- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
On march 5 in New Orleans the 21st North American Wildlife Conference heard a vital and controversial address. It was delivered by Ira N. Gabrielson, for years director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and currently president of the Wildlife Management Institute. Speaking bluntly, Dr. Gabrielson summed up for his audience of more than 1,000 biologists, game managers, writers and other wildlife experts, conservation's gains and losses, as he saw them, over the past two years. There were, he noted, several gains:
?Legislation had been enacted to correct abuses of public lands.
?The Department of the Interior had staunchly warded off concerted armed forces attempts to take over various wildlife refuges and was standing firm in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge imbroglio.
?The House had appropriated more than the funds requested for Mission 66 (SI, Feb. 20), the project to increase national park facilities in the next decade.
?After a bitter four-year struggle, the Upper Colorado River Storage Act had gone to the floor of the House with Echo Park Dam deleted and the intent of the National Park Act, to keep parks inviolable, reaffirmed.
These and other examples Gabrielson cited as conservation gains, but having verbally petted Interior for one stand, he now bludgeoned it for two which he believed had cost conservation dearly.
"First," charged Gabrielson, "the Department of Interior has gone steadily ahead in the process of changing the Fish and Wildlife Service from a scientific career service into a political agency...the morale in the organization continues to be low.
"The second and most serious setback," he continued, "was the action of the Interior Department in inviting oil and gas leases upon all but a very limited number of national wildlife refuges. While, under the law, the Secretary has always had discretion to make such leases...few were issued except under extraordinary circumstances.... Now the situation is reversed and bids invited.... Many of these wildlife refuges were purchased with sportsmen's duck-stamp money and others with special funds appropriated by Congress. There are less than 10 million acres of these lands in the continental United States, less than one half of one percent of the total land area, and yet our millionaire, billionaire oil men are in such danger of becoming poverty stricken that this tiny fraction...must be made their happy hunting ground at the expense of the wildlife for which the land was dedicated. It is not possible," Gabrielson insisted, "to explore for or to develop oil or gas fields without doing damage to wildlife and wildlife habitat.... This is a long backward step in the cause of conservation."