1
Jul
2004

Great news for the Arctic Refuge and the Tongass

The House of Representatives has rejected yet another attempt to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to massive oil development. In the face of opposition from his colleagues, House Resources Committee chair Pombo (R-CA) withdrew H.R. 4529, a bill that would have authorized drilling in the refuge. This great victory is due in no small part to pressure applied by nearly 50,000 BioGems Defenders who sent electronic messages urging their representatives to oppose the bill.

The fight to protect the Arctic Refuge is far from over, however. The Bush administration is determined to let oil and gas companies drill in this unspoiled sanctuary, and the leadership of both houses of Congress has vowed to keep trying. We will undoubtedly be calling on you to take action yet again in defense of this irreplaceable natural treasure.

I also wanted to let you know about another BioGems victory -- also in the House of Representatives -- for Alaska's Tongass National Forest. On June 16th, by a vote of 222-205, the House passed an amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill that would prohibit the Forest Service from spending money to build logging roads in the Tongass for the next year. The proposed roads are a crucial first step in opening up pristine rainforest valleys to industrial-scale clearcutting.

Though it passed in the House, the amendment still faces an uphill climb: to become law, it must pass the Senate and be signed by President Bush. Logging companies are determined to clearcut the Tongass, and the Bush administration is doing everything possible to assist them. By sending more than 300,000 messages to defend the Tongass, you and other BioGems Defenders have played a crucial role in protecting this vast and thriving temperate rainforest.

On behalf of all of us at NRDC, thank you for taking action to save our hemisphere's wildest places. With your continued help, we will keep fighting in defense of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Tongass National Forest and all of our other BioGems.

Sincerely,

John H. Adams
President
Natural Resources Defense Council

BioGems: Saving Endangered Wild Places
A project of the Natural Resources Defense Council
http://www.savebiogems.org
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