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As some Kossacks know, I normally write diaries about issues that concern the National Wildlife Refuge System, and one issue that has fallen under the radar lately is the impact that the border wall is having on communities, wildlife, and vital habitat along the US/Mexico border.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff waived as many as 19 American laws in order to rush the building of the wall, and several conservation groups are now working together to minimize the damage.

The International League of Conservation Photographers is currently using a team of photographers, writers, filmmakers, and scientists to document the wildlife, landscapes and human communities of the US/Mexico borderlands, and the impact that the border wall is having on them.

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Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 05:35 PM PDT

Protect Yukon Flats Wildlife Refuge

by Naturegal

The Bush administration's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of arranging a land swap at pristine Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, which will allow Doyon corporation to drill for oil and gas on what is now refuge property.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service describes the Yukon Flats refuge as a place that "represents undeveloped wilderness, a place where the marks left by the hand of man are rarely seen," yet through this project, the Bush administration is heading down a slippery slope of swapping out protected land whenever a corporation wants to exploit the available resources.

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As many Kossacks may know, the Bush administration has been attempting to downsize the staff of the National Wildlife Refuge System by 25%, leading to the closure of smaller refuges, the elimination of many environmental education programs and recreational services, and the reduction of law enforcement and endangered species restoration at refuges across the country.

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Wed Nov 28, 2007 at 05:27 PM PST

Banking on Nature

by Naturegal

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.

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At this moment, the Alaska delegation on Capitol Hill is attempting to gain passage for another "Road to Nowhere" at the expense of a pristine area called Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. H.R. 2801 (introduced by Rep. Don Young) and S. 1680 (introduced by Sens. Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski) would build a $15.6 million, nine-mile gravel road through federally designated wilderness at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. And on Wednesday, it is expected that Dale Hall -- Bush's director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service -- will be the first head of the Service to offer support for the road in a House hearing on Capitol Hill.

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As many here know, the Bush administration is storming ahead with the building of a border fence that will run through valuable wildlife habitat on the border between Mexico and the US. The Bushies have decided to begin building on federal land first - meaning National Wildlife Refuge System land - because the government thinks those lands will present the least amount of public hassle; especially since Homeland Security has been given the authority to waive all environmental laws in the building of the wall. But just recently an opportunity has presented itself where the public can finally speak out against the wall's impact on the environment, and your comments are needed by October 15.

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On May 27, 2007, many citizens around the world will be celebrating the centennial birthday of environmental heroine Rachel Carson. As has been mentioned on the Daily Kos earlier (here and here), the right-wing has now begun ratcheting up their attacks on Carson due to their hatred of her strength as an effective environmental activist. And in the last couple days, media outlets have also been reporting that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is effectively blocking two bills in the Senate that are aimed at honoring Carson.

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Tue May 15, 2007 at 06:33 PM PDT

Gilmore Girls Democratic Finale

by Naturegal

I know that the televison show "Gilmore Girls" has been discussed on the Kos before, mainly to analyze the political leanings of the various characters. Well, tonight the show had its finale after seven seasons and went out with a Democratic salute.

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On March 11, I posted a diary about the Bush administration’s plan to eliminate 20% of the staff in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Members in the House have mounted a campaign to increase the Refuge System budget and prevent the massive cutbacks. Now there’s an effort underway in the Senate to do the same, and Russ Feingold is leading the way. Here’s how you can help.

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Did you know that the Bush administration is now in the process of removing 20% of the staff in the National Wildlife Refuge System? Did you know that this massive staff cutback will force many refuges to end environmental education programs for thousands of school children, will end biological surveys, will close Visitor Centers for multiple days each week, will limit hunting and fishing access, and will even close some refuges entirely? There’s a lot you should know, and there is something you can do to help.

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Welcome to the House Committee on Natural Resources for the 110th Congress; this "week in review" diary is part of the Daily Kos Congressional Committees Project.

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Welcome to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for the 110th Congress; this "week in review" diary is part of the Daily Kos Congressional Committees Project.

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