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  • October 29, 2012

    The Truth About Gas Prices: More U.S. Drilling Won't Help

    By Bob Marshall

    One of the most persistent and effective threats to public fish and wildlife habitat is the energy lobby. They push for access to public lands--even wilderness and roadless areas--and then they push to demolish regulations that would make them be sensitive to fish and wildlife values on that public property.  

    And their most persuasive argument--visible everywhere during the current election season--is this: We need to drill more to lower the price at the pump.

    In fact, the most effective tool America (and its politicians) have in reducing fuel costs is regulations that stress conservation.

    That's not me talking. That's the word from energy economists--and always has been.

    As the Associated Press explained in this excellent report, the U.S. could yield to the wildest demands from the "Drill Baby Drill" crowd--opening everything from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to every acre of public land, plus shipping dirty tar sands from Canada--and still not make a noticeable dent on the price of gas at your local filling station. 

  • October 18, 2012

    Special Report: How I’m Helping to Save the Whitebark Pine, One Seed at a Time

    By Hal Herring

    As you get closer to the top, the big tree sways in the wind like a ship on a moderate sea. Your flip rope hangs behind you--if you used it to protect every move, you’d spend all day in one tree and never make a dime. Climbing spurs are not allowed on these old survivor trees, these last healthy whitebark pines that have clung to the high country rocks and ridges for centuries. You simply climb, trusting the live branches, trying to dance lightly on the dead ones, keeping your highlead or trail rope clear of snags and tangles that could halt you at some crucial, spooky move between branches.

    The job is to cage the cones on these survivor trees, to climb to the very crown of the tree, balance in the branches there, and pull an oblong rectangle of screen over the rich mahogany-colored cones, then fold the bottom corners of the screen to fasten the cage on the branch. The screen will protect the cones from the squirrels and the Clark’s nutcrackers that voraciously eat them every fall.

  • October 31, 2011

    Conservation (Bad) News: Salmon Plague Spreads to Wild Pacific Stocks

    By Bob Marshall

    Deadly Disease Threatens Wild Pacific Salmon

    File this one under: Just when you think things couldn't get worse.

    Earlier this month fishery officials in Canada and the U.S. confirmed the deadly infectious salmon anemia had been found for the first time in wild Pacific salmon. This is the same disease that devastated salmon farms in Chile and other countries. The disease was found in two sockeye salmon smolts off British Columbia.

    The news sent shock waves through the fishing industries and communities that depend on salmon. It was good to see the threat also quickly cut through the entrenched partisanship in Washington resulting in a bi-partisan bill to address the outbreak.

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