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NRDC's BioGems News August 11, 2005 7:56 AM

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Saving Endangered Wild Places - BioGems News
Help Protect New Mexico's Valle Vidal

Nestled among the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico, the lush alpine meadows, dense conifer forests and abundant streams of Valle Vidal -- the "valley of life" -- are home to more than 300 wildlife species, including mountain lions, black bears, Rio Grande cutthroat trout and the state's largest elk herd. Hikers, hunters, anglers, ranchers and others cherish the outstanding natural values of this thriving mountain basin. Yet the Bush administration and its industry allies are now attempting to fast-track the opening of this 100,000-acre public wildland for coalbed methane gas development. Industrialization could blanket the landscape with roads, pipelines, well pads and compressor stations, and contaminate clear steams and aquifers with toxic chemicals.

» Urge the Forest Service to protect the Valle Vidal by closing the entire area to energy leasing and development.

In the News
In recent years, three consecutive National Park Service studies have shown that only a complete ban on snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park can adequately protect wildlife, staff and visitors from dangerous air pollution and noise. Yet the Bush administration, bowing to pressure from the snowmobile industry to ignore sound science and postpone a common-sense ban, has proposed spending millions of taxpayer dollars on a needless additional study. The Park Service should heed its own scientific findings and adopt a long-term plan that replaces snowmobiles with environmentally friendly snowcoaches.

» Send a message to the National Park Service.

BioGems Defenders have helped fuel a major breakthrough in efforts to save the vaquita marina, a small porpoise found only in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico. This spring, BioGems Defenders sent more than 35,000 messages to Mexico's chief shrimp exporter, California-based Ocean Garden, urging the company to help protect the fewer than 500 remaining vaquitas by promoting sustainable fishing in the region. Soon after, Ocean Garden met with NRDC staff and local fishermen, and in July, the fishing industry signed a landmark accord to prevent the accidental catch of vaquitas and more than 400 other species in fishing nets and to eliminate illegal fishing in the Upper Gulf. Meanwhile, Mexican President Vicente Fox has announced the creation of a new refuge in the vaquita's core habitat, and we will urge him to take action to fulfill this promise in keeping with the goals of the new accord. We'll keep you posted on the status of both of these initiatives.

Despite overwhelming public opposition, Congress voted in late July in favor of a damaging energy bill that wil  [ send green star]
 August 11, 2005 7:57 AM

Despite overwhelming public opposition, Congress voted in late July in favor of a damaging energy bill that will do nothing to reduce gas prices or address America's growing dependence on foreign oil. Instead, the bill will dole out billions of taxpayer dollars to profitable energy companies and promote drilling in unspoiled wildlands including the Western Arctic Reserve and Yellowstone/Greater Rockies BioGems. But the bill could have been much worse. Years of pressure from BioGems Defenders and other activists helped persuade lawmakers to eliminate an Arctic Refuge drilling provision and to add tax incentives for conservation and alternative energy development.

In mid-September, Congress will cast its most critical vote ever in the 25-year struggle over the future of Alaska's extraordinary Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The House and Senate narrowly passed a budget resolution in April that paves the way for opening the refuge to oil drilling, endangering vulnerable populations of caribou, polar bears, white wolves and other wildlife. But the fight is far from over. To complete its raid on the Arctic, Congress must first pass a budget reconciliation bill that includes specific revenues from Arctic drilling -- a move opposed by 72 percent of the American people, according to a recent poll. Over the next month, we will press Congress harder than ever to reject any version of a budget bill that puts this irreplaceable wildlife sanctuary in jeopardy.

Action Insider

Congratulations to Barron, Bob, Celeste, Lourdes, Lynn, Malcolm, Patricia, Roxanne, Sarah and Sergio -- all winners of the forest friendly Canadian edition of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. More than 2,800 BioGems Defenders entered our recent random drawing. Our first five winners also received a Quidditch stick of wood from a Forest Stewardship Council-certified, well-managed forest.

Link to NRDC's BioGems website 
Action Messages Sent:

» See the timeline of victories we've won

Did You Know?
Situated near the jungle border of Brazil and Bolivia, the Tahuamanú Rainforest is home to large stands of old-growth mahogany and cedar trees -- highly valuable wood that's been the target of large-scale illegal logging.

» Learn more from the Tahuamanú Rainforest fast facts.

To Do Even More...
You can support NRDC's BioGems campaign to
save these and other threatened wild places.

» Click here to donate
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