Below is a July 17, 2008 posting to the Ohio Birds e-mail listserv by northwest Ohio resident Kenn Kaufman who is an "author, artist, ornithologist, naturalist, and conservationist, known for his work on several popular field guides of birds and butterflies in North America."
- Kenn Kaufman's Nature Site
- July 17, 2008 Toledo Blade - Latta to see Alaska area involved in drilling tiff : "Rep. to go with 10 other congressmen"
First, from the Blade story :
The White House-sponsored delegation is traveling on Air Force aircraft and is being coordinated by the Department of the Interior. The trip will stop for a day at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory near Denver and then continue on Saturday to Fairbanks, Alaska.On Sunday, the group will fly to Deadhorse, Prudhoe Bay, the center of existing Alaskan oil drilling operations. The visit will also involve a flyover of the proposed exploration area and a stop in Kaktovik, a town of about 300 people, where the delegation plans to meet the mayor and city council.
This is obviously a rigged expedition by some ignorant congresspeople.
Kaufman's posting with my emphasis added :
Subject: Ohio reps birding in Alaska
From: Kenn Kaufman
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2008 18:36:42 -0400
This weekend, a delegation from the US House of Representatives will be making
a brief trip to Alaska, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The
eleven-person team is led by Ohio's Rep. John Boehner and also includes Reps.
Bob Latta of Bowling Green and Jim Jordan of Urbana, while the other eight
representatives are from eight other states, so the group has a very strong
Birders who hear about this trip are likely to respond with envy -- thinking
about all the amazing species that the congresspersons will see, the abundance
of nesting sandpipers, plovers, phalaropes, jaegers, Arctic Terns, Snowy Owls,
Long-tailed Ducks, Steller's Eiders, Spectacled Eiders, and so many other
beautiful birds. We might quibble about the timing of the trip -- after all,
some of the Arctic-breeding shorebirds have already started to migrate south,
with Pectoral Sandpipers and others already appearing in Ohio on their way to
South America -- but still, most of us would jump at the chance to go along.
I've been to the North Slope about a dozen times as a leader of birding tours,
and it was always an amazing experience.
Unfortunately, our Ohio congressmen may not get the full benefit of the birding
experience, because they seem to be going with a negative mindset. In a July 15
press conference, Rep. Boehner said, "We're going to look at this barren,
Arctic desert where I'm hoping to see some wildlife. But I understand there's
none there. But I'm still going to look for it. If I find any, I'll let you
know." Likewise, Rep. Latta was quoted by the Toledo Blade as saying that he
believes the refuge is not as "picturesque" as some may envision -- that it's
"not what they see on the news. We're talking about tundra." Of course,
picturesque or not, coastal tundra is among the richest wildlife habitats
imaginable during the brief Arctic summer. But at least some members of the
congressional delegation seem to be going with the intention of proving that
the wildlife refuge is not worth protecting.
WIthout going into the pros and cons of drilling for oil in the Arctic Refuge
-- the Department of Energy estimates that it could save us as much as four
cents per gallon on gas, starting as early as 2018 -- I want to focus on the
misconception that there's anything "barren" about Arctic tundra. The truth is
that the Arctic Refuge supports huge numbers of migratory birds, including many
of the birds that we enjoy here in Ohio. I've put together some perspectives on
this issue at http://www.kknature.com/CurrentTopics.html
Feel free to pass this link along to anyone whom you think might benefit from
Oak Harbor, Ohio