Our friends at Ahnu Footwear will donate up to $10,000 to The Conservation Alliance as the charter outdoor industry sponsor of the Plus 3 Network, a free web-based community that challenges Americans to record and earn rewards for their exercise miles. Click here for the full story.
The Conservation Alliance Breakfast at the January 2009 Outdoor Retailer Show will feature guest speaker Steven Kazlowski, renowned wildlife photographer known for his intimate look into the world of the polar bear, and how that world is being impacted by global warming.
During the last eight years, Kazlowski has accumulated a comprehensive and unparalleled portfolio of the polar bear in its wild habitat. During his presentation, he will share his stunning images and observations and talk about the challenges and thrill of photographing in the Arctic. Kazlowski will also discuss what every citizen can do to make a difference in the global warming crisis.
Caving to a veto threat by President Bush, House Democrats will not attempt to extend the 26-year moratorium on offshore oil drilling by attaching such an extension to legislation that will fund the US government into March, 2009.
According to the New York Times:
"Eliminating the drilling restrictions will have no immediate consequences since leasing would take place through a long Interior Department process. But it will leave the future of offshore drilling to the next administration."
Responding to the historic shift, Representative David Obey, the Wisconsin Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations Committee said, "That will mean, very frankly, this next election will decide what our drilling policy is going to be."
Given that the moratorium could easily be reinstated by the next administration, it's difficult to say how this will impact the work or Conservation Alliance grantees fighting offshore oil development. It is significant, though, that for the first time in 26 years, Congress appears likely to lift the moratorium.
Pam Miller from the Northern Alaska Environmental Council sent us a report that the group has succeeded in delaying a proposed land swap that would transfer 110,000 acres, and subsurface drilling rights inside Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to Doyon, Ltd. The lands in question are believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves. Doyon had hope that the land swap would be complete in 2008, and under the Bush Administration. The delay postpones the swap for at least one year. Following the release of an environmental impact statement in January, the US Fish and Wildlife Service received 100,000 public comments, 80 percent of which opposed the land swap. NAEC will continue its effort to halt the land swap and subsequent oil development. The Conservation Alliance supported NAEC's efforts with a grant in April.
Our good friends at Timex continue to produce excellent short films as part of their Return to the Outdoors promotion. Each film starts with a nice PSA about The Conservation Alliance. Check out the most recent film featuring climber and occasional Conservation Alliance spokes-comedian, Timmy O'Neill. I also recommend scrolling down to check out the outtakes from the film. Viewer discretion advised.
The official Timmy O'Neill Return to the Outdoors film:
The US Senate is likely to vote on a package of public lands legislation the week of September 22 that would permanently protect 3 million acres of public land and 1000 miles of rivers throughout the US. The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2008 (S.3213) contains more dozens of bipartisan provisions, including Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River designations for special places in Oregon, California, Idaho, Colorado. Wyoming, Virginia, and West Virginia. Before these wildland-protection campaigns took legislative form, The Conservation Alliance supported local, grassroots organizations for their efforts to demonstrate that the places should be protected. Click here to see a complete overview of the special places that would be protected.
If you support this effort, your Congressional representatives need to hear from you! Click here to send a message to your elected officials.
Conservation Alliance Executive Director John Sterling testified on September 11 before a Subcommittee of the US House of Representatives in support of legislation that would protect the tributary streams of the Lower Rogue River in Oregon under the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
The Oregon Treasures Act of 2008, introduced by Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio, would designate 143 miles of rivers in the Rogue watershed as Wild and Scenic. The protections would safeguard the streams from any dams or diversions, and would prohibit logging within one-half mile in either direction of the streams.
"The Conservation Alliance supports the effort to secure new protections for the Rogue River because it is good for business," said Sterling in his testimony. "The Rogue is an iconic recreation destination, and the Oregon Treasures Act will protect the entire watershed of the Lower Rogue."
The Rogue is among Oregon's most beloved rivers, and is one of the premier fishing and boating streams in the county. Congress recognized this fact in 1968 when it included 84.5 miles the Rogue River as one of the first eight units of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Whitewater boating on the Wild Rogue supports 225 jobs, and generates $14 million in total economic output.
The Conservation Alliance made a grant to Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center in 2007 to help the organization build local support for new protections for the Rogue. That grassroots organizing motivated Rep. DeFazio to introduce the Oregon Treasures legislation.
"These watersheds are threatened by proposed logging," said Sterling. "We know that the Rogue watershed has greater and more long-term economic value for recreation than for timber."
Conservation Alliance member Ben Moon recently produced a music video for musician Micah Wolf. The song and video focus on the proliferation of trash dumping in our oceans. Great song, great video. Check it out!
A group of four Conservation Alliance members traveled to Washington DC to talk to members of the Congress about the importance of a proposal to protect more than 2 million acres of public land and more than 1000 miles of rivers.
Representatives from The North Face, Osprey, The Forest Group, and The Conservation Alliance spent two days in meetings with 13 House and Senate offices to show support for a legislative package that includes more than 150 public lands bills. Included in the package are proposals to:
Protect 128,000 acres of Wilderness and 80 miles of rivers on Oregon's Mount Hood
Designate 250,000 acres in Rocky Mountain National Park as Wilderness
Secure Wild and Scenic River designation for 440 miles of streams in Wyoming's Snake River headwaters
Prohibit new oil and gas leases on 1.2 million acres of the Wyoming Range
Protect 92,000 acres of public land in West Virginia and Virginia
Protect more than 600,000 acres of Wilderness in California's Eastern Sierra, White Mountains, and desert regions.
Preserve the Badlands and Spring Basin, 40,000 acres of desert wilderness in Oregon
"This package of bills represents a nationwide conservation agenda," said John Sterling, Conservation Alliance Executive Director. "Our members understand that protected public lands are important to the future of the outdoor industry."
The proposal could go to the Senate floor for a vote the week of September 22. If it passes, it will then be up to the House to consider the legislation before Congress adjourns in early October to prepare for the November 4 election.
"We hope Congress takes action on this historic legislation before the elections," said Sterling. "Each provision in the bill has broad, bipartisan support, which voters will appreciate."
Before these wildland-protection campaigns took legislative form, The Conservation Alliance supported local, grassroots organizations for their efforts to demonstrate that the places should be protected. Whenever possible, the Alliance supplements funding with efforts by our member companies to voice business support for conservation efforts.
"We have invested our members' dues heavily in these conservation efforts, and hope to show an ROI by the end of the year," said Sterling.
Trip participants were Brook Shinsky (The North Face), Megan Waterman (Osprey), Deanna Kavanaugh-Jones (The Forest Group), and Sterling.
Winter Wildlands Alliance reports the following on their effort to limit winter motorized recreation in Yellowstone National Park:
"A federal court ruled today that the Bush Administration's decision authorizing snowmobile use in Yellowstone National Park violates the fundamental legal responsibility of the National Park Service to protect the clean air, wildlife, and natural quiet of national parks, including Yellowstone, for the benefit of all visitors. The court found that the Administration authorized snowmobile use despite scientific conclusions by the National Park Service that its decision would result in significant increases in noise and unhealthy exhaust, which disrupt the experiences of visitors, and traffic that harms Yellowstone's wildlife, including bison."