though it may take us a while to figure out exactly how.


John B. said...

I doubt it will change the situation much, if at all. Bush will just find another Interior Secretary in the same vein.

birdchaser said...

Yes, but Bush doesn't need a spotlight on his administration's questionable environmental policies in a cabinet confirmation hearing right now when his approval numbers are at an all-time low. So, maybe we'll see something a little different? Or, perhaps just another poke in the eye.

My main point was that politics matters in bird conservation. Sometimes we just want to go out and enjoy birds, but birds are dependent on a favorable political climate. If we want to continue to enjoy them, we have to make sure that the political climate is as supportive of them as the real climate (which is another topic itself!).

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